October 02, 2008

A Taste of Home

Occassionally KC and I found ourselves saying things like, "Do you know what would be so good right now? Training Table." And sometimes Training Table is replaced by Sconecutter, Italian Village, La Cocina, Wingers, Arctic Circle, Little Caesars, or Lettuce and Laddles. But for KC I think this sentence has ended mostly in the words Cafe Rio. We haven't eaten out much here, for moneys sake and our figures sake, but for the most part it is because restaurants here just don't compare to those back at home. So poor KC has gone through alot these past few months, while I have experimented with different recipes and such to try and make eating at home fun, while being cheap. But it finally paid of for him one night when I decided to google "Cafe Rio Pork Salad" and actually found a recipe that sounded like it would work.

The next day I went to the grocery store, picked up all the items and went home to cook. This was definitely my most time consumming meal to make so far, but it still took me under an hour in the kitchen. And it made for a happy husband. Since then he hasn't finished the sentence with Cafe Rio, instead it is back to Training Table. And I already know that I just can't make cheese fries like them...sorry babe.

I am not a gourmet food photographer, but here is a shot of how close our recipe looked to the real salad.

It was even mostly gone by the time we took this photo. The nice thing about homemade cafe rio is that I didn't get the same "allergy effects" as when I ate it at the restaurant. So I had that wonderful taste for the first time in at least over a year.

Here is the recipe, I can't find the link of the blog I found it on. It isn't a perfect replica, but it is dang close. It is just a bit more spicy.

Cafe Rio Pork Salad

The Pork
1 lb. pork tenderloin (I used a different cut of pork and it worked. The tenderloin looked nasty to me)
2-15oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 can of coke
1 garlic clove, diced
1/4 c. cilantro, minced
Crock pot for 4 hours.

The Rice
(warning: this made SO much rice. I would cut it in half for a family of like 6. Next time I make it I am going to cut it into a fourth of the recipe. Seriously it made a ton of rice. And you don't even put that much in the salad.)
8 c. water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
2 tsp. cumin
4 cloves garlic
12 Tbsp. butter (makes for the most fattening salad)
4 c. rice
12 Sprigs Cilantro

Throw in a large pot and cook like you would for regular rice.

The Creamy Tomatillo Dressing (So right on)
1 pkt. Hidden Valley Ranch mix
8 oz. Salsa Verde Green Salsa (La Victoria Brand)
1/2 bunch of cilantro w/stems
2 cloves garlic
3/4 c. mayo
3/4 c. sour cream
1/8 tsp. hot sauce

Mix in blender, if needed thin with buttermilk.

Then what KC and I did was we put some shredded cheese on a flour tortilla and put it in the toaster oven for a minute. Then we shoved that in a bowl put our rice in, heated up a can of pinto/black bean, threw that in. Then put in the pork and lettuce. And I put some diced tomatoes in. Next time I am going to add a lime and guac. Toss with the dressing and viola!

Oh and I am looking for more recipes. If you have any tried and true recipes that you or your family loves, send them over.


  1. That looks yummy! I actually have some pork in the fridge waiting for me to cook up. I think I'll try this tonight!

  2. ..oh good, you won't be disappointed. It is yummy.