Food, Pork, Recipes

Sandy’s Carnitas Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – Inspired by The Croods!!

It’s not everyday that DreamWorks Animation zips an email to your inbox; so when I was invited to develop a recipe based on the upcoming movie about the world’s “first family” it was not hard for me to say YES, OF COURSE!!! Dear readers, how perfectly fun and easy this project was for our little family to undertake because, well, The Croods are PALEO, like, really really paleo, and my kids were literally through the roof with excitement when we watched the trailer together; which you can check out right here:

The Croods, scheduled to hit theaters March 22nd, is a 3D comedy adventure that follows the journey of the worlds first family as they leave their cave home (after it was destroyed) and head off together on a “path trip” of a lifetime.  Rocked by generational clashes and seismic shifts, The Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures, and a future beyond any they imagined.


I can’t wait to watch this movie with my boys and I LOVE that the main character, Eep, is depicted as an assertive, tough, and independent young woman (I mean, did you see her in the trailer – that girl can MOVE and she’s STRONG – awesome…) which will be fun and refreshing for a family flick.  The family is comprised of patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage) who is fiercely protective of his wife and three kids. His hyper-vigilance has kept his cave-bound family safe, secure and….super-bored.  Grug’s strong and dutiful better half, Ugga (Catherine Keener), accepts her husband’s “fear is good; change is bad” mentality, as does their son Thunk (Clark Duke), who’s content with the static status quo.  Feisty mother-in-law Gran (Cloris Leachman) never tires of needling (or sometimes assaulting) Grug; and stone-tough toddler Sandy might be the fiercest Crood yet.

It was Sandy who gave me inspiration for this recipe.  Our family, like Sandy, lives life fiercely and we love to cook and eat food that is fun and lively, so I give to you Sandy’s Stuffed Sweet Potatoes!  I figured that The Croods (after discovering fire of course) would not only enjoy this meal but would need the sustenance and energy that would be required to make their epic journey.  Our kids loved the meal, and I hope yours will to, and we all can’t wait for The Croods!! Now, here’s the recipe:

Sandy’s Carnitas Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Avocado Aioli and Coleslaw With a Kick!

To make this creation, it may seem like a lot of steps but it’s actually pretty simple.  Once the potatoes are baked, split them down the middle, stuff them with the carnitas, drizzle with the avocado aioli, and serve with a side of coleslaw. Instructions and ingredients are below!

Slow Cooked Carnitas

4 lbs pork shoulder cut into 2″ cubes

1 tablespoon dried oregano

4 tablespoons melted lard (or coconut oil)

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

½ cup water

2 bay leaves

1. In a large bowl, mix the pieces of pork with 2 tablespoons of the melted lard or coconut oil, salt, garlic, and oregano until all of the pieces are coated.

2. Place the pork in a slow cooker, add the water and bay leaves, cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until the pork is fork tender.

3. In a large skillet heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of lard over medium high heat and add the pork chunks. Cook, stirring often until the pork is browned and crispy on the outside.

4. Use a fork to shred the pieces of pork and set aside.

pork raw pork browning pork fork

Sweet Potatoes

5-6 medium sized white sweet potatoes

1. Preheat oven to 400

2. Bake for 40 minutes or until fork tender.

3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, prepare the coleslaw and avocado aioli.

sweet potato cut

Coleslaw With a Kick

4 cups green cabbage, shredded

½ cup diced green onions

½ cup chopped cilantro

1 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1 small apple diced

8 ounce bacon, finely chopped and cooked until crispy

Dressing for Coleslaw

Juice from 2 limes

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

Pinch of cayenne (or more if you like it spicy)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients.

2. Toss together the coleslaw ingredients, drizzle with the dressing and mix well.

coleslaw ingredients  slaw and dressing

Avocado Aioli

1/2 cup Everyday Paleo Mayo

1 avocado

1. Mash the avocado with a fork.

2. Add the mayo and whisk together until well blended.

For more on The Croods, follow on Pinterest, Facebook, and the Official Website! 

Here’s two out of three of my crazy cave kids enjoy dinner! (Sadly, Coby wasn’t home to participate in The Croods madness…)

rowanjadenfinal recipe 2

Although this is a sponsored post, all thoughts (like always) are my very own!

Photo Credit: Michael J. Lang

Sarah Fragoso

Sarah Fragoso is an international best selling author of 6 books, co-owner of the Chico, CA based gym JS Strength and Conditioning, and founder of the Everyday Paleo franchise. Sarah is the co-host of the popular Sarah and Dr. Brooke Show podcast and she also conducts workshops and retreats on the subjects of nutrition, lifestyle and fitness.

Her message is from the heart and she carries a genuine desire to help other families looking for guidance. These attributes have contributed to her successes and provide the drive to keep the discoveries coming.

You may also like...


  1. Joe Rovito says:

    Wow! This looks soooooooooo good! I am getting the clan into the kitchen this weekend to make this. What an honor for you and your family…the Fragoso’s Rock!!!!

  2. Stacey says:

    This combines pretty much ALL my favorite foods (as well as hubby’s!!!) Shredded pork, spice, sweet potatoes – who could ask for more! I bet the leftovers are amazing (if there are any!) Funny how you have white sweet potatoes – a majority of ours are yellow/orange. I’ve tried the white and find they have a different taste/texture.

    PS – thank you for changing my life – been Paleo since 1/1 and feel amazing. Your books and podcasts have been my lifelines, inspirations, education and motivation. I only wish you would have a seminar near me so I could thank you in person! (New England!)

  3. john says:

    Can’t wait to see this movie! And the Savory carnita’s with the sweet potatoe and well some guacamole on top sounds amazing! Dinner is served 🙂

  4. This looks awesome, Sarah!! What a fun project for you and your family. I can’t wait to make this with the kids this weekend. Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

  5. Jenn says:

    Why are your sweet potatoes so “white”? Do they taste different than the traditional yam/orange sweet potatoes that most people use? I’ve never seen the whiter ones. Now I’m on a mission to try to find some 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      They are so white, because they are white sweet potatoes! lol! In my stores in CA, the white sweet potatoes are labeled “sweet potatoes” and the orange fleshed ones are labeled “yams” but we usually call all of them just sweet potatoes.

  6. Andi says:

    This looks sooooo delicious! Now, when you say lard… do you mean bacon fat?

    1. Sarah says:

      Yup!!! That will work just fine. : )

  7. Angel says:

    This is SO EXCITING!! I work at DreamWorks, and so do a few of my close Paleo friends, and it’s like worlds colliding to see one of my favorite Paleo bloggers (you!) creating a dish inspired by our latest movie. If you get a chance, I would love to hear from you as to who contacted you from DreamWorks so I can try to organize some kind of Paleo event here at work 🙂 FUN!

  8. Lena says:

    This sounds soooooo delicious, can’t wait to make it. I wanted to ask if I can cook the pork in a pressure cooker (don’t have a slow cooker). Thanks for always posting great recipes!

    1. Sarah says:

      Yes, you sure can! You can also simmer the pork over low heat for an hour or until tender and then fry in the bacon fat, lard, or coconut oil.

  9. Jen Sanchez says:

    Way to go Sarah! You rock!

  10. we made the entire meal tonight and it was one of the complete best meals in a long time! Thanks!!!!!!

  11. Brittany says:

    I made the coleslaw today for lunch and it was awesome!! I am making the carnita’s later this week 🙂 Thanks for so many wonderful recipes!

  12. Shelly says:

    For any busy people out there that like dinner to be done when you get home, you can “bake” the sweet potatoes in another crock pot . Wrap in foil or not, place in crock pot , place on low heat and they will be done in 6 hours.

  13. Julie says:

    Can I use yams instead of those sweet potatoes that you used? I don’t think I have seen sweet potatoes like those before.
    Thank you

    1. Sarah says:

      Yes, that will work just fine too!

      1. Julie says:

        Sarah thank you for sharing this recipe as a whole meal. I really enjoy making it. I would like to know if you have a book where you have recipes like this?

        Thank you again!

  14. Julie says:

    Yum! Love this combination and this is possibly my favorite coleslaw recipe ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.