Top of the day to you, readers! I’ve decided to post another in depth Meal Prep Monday post after some requests. This week I chose a less hands on meal prep, skinny slow cooker pernil (Puerto Rican) pork and cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes with cranberries. Both of these recipes come from other sites (courtesy of Pinterest) so of course I would like to credit the original recipes before I get into my prepping. The pork recipe can be found here courtesy of skinny taste. The cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes & cranberries recipe is located here, from Little Bits Of. Now, on to my version of the recipes and how I prepped them.
We’ll start with the Pernil Pork, as it was a longer process (as any slow cooker meal is). I would like to begin by saying that this has already become my favorite pork recipe and I’ve only had one out of my 6 servings so far. The pork is moist and tender, while also being incredibly flavorful despite using so few ingredients. I used a 2.4 lb extra lean pork tenderloin for my recipe instead of the shoulder it called for, mostly because it was on sale at Publix (which affects many of my decisions) and also because I just prefer the extra lean meat for my calorie counting lifestyle. Slightly different than other slow cooker recipes, this one requires marinating the pork overnight with crushed garlic, in a combination of orange and lime juice, with spices- cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Right now it looks super unappetizing, but this makes incredible pork. I swear.
After letting the pork marinate overnight, you cook it on low for about 8 hours (mine ended up being closer to 9 due to a late run because of inclement weather). I don’t think the extra hour did any harm to the pork, if anything it probably just made the meat more tender and easy to shred. So after the 8 hours on low, you remove the pork loin and shred it. You also want to remove all of the liquid from the pot, reserving 1 cup of it.
After 8.5ish hours, that pork is nice and tender for shredding.
After shredding, place the pork back in the slow cooker along with the cup of liquid and add additional salt, pepper, and cumin to taste. The recipe says to cook for another 15-30 minutes on low, but I elected to try it on high for 30 minutes to try and give it a little crisp. Some pieces got a bit crispier, but if I wanted carnitas type pork, I probably should’ve broiled it. No biggie. After the additional time, the pork was perfect. Juicy without having an excess of liquid and cooked to perfection. I decided to split my pork up into 6 servings of about 158g of meat which comes to 221 calories per serving with 37g of protein. You could use this meat for tacos or serve it over rice, but I wanted to cut back on carbs this week so I’m just eating the meat by itself. Trust me when I say it’s delicious enough that it needs no toppings or extras.
The finished product, 6 servings of the best pork I’ve ever made.
Next, we’ll move on to the cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes. As some of you may know, I’m rather obsessed with sweet potatoes. They’re one of my favorite side dishes and I make them probably at least once a month as part of my meal prep. Whether it be baked, mashed, or otherwise. This week I decided to try a new recipe recommended to me by my godmother, Suzanne. Truthfully the prep for this didn’t take much, just skinning and chopping sweet potatoes and mixing them up with the cranberries (I also added a half cup of chopped pecans because it sounded like the perfect addition). Then coating them in melted coconut oil (1 tbsp) and 1 tbsp maple syrup for sweetness (I used butter lite syrup as it’s what I had on hand) and sprinkling with cinnamon and salt. Then you pop them into the oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Before the roasting, just a lot of great colors in here.
After I removed them from the oven, I separated the recipe into 6 approximately even servings to be put into Tupperware for the week. Some people suggested adding a bit more maple syrup for flavor, and I might try that on my next serving as the cranberries make it a bit sour. The sweet potatoes come out nice and crispy almost like home fries, which unfortunately you lose with microwaving, but they’re still very tasty. The pecans add a nice crunch to make up for that though. If I were to attempt this recipe again, I might skip the cranberries (I just don’t particularly care for the sour aspect) and just keep it sweet potatoes and pecans. This dish comes out to 6 servings at 189 calories with only 4g of fat but 41g of carbs because sweet potatoes. Low carb isn’t something I stick to at all, so it doesn’t make a difference to me. Plus sweet potatoes are better for you than white potatoes anyway.
My 6 mostly equal servings all portioned out for the week.
For convenience I’ll also include the recipes below for a more organized look at each dish. These are copy/pasted directly from the source.
Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil Pork
- 3 lb boneless pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed (I used 2.4 lbs of extra lean pork tenderloin instead)
- 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
- 3 oranges, juice of (1/2 cup)
- 2 limes, juice of
- Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the pork and stuff holes with half of the crushed garlic. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over pork. Place in the ceramic part of the crock pot, cover and refrigerate, turning pork occasionally so the marinade covers all of pork.
- The next day, remove the crock pot and cook on low, 8 hours.
- After 8 hours, remove pork and shred using two forks. Remove liquid from crock pot and add pork back to crock. Add about 1 cup of the liquid back and adjust salt, pepper and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.
Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Cranberries
- 6 cups chopped sweet potatoes (about 2.6 lbs)
- 8 ounce bag of cranberries
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- (Optional) half cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes, cranberries, pecans, coconut oil and maple syrup. Stir mixture until potatoes and berries are evenly coated.
- Then sprinkle on cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir to coat evenly. Pour onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast for 40 – 50 minutes for until a fork easily pierces through the sweet potatoes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Enjoy!
This week I don’t have a fancy plated picture for you, as I reheat the potatoes in the Tupperware to save on dishes, but trust me you don’t need the presentation because the food speaks for itself! Would love to hear back from anyone who tries these recipes!