Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Costa Vida/Cafe Rio Salad-Debbie Style

My friend, from back in the day when Andrew was going to school and we lived in Student Housing, contributed this recipe to our ward cookbook. This meat is so super scrummy. I thought it would be perfect for Cafe Rio salad. I prefer the beef to the sweet pork (that pork is just WAY to sugary for me) when I get a salad from Cafe Rio or Costa Vida. The dressings I found online and modified to suit our tastes. Kelsey who usually prefers the creamy tomatillo ranch was hogging the cilantro lime I made for myself. So without further Ado...

Crock pot Mexican Style Meat
by Tiffany Pickett

4 pounds chuck roast or pork roast or chicken breast
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 1/4 c. green chili, diced (I used diced canned green chilies)
2 tsp. chili powder
1/3 c. hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
water as needed

1. Trim the roast of any obvious excess fat (use your kitchen shears) and season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high hear, then sear meat on all sides.
2. Transfer the roast to a crock pot (spray with no-stick cooking spray first). Add onion, chili peppers, chili powder, hot pepper sauce, and garlic powder. Add about 2 inches water.
3. Cover crock pot and cook on high setting for 6 hours, checking to make sure there is always a small amount of liquid at the bottom.
4. Reduce heat to low setting for 2-4 hours, or until meat is totally tender and falls apart.
5. Shred meat with 2 forks ( I prefer to put it in my kitchen aid mixer, wait 10 minutes, and "mix" in with my flat batter blade. It shreds the meat quite nicely, or you can use a hand mixer as well). Use in burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas, etc. It freezes beautifully!
**This recipe is for a fairly mild meat. For more spice, add up to 3/4 cup hot pepper sauce and decrease chili powder to 1 tsp and add 1 tsp. cayenne pepper.

Here are my versions of dressings

Creamy Tomatillo

1 packet (1 0z.) ranch dressing mix
1 c. mayo
1/2 c. milk
1 lime, juiced
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro, washed
1/4 c. cotija cheese, crumbled (find in the ethnic section)
1/4 c. green salsa *
hot sauce
Mix all ingredients in a food processor except hot sauce. Add hot sauce to taste. This tastes best if refrigerated overnight.
Bet you're wondering where the tomatillos are? The main ingredient in green salsa is tomatillos, just saved you 20 minutes at least :)

* A note about green salsa:
The first one or two ingredients in green salsa is tomatillos. There are several brands of green salsa and they all have varying degrees of heat. Hernandez is quite popular, but I find it to be quite spicy. I've found LaCostena brand to be quite pleasant. Start off with the 1/4 cup and add more if you feel you need it. You can skip the hot sauce altogether too if you prefer.

REVISED Creamy Tomatillo
okay, this our even faster better tasting version

2 soup spoon sized scoops of sour cream (about 1/2 cup)
2 soup spoon sized scoops of mayonnaise (about 1/2 cup)
1/2-3/4 cup ranch dressing from a bottle (we used Kraft)
2- 4 Tablespoons green salsa (LaCostena) (2 was spicy enough for us)
1 lime zested and juiced
1 bunch cilantro washed and bottom trimmed
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Mix all ingredients in a cuisanart. This is great because it chops up the cilantro so you don't have to dink around with a knife and cutting board. Make in the morning or the night before. It needs a LEAST 8 hours for the flavors to meld.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

1/2 cup canola oil
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup limeade concentrate, thawed
1/2 c. cotija cheese, crumbled
1 bunch cilantro, washed

Mix all ingredients in a food processor. Adjust to taste if needed (may need more sugar or lime juice). Once again this tastes best after sitting overnight.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

1 cup uncooked white rice
1 teaspoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lime peel (zest)
1 can (15 ounces) chicken broth
¼ cup water
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
3 Tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, lime zest, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and SIMMER 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, sugar, and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice, stir. Serve warm.


Warm flour tortillas

Canned pinto or black beans (or both) drained, rinsed and heated

About 4 heads chopped,washed, and spun (in a salad spinner) romaine lettuce

Cotija cheese

Lime wedges

Chopped tomatoes or salsa


To assemble the salads:

In a large bowl place a warmed flour tortilla.
Add rice and beans
Top with lettuce
lightly crushed tortilla chips
cotija cheese
cilantro sprig
lime wedge
tomatoes or salsa in a scoop in the corner
guacamole in a scoop in the corner

Add your choice of dressing and ENJOY!!!

If you prefer the PORK please click here to link up to the other recipes this will take you to the salads section, please scroll down till you find it.

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