Hi friends! How is 2019 going for you so far? I’m struggling with upper respiratory issues thanks to this cold, rainy weather but I’m not letting it get me down!
Tonight for dinner we’re having Mexican! That always perks me right up! We love carnitas but tonight I was not in the mood for the big production of everybody being back and forth, passing dishes around the table so I decided to just throw it all in my deep casserole dish and call it done! I have my youngest nephew over for the night and he loves carnitas.
I stumbled upon the recipe for carnitas on Pinterest a couple of years ago and over time we have tweaked and fiddled with it until we made it ours. So far every time I have let other people try it they fall in love with it too! I love to make bigger meals with pork because it isn’t very expensive but you can get a lot of flavor.
Tonight I started with 2 1/2-3 pounds of boneless pork loin I had frozen. I popped it (still frozen) in the Instant Pot and added some ingredients to get that delicious carnita flavor in it. Then I hit the Meat button and ran the timer up to an hour and a half. After that was up, I did the quick release of the pressure and it wasn’t as tender as I wanted so I turned it back on for another 20 minutes. Perfect!!
When I’m sick like this, my biggest obstacle is lack of energy, so having the Instant Pot do a good bit of the work really helped me. Having a main element of dinner already cooking without much attention is huge when I’m feeling blah.
So while the meat is cooking, I piddled around for the hour and a half, taking care of the mail and some coupons that needed filing, checking Facebook, etc. After the timer is done and I see that the meat is just about done and I got it reset, I started my Easy Mexican Restaurant Rice at Home, that you may remember from a couple of weeks ago. It really is a super easy and versatile recipe! I also assembled a few ingredients I had on hand. I grabbed a bag of corn tortillas, a bag of Mexican blend cheese and a large can of pinto beans, as well as a jar of salsa.
From here it’s a simple matter of layering. I started with half the rice, sprinkled a small amount of cheese on that, a layer of corn tortillas, then two-thirds of the beans (drained), a little bit more cheese, a couple of tablespoons of salsa, and then half of the meat. I covered the meat with the rest of the rice, the last third of the beans, and tortillas again. Lastly the other half of the meat topped with the majority of the cheese.
Then into the oven to get all nice and bubbly and hot. Just what we needed on this cold, rainy January evening! I tried to get a good picture of the finished product but it’s just not pretty, even though it is delicious! I guess you’ll just have to try it!
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Cheesy Carnita and Rice Bake
- Carnita Ingredients
- 2 1/2 – 3 pounds of pork loin, or shoulder, or picnic (mine was frozen, if yours isn’t adjust time accordingly)
- 1 lime, juice only
- 1 onion
- 2 jalapenoes
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 4 small oranges, juice only
- 3-4 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 TB. oregano
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 TB. olive oil
- Other Bake Ingredients
- 8 ounce bag Mexican blend shredded cheese
- 30 ounce can of pinto beans (drained)
- 1/2 cup salsa, of your preference
- 1 batch of Easy Mexican Restaurant Rice at Home
- bag of corn tortillas,(I only used about half a 30 count bag)
- Put meat and all other Carnita ingredients in Instant Pot for 1 1/2 hours.
- Check meat, if needed cook additional time.
- Make Easy Mexican Restaurant Rice at Home.
- Set out ingredients with large casserole dish.
- Shred meat and bring to assembly line.
- Begin layering with half the rice, sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over rice, then a layer of corn tortillas.
- Layer 2/3 of the can of beans, 1/4 cup cheese, and dollop the salsa on top, then add half the meat.
- Next layer is remaining rice, remaining beans, and a layer of tortillas.
- Finally add on the last of the meat, including juices from pot, and top with the rest of the cheese.
- Bake at 400* until hot all the way through and melted on top. For us, that was about 15 minutes.