While I love to cook, bake, and experiment in the kitchen, I’m with any of you who might dread the 5 pm dinner decision. What do we have? What do we make? Who’s cooking? While 5 pm is not the ideal time to begin asking these questions, it happens more than I like.
Do you ever do the math? 105 times a week someone here in my house is potentially hungry, 52 weeks a year. Are you kidding me? That’s a lot.
We all have a barrage of decisions coming at us on a daily basis, beyond just the 21 personal meals a week (not including snacks, your potential family, and/or your pets)! In an interview a few years back, Michael Lewis did a leadership story and quoted President Obama on how he wears and eats the same thing every day so he can “routinize” his life and “pare down his decisions”. I loved the idea of this but wasn’t always sure how to apply it without disturbing my need for creativity at the same time.
Over the last couple of years I have routinized my breakfast and love all the benefits of having this decision off my to do list. I just haven’t been able to do the lunch and dinner, at least not yet. I have however, been prepping things ahead of time when I can (#sundaysetup), and it’s getting at some of the same freedom for the weekdays.
Every time I’ve made this Tinga recipe in the past, it’s gone in the oven. This past month I went all crockpot with it. While I haven’t always had luck with slow cookers and meat (tastes dry and washed out), the desire to make weeknights less problematic lead me to try again. The smells alone drew cheers from the Bursch crowd, even when I repeated it 2 weeks in a row.
If you don’t want tacos, a side of this meat with vegetables, rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa makes a perfect bowl of dinner as well. Don’t forget to top it all with avocados (squeezed with lime and a sprinkle of salt).?
Here’s the recipe!
- 1 large sweet potato or yam about 1 lb, chopped into 1 inch chunks
- 1 2-3 lb chuck beef roast pork shoulder or combination of chicken thighs and chicken breasts work too!
- 1 28 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of beef broth plus 2 tablespoons for the end
- 1 ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoon of cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon of oregano
- 2 chipotle chiles en adobo seeded rinsed, and chopped (Whole Foodshas gluten free option)
- 2-5 teaspoons of sauce from chiles en adobo
- 1 small to medium onion sliced or chopped
- Optional: 4-6 oz fresh chorizo and extra beef broth
Serve with avocado slices, lettuce wraps or corn tortillas, cojita or queso fresco Mexican cheese
- In the bottom of your slow cooker layer your chopped sweet potatoes, then lay your beef on top.
- In a medium bowl mix the remaining ingredients together and pour on top of beef.
- Cover and turn your slow cooker to high for 6 hours.
- When the meat is done, pour off the liquids into a saucepan and turn on high. Let the liquid boil and cook down into more of a thick sauce. I'd let it go for 15 minutes or so if you can. Add more beef broth if the mixture gets to dry.
- If adding chorizo, fry in a pan until cooked through and browned. Splash a tablespoon or two of beef broth in the pan to scrape up the browned bits and add the chorizo + bits on top of beef.
- When you have cooked down the liquids pour them back on top of your meat and potatoes.
- Separate the beef with two forks into bite size chunks and stir the meats, potatoes and sauce together gently. Don’t over mix or mash.
- Serve with toppings listed above.
For the oven, place meat, then potatoes, then sauce mixture in a roasting pan with a lid. Cover and cook on a low 300° for 2 1/2 -3 hours. Cook down liquids if needed (not as much liquid this way) and add chorizo step to finish if desired.
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This idea that we can (need to) reduce our cognitive load makes a ton of sense to me. As a food lover and creator, this has been complicated because it’s my thing. But like I said, it’s not my thing 105 times a week when all I really want is to get creative and try something new once or twice a week.
Now that I thought about that aloud with you, I’m seeing things a bit more clearly. How about you? What’s your number, what’s your load?