On this very snowy day in Knoxville, Tennessee, I wanted to share a recipe that I made over the weekend. Clean Eating magazine was my inspiration since I wanted a crock pot recipe low in calories and fat but hearty in this frigid weather.
Let me begin by saying when you look at the ingredients in this recipe, you will not see very many spices or seasonings and I knew I would have to change this for my tastes. My result added more to the sodium content but kept the fat and the calories right on target. This recipe only has 319 calories for a very filling serving (including the cheese) and only 5 grams of fat!
Pork n’ Beans w/ Cojita Cheese
(courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine’s Winter’s Best 2013 issue)
Cooking Time: 6 – 8 hours (plus soaking time)
*1 lb dry pinto beans
*1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1/2-inch chucks
*1 tsp sea salt (I used kosher and A LOT more – use your taste buds as a guide)
*1 Tbsp Onion Powder (my addition)
* 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
*1 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes (my addition)
*1 Tbsp Hot Sauce (my addition)
* 1 tbsp safflower oil (you could use olive oil without too many added calories)
*1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
*1 white onion, finely chopped
*3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
*2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
*1 Tbsp unsalted tomato paste (I used salted)
*2 cups of unsalted diced tomatoes
*1/4 cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese (the cotija was actually easy to find at Kroger!)
*1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
*Several lime wedges
Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water by about 3 inches. Cover and soak overnight. (You could also use the quick soak method on the package of beans). Drain and rinse soaked beans and transfer to a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker. Add enough hot water to cover by 1 inch. Cook for 2 hours on high. Add pork and cook for 3 hours on high, checking once or twice to ensure pork-bean mixture is just submerged in liquid; add more water as needed so beans remain submerged. Stir in salt and pepper and cook until beans are tender, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours on high.
(Now here is where I take a little change to the recipe. It originally states to do this next step 30 minutes prior to beans being tender but I did this next step as soon as I put the pork in so the flavors could meld.) Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (approx 12-15 min). Add garlic, jalapenos, salt, pepper, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste and cook for an additional minute. Add tomatoes (I used my frozen tomatoes from last summer’s garden) and simmer until liquid reduces by about three-quarters.
With a large ladle, scoop and discard most of the cooking liquid in slow cooker, so beans are moist and not too soupy. Add tomato mixture to bean mixture and stir to combine. Keep on low until serving. (I left it in for a coupe of hours so flavors could really develop).
Ladle beans into serving bowls and top with cheese and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Bottom Line: With the small changes I made, this recipe was AMAZING!! I could not believe this beautiful bowl was only 319 calories so I didn’t feel so guilty about adding some corn muffins. I initially thought the pork would be tough and taste “boiled” but it was soooo tender and melted in your mouth. My husband LOVED this and this will be a frequent winter recipe in our house!
🙂🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂