Thursday, July 15, 2010

Updated and Outdated But Still Delicious! CAFE RIO RECIPES

For those of you living within driving distance of Cafe Rio this will be a boring post. BUT, for the rest of us who crave Cafe Rio and want to enjoy the great food, I have included all recipes needed to make your favorite Cafe Rio food. I am getting hungry just thinking about it. ENJOY!

Try it out for yourself and you will see! It really is easier than it looks. It only took me about an hour to make (after the pork was in the crock pot). The rice and beans are SUPER easy, and you definitely want the beans and rice to get the whole experience! Also, be generous with the cilantro! Try it and let me know what you think! I KNOW you won't be disappointed!!

What will you need?

6 large flour tortillas

Shredded cheese--Mexican blend

Cafe Rio Rice

Cafe Rio Black Beans

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

Lettuce (NOT iceberg, use leafy green or Romaine)* very important

Diced tomatoes


Cilantro (pico de gallo)


Sour cream

Tortilla Strips

Cotija cheese, crumbled (or you can use Parmesan)

Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch OR ***NEW*** Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Here is how to put it all together:

First of all, buy the aluminum deep-dish pans (they had these at the grocery store, you will know when you see them.. they look JUST like the Cafe Rio tins). Lay a tortilla in the bottom of the pan, sprinkle cheese on it, and put in the oven at 375 for about 5 min or until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven.

Next, add beans, rice, pork, then lettuce and a little scoop of diced tomatoes and onions (pico de gallo). Add guacamole (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) and sour cream. Add crushed tortilla chips, a shake of Parmesan cheese, and top with a few cilantro leaves. Serve with the cilantro ranch or vinaigrette dressing and there you have it! (makes about 6 salads)

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 sliced green chilies

3/4 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.

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/3 c. tomato juice

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. (**NOTE** we added a can of corn, drained, to the beans with a dash of cumin and chili powder, it was AWESOME! We recommend doing this even though it's not "traditional Cafe Rio")

1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)

1 c. mayonnaise

1 c. buttermilk

2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced

1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro

1 clove garlic

juice of 1 lime

1 jalapeno (we like it SPICY so we kept the seeds in it, if you like it mild, just remove the seeds)Mix all ingredients together in the blender. That's it!

Homemade Flour Tortillas
They are also great for soft tacos. You are going to need a fairly large griddle or pan if you are going to make the huge tortillas for a salad or burrito. These tortillas taste amazing.

3 c. flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 c. shortening

3/4 c. very hot water

In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Cut in the shortening with your fingers or pastry cutter until the flour is crumbly. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in bowl, cover with a slightly damp dishtowel and let sit for an hour. Divide the dough into 5-6 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball (if you are making soft taco sized tortillas, divide it into 10-12 pieces).Preheat a large skillet or pan to medium-high heat. Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a thin, round tortilla (if you want it perfectly round, get a large round plate or serving platter, flip it upside down over the dough and cut out the circle). Place into the hot skillet, and cook until bubbly, golden, and no appearance of doughy-ness, about 1 minute (DON'T OVERCOOK.. remember these are supposed to be soft flour tortillas, you don't want them to be crispy); flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side. Place the cooked tortilla in a tortilla warmer or on a large plate, covering with a slightly damp towel. Repeat with remaining dough.

The BEST Guacamole EVER
In my opinion, the best guacamole is FRESH guacamole with as many ingredients from the garden as possible. Almost all the ingredients are FRESH and we added a few shakes of green Tabasco sauce.

3 avocados

Red onion, chopped (about 1/4 c.)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

1 jalapeno, finely chopped (or to taste)

1 large ripe garden tomato (or 2 smaller tomatoes), diced

juice of 1 lime

4-5 shakes green Tabasco sauce

Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Pit avocados and mash in a bowl. If you like your guac kind of chunky (that's how we like it), coarsely chop with the side of a fork instead of using the fork to mash it straight down. Carefully stir in remaining ingredients until well mixed. That's it!

Homemade Tortilla Strips
These are perfect for Our Version of Cafe Rio Salads (or any salad for that matter. They are so easy and cheap to make. If you buy these at the store, they are like $4! What a rip-off! These taste a lot better than the store ones too. I promise it is worth making your own!

10-12 corn tortillas

oil for frying

Kosher salt

Cut tortillas into strips using a pizza cutter. You can cut 2-3 at a time pretty easily. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Place strips into hot oil and fry until they become crispy. When nice and crispy, remove from oil and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt after each batch

Cafe Rio's Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
All of you Cafe Rio lovers, get excited! You will be so surprised how right, smack on this is!

2 tamatillos

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp. diced jalapeno (canned) --you can use less if you don't like it spicy at all. I like a little kick.

Juice of 2 limes

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 c. balsamic vinaigrette (we used Kraft)

In a food processor or blender, combine tamatillos, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, and sugar. After it is all blended up well combine with balsamic vinaigrette in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).

There you have it! All the great Cafe Rio recipes in one spot. There is still nothing better than going to the restaurant, but until there is one in Kearney, NE, I guess having these recipes will just have to do!

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