It’s Sunday and that means families are hard at work preparing hearty homemade meals at homes in Barrington area kitchens. Mary Sirois and Molly Kiefer, the twin sisters who owned Barrington’s Mia Sorella Salon, say they’ve been enjoying more time spent with their families since they made the decision to merge with Barrington Day Spa late last year. They’re inviting us all to pull up a chair to their family’s dinner table this week for the latest post in our Heinen’s Sunday Supper series.
Heinen’s Grocery gave the sisters a gift card to purchase groceries for this week’s dinner, which includes piping hot portions of slow cooker pulled pork carnitas and a generous helping of Sunday family fun.
Mia Sorella Sisters’ Mexican Family Fiesta
by twin sisters, Mary Sirois & Molly Kiefer
Sunday supper has that warm and familiar family feel for us. We spend many Sunday nights together around a very large table. There is always lots of activity, lots of stories, and lots of laughs.
We (Mary and Molly, twin sisters born two minutes apart, living 10 minutes apart, spending hours together) love time together and love the slow paced feel of Sunday night. By then, homework is finished, sports equipment is in it’s own smelly spot in the garage, and our big work is behind us.
We grew up in a family where our parents were pastors of a church, so Sunday nights meant rest (our favorite childhood Sunday meal was stove popped popcorn and hot chocolate while we watched The Disney Sunday Movie). Now Molly and her husband are pastors of a church in Palatine and Sunday nights still mean “let’s take a break!”. Sundays afternoons and evenings have become a family gathering time for us all. Family gathering time means being yourself, being encouraged, and being fed. This recent Sunday night was no different….
We were really excited to put together a dinner for a Heinen’s Sunday Supper. Thanks to Pinterest, we flipped through our pins and found one of our favorites, pork carnitas. We picked this main dish because we wanted something we could set up and leave. You can’t beat the slow cooker on a chilly, winter day!
This recipe is an old stand-by when it comes to family affairs: you can feed lots of hungry kids in a snap, there are so many flavors working together and it’s one of those five-ingredients-or-less favorites! So here is how our Sunday Supper went down:
Mary, that early riser, got the pork shoulder roast from Heinen’s in the slow cooker well before the family loaded up for church.
Here is the recipe in all its simple glory:
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
2.5 lb pork shoulder blade roast,
6 cloves garlic, cut into sliver
dry adobo seasoning (I used Goya)
3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to taste)
2 bay leaves
Season the roast well with salt and pepper and brown the pork on all sides in a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes. Next, stuff fresh garlic cloves into those openings. Place the roast in your favorite slow cooker (I hope yours doesn’t have as many love stains as ours… so much mileage!). Season your roast generously with garlic powder, dry adobo seasoning and – the best spice of all times – cumin.
Pour vegetable (or chicken) broth in the slow cooker. Add a bay leaf or two and 2-3 chipotle peppers (those red, spicy peppers that come packaged in adobo sauce). These little guys are spicy-if you like it hot, go crazy and add a few more. One of our kids, not naming any names here, recently called iceberg lettuce “too spicy” so you better believe we only used two. Cook this party-waiting-to-happen for 8 or more hours on low.
After 8 hours, shred the pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom. Remove the bay leaves and adjust salt and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.
Now that the hard work was done, we all went about our usual Sunday routine: church, lunch, Sunday nap. We gathered later that night to whip up some sides, sticking with our south of the border theme. Our kids love anything that ends in the word “bread,” so we made their favorite: cornbread. I picked up a Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade mix and a small can of creamed sweet corn while gathering our supplies at Heinen’s.
I have a secret: I can no longer bake cornbread without creamed corn. In an attempt to make cornbread sweeter and more moist, I tried this little experiment. And now I can never go back. I follow the instructions from the back of the cornbread box, but always (ALWAYS) throw in a small can of creamed corn. I don’t alter the bake time because we like it moist (and sweet!).
We wanted a hearty, warm side to go with our carnitas, so we found this beautiful, simple recipe for One Pan Mexican Quinoa. What does “one pan” in the title mean to me? One pan to clean!
Here’s how to make this simple side!
One Pan Mexican Quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeños, chopped
1 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup corn kernels
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add garlic and jalapeño. Cook about 1 minute.
Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro and serve immediately.
While the quinoa simmered away, we chopped cilantro, sliced limes and avocados, bowled up the shredded cheddar cheese and ate too many tortilla chips.
The husbands worked on the playlist and enjoyed a Modelo which was so very, very helpful. We pulled the pork (why pull and not shred? not sure!) and set it back in it’s beautiful broth in the slow cooker to get all hot and bubbly.
It’s never quick or easy getting all six kids to the table. Usually someone has to “save” their progress on some sort of video game, which really means get to and defeat the next level of play. Some “didn’t hear” any sort of dinner call. And there was one that night who was defrosting his feet after getting in the car without any shoes (IN MID-WINTER!).
We love these carnitas, because you can eat them with just a tortilla and a squeeze of lime and a pinch of fresh cilantro. You can make them into a traditional pork taco with cheese, tomatoes, and avocado. You can make them into nachos with chips and cheese. The kids love the meat and cheese combo. They are just so flavorful and easy! We piled up plates of carnitas, quinoa, cornbread- it was a beautiful sight!
We found the perfect ending for this fiesta from the Heinen’s bakery. Some of our favorite things in the world are Heinen’s Chinese Cookies…. this amazing light and buttery almond cookie with just the right amount of fudge on top is hard to resist! Another easy favorite are the Mama Joe cream pies. They are the perfect size for finishing off a hearty meal!
The kids did a sampler platter: a little pie, a little cookie, a little pecan tart. The choices at Heinen’s are perfect for a group… you can try a few things and not overspend!
Well that about sums up our Sunday supper at the Sirois’. Thanks to Heinen’s for providing everything we needed for this amazing meal, from Modelo to Xochitl chips and Mama Joes pies…. and right down the road! From our casa to su casa…. Happy Heinen’s Sunday Supper!!
Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meathead’s) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit Heinens.com.