Monday, May 16, 2011

Craving Cafe Rio

For Sunday dinner we usually have company so I always try to make something good.
I invite some cousins over, and my little brother and his wife.
I've been craving Cafe Rio lately and so I looked up some copycat recipes.
This is what we put together:
Cafe Rio Inspired Pork Salad from Favorite Family Recipes: 
2 pounds pork (we like to use boneless pork ribs)
3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can diced green chilies
3/4 (1ooz) can red enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso brand, medium spiciness)
1 c. brown sugar

Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.

Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry). Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.

In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.

Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours. That's it!
1 c. uncooked rice
1 tsp. butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

Since I lived in Brazil for a while, I'm a little partial to Brazilian black beans.
So, this is the recipe I used and it was AMAZING:
3 (15 ounce) cans black beans
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup diced onions
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a small slowcooker and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.
I love this low-fat version of Tomatillo Ranch Dressing from Super Healthy Kids:
  • 1/2 c. light mayo
  • 1/2 c. FF sour cream
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 pkg of Ranch dressing dry mix
  • 8 oz jar of salsa verde (tomatilla salsa)
We cooked some tortillas and set everything out on the table and let everyone make their own.  It actually wasn't that much work because you start the beans and pork in the morning and don't have to worry about it for 8 hours :)  Everything else is easy.  The biggest downfall is the mess.  I used 2 crockpots and a thousand dishes.  I think it was worth it though because everyone loved it!
Try it out and tell me what you think...


  1. just came across your blog and you are probably my favorite person...ever. cafe rio is seriously killing my budget because we eat there so much, so this is awesome. :)

  2. this makes me so happy. I love that place! I will be using this, thank you!