cafe rio-ish sweet pork or shredded chicken salads

cafe rio-ish salads.
my collaboration of the best recipes from my experimentation on recipes from the worldwide web! (some reputed to be the original top secret recipes.) choose to make the sweet pork (pick this one!) or chicken, be sure to read the list at the bottom, and start early in the day. lots of prep work, this one. i make the rice, beans, pico and guacamole throughout the day or the day before. the meat is a crock pot dump. with most of that work finished beforehand, this comes together quickly at mealtime. super fab finished off with a homemade key lime pie!

(these recipes make mahusive portions, try half or quarter recipes for a small fam.)

sweet pork5 pounds pork tenderloin or shoulder roast
1 cup salsa
2 cups brown sugar
1-2 cans Dr. Pepper

Combine the salsa, brown sugar and Dr. Pepper in a bowl. Put pork in crock pot and pour liquid over top. Set crock pot to high and cook for 8 hours. When cooked, remove pork from crock pot, put in large bowl and use forks to shred the meat. Put meat back into crock pot and cook for another hour.

shredded chicken
5 lbs chicken breast- boneless skinless
1 small bottle zesty italian dressing
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tpsp cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 cups water

Mix all ingredients together in a large crock pot.
Cook on high for 5-7 hours. Remove chicken and shred with fork. Return meat to crock pot and heat through. Keep warm.

creamy tomatillo ranch dressing1 tomatillo (canned or fresh)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup mayo
1 envelope buttermilk ranch dressing mix (Hidden Valley)
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons sugar
½ fresh jalepeno, deseeded, to taste

Combine all ingredients in blender and combine till thick and creamy. Refrigerate for an hour or so to let flavors meld. Dressing can be saved in airtight container for about 3-4 days in refrigerator.

green chile lime rice2 Tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 2/3 cups water
8 teaspoons chicken bullion
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
2 small cans diced green chilies
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon lime zest (optional)
3 cups rice
Saute onion and garlic in butter in a saute pan. In a saucepan, bring water, chicken boullion, cilantro, cumin, chiles, lime juice, salt and lime zest to a boil. Add onion and garlic to boiling water. Add 3 cups long grain rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

pico de gallo4 fresh large tomatoes, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine ingredients together in a medium bowl.

  • Layer Salads like this:
    Warm Tortilla (I like to buy uncooked tortillas from Costco's refrigerated case and cook them fresh, or use fresh homemade tortillas)
    Green Chili Lime Rice
    Warmed Pinto or black beans (your preference)
    Sweet Pork or Shredded Chicken (your preference)
    Romaine lettuce, chopped
    Spoonful Pico de Gallo
    Spoonful chunky guacamole
    Spoonful sour cream
    Fried corn tortilla strips (deep fry 1/8” corn tortillas strips in oil)
    Sprinkle of grated cotija cheese
    Sprig cilantro
    Tomatillo ranch dressing, served on the side


  1. I found your blog off of who knows where but I'm so glad I did! Delish, delish....can't wait to make some of these fabulous looking recipes!!

  2. All i can say is YUM. I've missed cafe rio since i've been home!

  3. I love Cafe Rio too and have learned to recreate as well. YUMMMMMMY!!

  4. i'm in heaven!!! tried all the recipes except the pork, but don't worry i will be making that one very soon! you were right,i think the sugar made all the difference in the dressing! now i'm going to put the kids to bed and indulge in some cookie dough ice cream!

  5. This recipe was so good! The meat is like candy!




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