Dinner, Lunch, Recipe

Bear Carnitas


Yes, you read that correctly. My son was gifted with some bear meat, so I volunteered to cook it for him (none of us had tried it). My mind usually goes to Mexican when I think of cooking meat and I was really leaning toward carne asada or colorado but I wanted to be able to taste the meat. So, I settled on this simple already-loved recipe.

Here’s the link (for those who do not know, if I post a recipe, I only post the ingredients. You have to visit the link to read their instructions).

Bear Carnitas


Bear Carnitas
  • 18 pounds bone-in pork shoulder (skin-on picnic shoulder is a good choice, too), cut into 2-pound chunks
  • 1/2cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2cup salt
  • About 4 gallons lard or vegetable oil
  • If using vegetable oil: 1pound piece of slab bacon, cut it into 6 or 8 pieces
First: I did not have 18 pounds of bear meat. I had maybe two. So, all quantities were adjusted accordingly (just sprinkled with salt). Second: I used lemon juice because that’s what I had. I also cooked it in beef fat (with about a cup of bacon grease) because I just rendered a bunch a few months ago. Third: I used my crock pot on high for the first step of cooking. For the final step, I got lazy and just tossed the meat under the broiler to crisp up.
I let the meat cook in the crock pot for about 5 hours, until the meat broke apart with a little force. I drained it on paper towels, transferred it to an old pie pan and threw it under the broiler for a few minutes.

I was surprised by the flavor! Hank Shaw described bear’s flavor as beefy pork or porky beef and he was right! I love it! I did not add any other seasoning to this meat and it’s perfect. So, If I could eat all of this (it’s going home with my son after he gets off work), it would be in a bowl with grated cheese, salsa, diced onion, cilantro (see? Fruit AND vegetables), and sour cream.

Dinner, Recipe

Chile Colorado

Last night we were alone for dinner.  Hubby was thinking Mexican but he wasn’t sure what I could eat.  We hadn’t gone to our favorite Mexican restaurant since before August of last year and I was missing it! So, I thought about it and decided to look it up.
Our favorite meal is the number 1: beef taco (real with chunks of beef), beef enchilada, chili colorado, chile verde, chile relleno, beans and rice.
Chile Verde: Del Real Chile Verde has always been a staple, so that’s not an issue.
Chile rellenos are only dredged in corn starch, then dipped in beaten egg whites and fried, so that wasn’t a problem.
As for the taco I scraped out the meat (boy, was that good meat).
I did the same with the enchilada (and I just wouldn’t eat the beans and rice) but what about the chili colorado?  Well, it turns out the only carbs in it are just from any peppers!
So, I found a recipe that is the closest to what I had for dinner last night.  It was the best dinner I haven’t had to make in so long!

Chili Colorado

4lbs. chuck roast
1 1/2 teas. salt
1 teas. pepper
2 teas. onion powder
1 teas. garlic powder
1 tbsp. oil
water to almost cover the meat
Sauce Ingredients:
2 oz. dry pasillo-ancho chilis (dry pablanos)
1 1/2oz. dry guajillo-entero chilis (dry Anaheim chilis)
1 green pepper
1 fresh Anaheim chili
1-2 jalapeno peppers (depends on how hot you like it)
1 big onion (or 2 small ones)
6-8 cloves fresh garlic
3 1/2 cups water
1 teas. salt
1 teas. dry Mexican oregano
1 teas. chili powder
1/2 teas. cumin powder

Journal, Levels 2 And Above, Product Review

Product Review – Low Carb Tortilla and Carb Balance Tortilla

Well, when we went to the store, I was going to get some more tortillas (I don’t eat them often but it sure is nice to be able to grab one if I want it). Well, they didn’t have the same brand! How dare them! So, I grabbed two others, so I could try them out.
Tortilla #1: La Tortilla Factory High Fiber/Low Carb tortillas

The first one (which I mentioned in that other post) is La Tortilla Factory High Fiber/Low Carb tortillas. These come in a 10 count package and each tortillas weighs 36 grams (I’m sure that’s important to someone since either a ton of people input the wrong data into My Fitness Pal or there are different weights/sizes out there. For those using it, here’s the link to this tortilla on My Fitness Pal: La Toritilla Factory – Low Carb High Fiber Whole Wheat Tortilla Notice the misspelling? That’s why it took a while to find this). This is the other one I mentioned that contains soy.  This was good, though tasted dry and less wheat-like than the Sol Del Oro.  The carb count is 10g total with 7g fiber.  So, 3 net grams carbs (one more that the Sol Del Oro).  These can also be purchased from their website (if you can’t find them in local stores … I have no idea how far and wide these are carried): La Tortilla Factory High Fiber/Low Carb tortillas.

Tortilla #2: Mission Carb Balance Soft Taco Flour Tortillas.

These do not have soy but have wheat protein isolate (I had no idea that even existed) and sucralose (Splenda).  Now, these have DOUBLE the carbs of the tortillas above (19g total carbs, 13g fiber) but dear Lord!  These are flour tortillas (like normal, store-bought flour tortillas)!  Unfortunately, their website is awful: (This is the closest link I can give you, and it’s not even the right product) Mission Low Carb Tortillas and they have no links, such as “Buy Online” or “Where to Buy” so your best bet is to just Google the dang things. We bought ours at Smart Foods (Save Mart Foods) but some of the Google results showed Walmart and Netrition (online).  BUT if you can find these (and spare the carbs), they are well worth it!  Real Tortillas!

Dinner, Levels 2 And Above, Lunch, Recipe

MAKJ – Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This was the best tasting “remix” I’ve done.

  • One whole chicken (or whatever cuts you want. Amount doesn’t really matter, since you can adjust this up or down via your ingredients)
  • Green Enchilada Sauce (homemade or we bought Las Palmas Hot Green Enchilada Sauce
  • Cheese (we use a mix of shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack)
  • A few corn tortillas (for the family member who eat these … completely optional)

We started with a rotisserie chicken from Costco (we have a large freezer and always have a number of these stored in there). Remove the meat and shred it. Toss in some taco seasoning (if you want).
If you are including the tortillas, lightly fry them in oil, then layer them on the bottom of your baking dish.
Mix the chicken with the enchilada sauce, then pour that in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees F until cheese is melted and getting crispy (not burned).
That’s it! I didn’t miss the corn tortillas at all! That was dinner last night (about a cup filled me up) and lunch today with one low carb tortilla (Sol Del Oro). It’s early in the day but with that lunch I’ve already hit 15 total carbs (and my half and half in my coffee) but net carbs are sitting at 7.
This recipe has been added to “My Fitness Pal”. The recipe’s name is: “MAKJ Chicken Enchilada Casserole”
Serves 12
Stats: Calories: 320, Carbohydrates: 4, Fats: 19, Protein: 33, Fiber: 1 (Net Carbs: 3)

Dinner, Level 1, Levels 2 And Above, Lunch, Recipe

The Food Lab: How To Make Tacos Al Pastor At Home

Now, I love shawarma.  The first one I had was in London and from that point on that’s all I wanted to eat (seriously.  The only “English” food I ate over there was fish and chips, once.  It was soggy and flavorless).  Well, now, I see this.  I didn’t know what the spits of meaty goodness were called (I just stumbled on the name Pastor) so I didn’t know what to search for.  Well, I found an awesome-looking cooking method we can try at home!  I can’t wait for more meat!

Dinner, Level 1, Levels 2 And Above, Lunch, Recipe, Salads


Is it my imagination or am I wrong? I could have sworn I posted how I make carnitas! I searched and searched both blogs (and Lord knows it is like pulling teeth to find anything on Facebook if you posted something more than a week ago) and I can’t find it. I’m shocked! Well, here it is. I originally was making it closer to original (frying the meat in lard first) but one of hubby’s co-workers said we were working too hard. So, now this is how I make carnitas. I make up a whole bunch and, if we don’t eat it all within a couple of meals, I throw the excess in the freezer (if it’s a lot, I portion them out in sandwich bags then store those in a freezer bag).

  • Pork Butt roast
  • Chicken broth
  • Maybe salt and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the massive amounts of fat (you can throw that into the freezer until you have enough to render for lard). Don’t remove all of it, just enough so you won’t end up eating nothing but a gob of fat. Cut the meat into cubes and place in a 13×9 baking dish. Put enough chicken broth in the pan to barely cover the meat. Cover with foil, place in oven and bake for at least an hour and a half (when the meat can be broken with a fork, move onto the next step. Turn your broiler on, remove the foil, and place the pan beneath the broiler. Leave there until the liquid has reduced and the meat is crispy (the best I ever made was when I forgot it until just before it burned). Break up with a fork (or don’t). Season with salt and pepper if it’s needed (we tried seasoning the meat like usual, with Pappy’s or Taco Seasoning and it was too much. This is much better simply seasoned).
That’s it! What is my favorite way to eat this now that I don’t eat tortillas? In a bowl with some shredded cheese, a tablespoon (or two) of sour cream and a tablespoon of well-flavored lower-carb salsa (my current favorite is Del Real Salsa de Molcajete Roja btw, that’s the same company that makes heat and serve carnitas).

brown bread on white and red floral textile
Bread, Recipe


Well, I saw a web page with instructions on how to make “30 second bread”.  I read it several times because it was being touted as the perfect ‘survival’ bread … it was tortillas (but that’s not what they called it … anywhere).  I thought, well, I have the directions for tortillas on my blog!  They could have just looked there … but I don’t (I will now)!

Tortillas … I’ll be completely honest.  I have the directions to make corn tortillas.  I made them once, and they tasted like mashed cornmeal mush, fried.  Nothing like the tortillas in the store.  I think I was using the wrong kind of masa.  I was thinking today (I know, shocker) that the method for making corn tortillas can be used for any grain flour.  You don’t rely on gluten in any way.  Anyway, here are the recipes for both flour and corn tortillas.


These are adapted from The Border Cookbook:

Sonoran Flour Tortillas

Makes ten 8-inch, eight 10-inch, or six 12-inch tortillas

  • 2 cups high-gluten bread or all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening (NO!  Use lard … they aren’t the same without animal fat)
  • 3/4 cup warm water

Stir together the flour and salt in a large bowl.  With your fingertips, mix in the shortening (LARD *grin*).  Add the water, working the liquid into the dough until a sticky ball forms (Kitchenaid with a dough hook works wonders).

Dust a counter or pastry board with flour and knead the dough vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes.  The mixture should be soft but no longer sticky.  Let the dough rest, covered with a damp cloth, for about 15 minutes.  Divide the dough into 6 or 8 balls, cover them again with the damp cloth, and let them rest for at least 45 minutes longer (this is to allow the gluten to form … if you don’t have the time, it won’t hurt them too much).  If not for use immediately, the dough can be greased lightly and refrigerated for up to 12 hours.  Bring the dough back to room temperature before proceeding.

Lightly flour your counter or pastry board.  Flatten a ball with your hand, then roll the dough from the center outward, turn the tortilla a few inches and roll again, attempting to keep the growing circle even.  Roll out the dough into a circle as thin as possible, preferably 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick.  They don’t have to be perfectly round … just make sure you do not have any folds.

Heat a dry griddle or large, heavy skillet over high heat.  Cook each tortilla 10 seconds on each side, then continue flipping (about 10 seconds on each side) until the dough looks slightly dry and wrinkled with a few brown speckles on the surface.  It helps to use a cloth or paper towel to pop any air bubbles that form but be careful … that steam is HOT!

Place cooked tortillas between two cloth towels until you are finished cooking.  Once cool, you can put them into a 1 gallon Ziploc bag and place in the fridge (if you do this while they are still warm, the steam will cause them to become mushy, and nothing’s worse than a mushy tortilla).  I don’t know how long these will last … they are so good, they are gone in no time!

To see how it’s done (none of the videos I found are the same recipe), here’s a great video:
How To Make Tortillas de Harina (flour tortillas)

Corn Tortillas

Makes twelve 5-inch or 6-inch tortillas

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water, or more as needed

There are two types available in the stores.  One is for tamales, the other is for tortillas.  The difference is the grind.  The masa harina for tortillas is a fine flour, the tamale one is courser but not as course as corn meal.  For authentic tortillas, you cannot use corn flour.  Masa harina is made by taking the dried corn and soaking it in a water/lime solution (to read more about this, go here: What is Masa Harina?).  For any other grain, just grind to a fine flour.

Heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, mix the ingredients with a sturdy spoon or your hands until the dough is smooth and forms a ball.  The dough should be quite moist but hold its shape.  Add a little more water or masa harina, if needed, to achieve the proper consistency.

Form the dough into 12 balls approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Cover the balls with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.  If any of the balls do dry out before cooking, knead more water into them.  Unlike the dough for flour tortillas, this dough can be reworked.

Place one ball of dough in a tortilla press between the two sheets of plastic that are sometimes sold with the tortillas press or two a 1 gallon freezer bag, cut into two sections.  If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can either roll each ball between two sheets of waxed paper or press between two sheets of waxed paper with a heavy, flat bottomed pot (my pressure canner worked great for this). Flatten to about 1/8 inch thick.  Carefully pull the plastic from the tortilla and lay on the hot griddle or skillet.

Cook for 30 seconds, flip over and cook about another minute, flip and cook the first side an additional 30 seconds.  Place the cooked tortillas between two cloth towels until all tortillas are cooked.  Store as above (once cooled, place in a gallon Ziploc bag and store in fridge).

Here’s a video for making corn tortillas (these videos are to show the techniques):
Making Tortillas in Puebla, Mexico

Food Storage, Recipe

Some Great Links

I have about 30 tabs open, trying to remember to post information (or save recipes) so here are some of the links:

Great Low Carb recipes


Here are some Diet/Low Carb recipes


This one especially spoke to me (*grin*):


Check out these Southwestern Recipes:


Here’s one that has Old Recipe Books:


And, thanks to Anthony Bourdain (“No Reservations”), here where you can order the book “Foods of the Azores Islands”:


Dinner, Recipe, Soup, Soups

Ma’s Tortilla Soup

Last (but not least) for today: My mom’s tortilla soup.  This is so easy, inexpensive, and could be healthy (but wouldn’t be the same *grin*).  I have tried using store bought tortilla chips (both regular and baked) but they turn to mush too quickly.

Ma’s Tortilla Soup

  • 6 (or more) Corn Tortillas, cut into 8 triangles each
  • Oil
  • 1 can Campbell’s condensed Vegetable Beef soup (or your favorite vegetable beef soup … especially good with homemade vegetable beef or chicken soup)
  • 2 cans water
  • 1 cube chicken or beef bouillion (or 1 teaspoon soup base)
  • Grated cheese (we use a mix of Cheddar and Monterey Jack)
  • Flour tortillas (enough for 2 per person)


In a sauce pan or pot, pour the soup and water.  Heat on medium.  Mix in bouillon (or soup base).  Continue to heat while you make the tortilla chips.

Heat about 1-inch of oil in a frying pan on medium.  When the oil is hot enough (it looks like it’s swirling and when you put a piece of tortilla into the oil, it immediately begins to cook), fry the tortilla triangles.  Do not over crowd the pan or the chips will not cook evenly (easier way?  Use a deep fat fryer).  Place 2 or 3 paper towels in a deep bowl, and place your cooked chips in the bowl to drain (salt now, if you wish, before they get cold).  Heat the flour tortillas.

Place the desired amount of tortilla chips in each bowl.  Pour soup over chips.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Serve flour tortillas on the side (for dipping).

That’s it!  This recipe is so adaptable for any palette.  Vegans can use just vegetable soup and vegan cheese.  You can put salsa and sour cream on top of the cheese.  You can pour less broth into each bowl so it’s more like nachos.  This is especially good with chopped green onions sprinkled on top, also!

Chicken, Dinner, Recipe

Hubby’s Chicken Tacos and Enchiladas

I wrote up this recipe for my sister. She said it was WAY too much work! LOL!

What we do is make up the meat, make however many tacos we want, then throw the rest of the meat in the freezer. Makes taco-making much easier!

Hubby’s Chicken Tacos and Enchiladas

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 (or 2) package taco seasoning
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • Oil
  • 20 (about) corn tortillas
  • Grated cheese (we use the finely grated cheese blend from Costco)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Shredded Lettuce, tomatoes, whatever you want to top the tacos with.


  • Stock Pot
  • Large Colander
  • Large Bowl (use your popcorn bowl 🙂 )
  • Tongs
  • Plate with paper towels to drain the tortillas
  • Pans to bake the tacos in (probably the equivalent of 2 – 3 13X9 baking pans)

Throw a chicken (with the innards removed) into a pot, cover with water, and boil until it’s done (you will know, it will look bloated and the legs will pull away from the body). Pull it out of the water and place it in a colander to drain and cool (if you want to make your own chicken broth or soup, set the chicken water aside … I’ll tell you how to do that after explaining tacos).

Once cool, remove all the meat from the bone and shred (two faster ways are to 1. Use canned chicken or 2. Just boil chicken breasts). Once removed, mix taco seasoning into the chicken meat. How much? I really don’t know. I add some, then taste. If you are using taco seasoning packets, probably no more than one packet (but taste first … remember there’s a lot of salt in there). Mix in onions. Set the meat aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Now for the time consuming part: Put about 1-inch of oil in a frying pan. Heat on medium (it’s the right temperature when you put a piece of tortilla in the pan and it does not sink). Slide a tortilla into the oil. Count to 3, flip the tortilla, count to 3, remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with rest of tortillas. You only want to cook the tortilla just enough so it is soft (not hard at all).

Time to make the tacos. Place a tortilla in your baking dish, add seasoned chicken, then cheese. Move on to the next taco. Continue until you have used all the chicken. You may have some extra tortillas. Just sprinkle some salt on those and eat them! 🙂

Bake until the top of the tacos are brown and crispy. Remove from oven, put the lettuce in the taco, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and you are done! Serve with Spanish rice (Patrick makes the best Spanish rice but I still can’t make it right. Your best bet is to look on-line for a recipe. I’ll try to get him to write down how he makes it).

So, this is how we make enough to feed me, hubby, my son, and my mom. Hubby just pointed out (duh) that you could just make however many tacos you want then freeze the chicken meat for another day.

If you want to do enchiladas, do everything except the instructions on assembling the tacos. Pour a large can of enchilada sauce in a bowl. Dip a tortilla in the enchilada sauce, place in baking dish, put chicken and a little cheese in the center of the tortilla, roll and place the seam down. Repeat with rest of chicken. Pour remainder of sauce over enchiladas, sprinkle grated cheese over the top (however much you want), and bake until all the cheese is melted and a little crispy on the edges. That’s it! You can freeze one pan of enchiladas before cooking. They keep in our freezer for about 6 months. Just cover the pan first with plastic wrap and foil.