Pineapple Meal Prep
I'm a big fan of meal prepping. It's really the only way I can stay on track with wholesome meals throughout the week while also saving time and money.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get inspired for what I want to eat in advance. This week, however, was a different story...and it all started with a cheap pineapple. I can't resist a good deal, and it ended up really getting my creative juices flowing!
You know those recipes for Hawiian chicken with sticky sauce and pineapple chunks? Tastes so good, but I can't bare to squirt a bunch of ketchup into my food for many reasons. The loads of brown sugar doesn't make it any more appetizing for me either. I was determined to create a similar dish using beef and more wholesome ingredients, and pretty excited to share with you.
That turned out so good, and I still had half of a pineapple, so I was excited to try something else new. Inspired by Al Pastor but unable to make another trip to the market, I decided to make something similar without the specialty ingredients (or rotisserie spit)...and so glad I did!
(Side note: while dreaming this up, I kept reminiscing on my Peach-Jalapeno Pulled Pork recipe...have you tried that yet? So good and can be made with drained, canned peaches, too!)
Meal prep recipes, for me, need to be a few things; just as (if not more) delicious reheated, freezable and versatile. Both of these recipes check those boxes for sure!
Often, people are intimidated by cutting large fruits like pineapple. Don't have a special corer tool? No worries, it'll only take you a minute...with way less waste, too. Just make sure to use a large, sharp knife and a large cutting board with a well to collect the sweet juice. Spray your pineapple off in the sink and lie it on its side on the board. Cut off the the top and bottom, leaving a flat, stable surface. For a little fun to help speed up these lingering winter days, you can try to grow your own pineapple from the top!
Stand the pineapple up and slice off the sides, going around in a circle.
Slice large chunks of fruit off of the core. My favorite pineapple trick: save the core! Pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme known for its exceptional meat tenderizing capabilities. Blend the core and use in marinades for tough cuts of meat or to naturally tenderize homemade beef jerky.
Finally, chop into your desired size. Easy peasy!
Sticky Slow Cooker Pineapple Beef
o 2 packages Grass-fed Beef Cubes
o 1 large green bell pepper, diced
o ½ pineapple, diced
o 1 medium onion, diced
o 1 Tbsp. tallow or cooking oil
o ¼ cup coconut aminos
o 2 Tbsp. arrrowroot powder
o 2-4 Tbsp. Raw Local Honey (see notes)
o 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained well
o 1 ½ tsp. coarse salt
o ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
o ½ tsp. garlic powder
o ½ tsp. ginger powder
o ½ tsp. gochugaru flakes (see notes)
o ¼ tsp. paprika
1. Remove beef cubes from packaging and allow any liquid to drain. Mix together the last six ingredients and season cubes thoroughly.
2. Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Heat tallow or oil, then sear beef cubes well in batches, not allowing to steam.
3. In your slow cooker crock, mix onion, pepper, pineapple, drained tomatoes and beef cubes. Over top, pour the coconut aminos and honey.
4. Place lid on and cook on low for 6 hours or until tender. To thicken the sauce, scoop out a bit of the juices from the crock and whish with arrowroot powder to make a slurry. Stir back into crock, increase temp to high and allow to cook for another 30 minutes with the lid off. Delicious served over coconut rice, see below.
- The sweetness level of coconut aminos varies drastically by brand. This is why the amount of honey isn't set. Unless you're confident with the salt vs. sweet balance, start with 1-2 tablespoons of honey and add the rest if needed when adding the arrowroot slurry.
- To make coconut rice, simply replace water in your rice recipe with coconut milk. We love to make it with jasmine rice, but it is still aromatic and adds another level of flavor when using brown rice.
[Almost] Al Pastor
o 1 large onion; halved then sliced
o ½ pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces
o 2-3 Tbsp. cooking oil
o ¼ cup white vinegar
o ¾ cup water
o 2 Tbsp. coarse salt
o 2 tsp. ground black pepper
o 2 tsp. smoked paprika
o 2 tsp. onion powder
o 1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
o 1 ½ tsp. chili powder
o 1 tsp. mustard powder
o 1 tsp. cumin
o ½ tsp. turmeric powder
o ½ tsp. ground cayenne
1. In a small dish, mix together last 10 ingredients. Remove thawed pork roast from packaging and rub well with a thick coat of seasoning. If possible, do this 12-24 hours ahead of time and place back into the fridge wrapped tightly. Otherwise, allow it to sit with the rub at room temp for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 300-degrees.
3. Heat a large Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat and a tablespoon of oil. Sear roast well on all sides, adding more oil if needed, then briefly remove to a plate.
4. Add sliced onions and give it a quick stir before adding vinegar and water. Scrape the bottom and sides well to remove all of the yummy brown bits. Mix in the pineapple chunks.
5. Place pork roast on top of onions and pineapple, and place into the preheated oven for about 40 minutes per pound, checking on it at about the 25-30 minute per pound mark. Shred before serving.
- To prepare this in an electric slow cooker, simply follow the directions up until step 5 and instead assemble in the crock. Cook on low for 8 hours.
This was divine served on a corn tortilla with quick toppings; lime crema, diced red onion, cilantro and add-your-own jalapeno hot sauce.