Since moving to a new state, we’ve been lucky enough to live quite close to one of my husbands favorite eating places. Actually lucky for him, not so lucky for me…
If you’ve ever been to Cafe Rio, you know that they make these fresh, soft, carb-licious tortillas. Their sweet pork is like a dessert, and that freaking dressing…
Holy heck. I could drink, bathe, and wash my hair with that dressing.
I say it’s not lucky for me because as a person who tries hard to eat healthy and natural foods often, the second we get to Cafe Rio all I want to do is order 5 tortillas and a grande dressing and go to down. It’s dangerous.
So when I looked up the copycat recipes on line, I found that my husbands favorite sweet pork was made with well…A lot of sugar. DUH. Lots of soda, and lots of brown sugar. My husbands dream. A healthy wife’s worst night mare. As for the dressing, I figured it was mayo based and I was right!
Did I mention it’s really delicious?
Now…I’m not saying it’s wrong to eat the real thing, or make it at home the way it was intended to be made. I’ve definitely drank that green sauce more than I would like to mention…
This was more like a challenge I wanted to give myself, to see if I could do it. To see if a recipe really needed soda and mayo, and how I could possibly replace them.
Let me put it this way:
My husband thanked me for PICKING up his favorite meal for dinner.
Homemade Cafe Rio Sweet Chicken
* Cafe Rio is famous for their Sweet Pork, not Sweet Chicken. But since I’m not a pork eater, I figured swapping it with chicken could and would totally work!
2 lb. cooked chicken*-shredded
1/4 c. sparkling water
1 c. maple, coconut, or date sugar-you could probably get away with 1/2 c.
12 oz. green chilies
salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste
*The best way I have learned to cook my chicken is to liberally salt and pepper the chicken, then generally coat it with coconut oil. Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until done. You could also easily sub beans for chicken, and create a baked beans type of dish, which would work well with the dish too!
1. Prepare and cook your chicken. While it’s cooking, make the homemade enchilada sauce.
2. The enchilada sauce will make about 3 c. of liquid. In a crockpot, add 1 1/2 c. of prepared enchilada sauce. Then save the extra sauce to top on burritos or to make enchiladas with the leftovers.
3. Along with the 1 1/2 c. of enchilada sauce, add the sparkling water, green chilies, and sugar. Add the cooked shredded chicken and warm the chicken with the sauce for about 30-60 minutes. (I used the warm setting, but you could also use low/med heat. Just make sure not to overcook it.) Season with spices to desired taste.
Homemade Cafe Rio Creamy Cilantro Dressing
*Originally this recipe calls for 1 cup of mayo and a prepared ranch packed.
1/2 c. non dairy milk mixed with 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar-OR-1/2 c. greek yogurt (Yogurt might add a more sour taste though)
1/2 c. plain hummus (I used Sabre brand)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 jalepeno, seeds removed (optional)
juice and zest of 1 lime
2 TB. dried parsly
1 tsp. dried dill
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion flakes
1 tsp. dried chives
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. pepper
1. Blend all together, then let sit in the fridge until ready to serve!
Now, the way to layer a Cafe Rio salads is like so:
-Large Whole Wheat Tortilla
-Cilantro Rice (Brown)
Oh..And that dang good dressing
OR, if you are a into the wet burritos, make yourself a burrito with all the fixings, top with the extra enchilada sauce and some cheese and melt in the double broiler for a few minutes. Top with the Cilantro dressing, and dig in!
And if your wondering how to get your child to eat their very first salad ever….
It’s all about the dressing my friends….It’s liquid gold.