Friday, January 7, 2011

Mock Cafe Rio Salad (Including Freezer friendly pork recipe!)

Over the break I had a chance to go to Cafe Rio in Denver! It was so good...but I kind of laughed because I'm so used to the way that this knock off recipe tastes now that the actual Cafe Rio food tasted like an imitation to me! But still, and I can't emphasize this enough, Cafe Rio is SO GOOD :-)

So I know that tons of people have different recipes for this one! I've tried a ton myself. But after much experimenting this is the recipe my family likes. Hope you enjoy!

Cafe Rio Pork Salad
1 recipe Cafe Rio Pork (see below)
1 recipe Tomatillo-Cilantro Ranch (see below)
1 recipe Cilantro-lime rice (see below)
romaine lettuce (chopped)
cheddar cheese
tomatoes (diced)
black beans
warm flour tortillas
tortilla strips (I usually find these on the same shelf with the croutons and other salad toppers)
(other ideas are guacamole, sour cream, salsa, etc)

Place a warm flour tortilla on your plate. Top with rice, beans and pork first. Then add a generous helping of romaine! Then add cheese and whatever other toppings you'd like! Finally top her all off with some tomatillo ranch and you are all set!

Cafe Rio Pork (freezer friendly!)
(I had a basic recipe for this pork but my friend Jenny added barbecue sauce to hers and I think it makes it really good! You can see her entire recipe including her bbq sauce recipe at her food blog

3-4 lb. pork roast
1 1/2 cups coca-cola
garlic salt
pepper to taste

3/4 cup water
2 T. flour
2 T. chili powder (I use locally grown stuff which is nice and hot! If you are using McCormick or something like that you may need more chili powder to get the taste right!)
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 oz. diced green chili (I use frozen but I think you can buy 4-6 oz. cans also)
1 cup cola
1/4 cup bbq sauce

Place the 4 roast ingredients in a crock-pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. When roast is finished cooking, remove meat from crock pot and shred. Throw out juices and return meat to crockpot.

In a small bowl combine the water, flour and chili powder. Mix well until all lumps are gone. (FYI those 3 ingredients make a basic red enchilada sauce! I'm sure they will come up again if I ever get around to making enchiladas!) Anyway, pour chili powder mixture into a medium saucepan. Allow to thicken slightly while stirring. Add all the remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add sauce to crock pot and mix into shredded meat. Keep warm until ready to serve!

Freezer meal assembly instructions:
In a gallon sized freezer bag combine the four roast ingredients. In a small bowl whisk together all sauce ingredients making sure to beat out any lumps.  Pour sauce into a quart size freezer bag and close.  Place pork freezer bag and sauce freezer bag inside another gallon sized freezer bag. Freeze

When ready to heat- Place roast ingredients in a crock-pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Set sauce bag out on the counter to defrost. When roast is finished cooking, remove meat from crock pot and shred. Discard juices and return meat to crockpot. Add defrosted sauce to crock pot and mix into shredded meat. Cook an additional 30 min. or until sauce has thickened up and combined with the shredded meat. Keep warm until ready to 

Tomatillo-Cilantro Ranch
(I've tried a few recipes for this as well. This particular recipe was given to me by my friend Natalie! It's is super easy and delicious!)

1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos (remove husks and chop)
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalepeno (For spicier dressing leave seeds in. For "weak-sauce" dressing just remove seeds)

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve!

Cilantro-Lime Rice
(I just made this recipe up. It's pretty straight forward...all the ingredients are listed in the name!)
2 cups cooked rice
1 lime (juiced)
1/2 bunch of cilantro (finely chopped)

Cook rice according to package directions. Reduce heat to low. Add lime juice and cilantro. Heat until cilantro is softened throughout the rice.

Well, I know that looks like a lot of recipes and a lot of ingredients for just one meal...but don't be overwhelmed! Since the meat is in a crock-pot it does a lot of the work for you and once you've tried this recipe once you'll see that the process is really pretty easy! Plus the final product is SOOO worth the effort! Hope you enjoy!