If you read Part 1, then you know that crispy, rich, tasty pork carnitas are a key component to The Ultimate Crowd-Pleasing, Make-Ahead, Freezer-Friendly Party Meal. This post is devoted to the rest of it – the elements that make a meal that can satisfy just about anyone’s tastes and dietary preferences. You are channeling Chipotle, and you’re going to make a lot of tummies very happy.
1. The Rice. I always use brown rice…because I like it, and it’s good for you. And I always cook it in the oven.
2. The Fajita Veggies. I like a ratio of one really big onion to two medium bell peppers – preferably different colors to keep things exciting. Heat up a little oil in a big skillet, and start the onions first for a couple minutes. Add a little salt and pepper and the peppers, and continue to cook until the veggies are crisp-tender (or longer if you like them a little more well-done!). For a more hands-off approach, you can also easily roast them in the oven.
3. The Beans. I typically use black beans, but pinto beans are good, too. I’d like to explore the world of cooking dry beans, but in this situation I open a can and drain off just a little of the liquid. They get heated up in a pot with some dashes of ground cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder.
4. The Crispy Corn. I always think about skipping the crispy corn, but then at the last minute decide to make it! Heat up a little oil in a skillet, add frozen corn and salt, and stir around for several minutes until it begins to caramelize. Yum. You could also just warm up corn in the microwave, or serve a corn salsa option!
5. The Garnishes. Lettuce (chop up a bunch in case some people want to make a salad rather than a rice bowl), shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole or chopped avocado, lime wedges, cilantro…self-explanatory, yes?
6. The Tortilla Option. We’ve eaten the carnitas as soft tacos and burritos before, but I love the rice bowl format since for me, the tortilla kind of masks some of the crispy perfection of the carnitas. But I like to offer them if we’re feeding a crowd, especially one with kids.
…So whether you’re serving a crowd and you don’t want anyone to feel weird for being gluten-free or vegetarian or paleo or lactose intolerant or absolutely opposed to green cilantro flecks in their bowl of rice, thankyouverymuchMommy…
…Or you’re delivering dinner to a friend and need something that reheats well and isn’t the traditional casserole…
…Or you’re having a potluck, and you want to provide the main dish and use a website like PerfectPotluck.com to create a sign-up sheet for the sides and toppings…
…this is The Ultimate Crowd-Pleasing Make-Ahead Freezer-Friendly Party Meal! Yum.