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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

recipe of the week: cafe rio-style salads

sorry this took so long! we were trying to get moved into our new with no more adieu... cafe rio-style salads!

as i mentioned in my last post, salad is my favorite lunch meal ever. why? you can get all of the food groups in one meal and it tastes soooo good! for those of you who have never eaten at cafe rio in utah, i'm so sorry for you because their salads are fabulous. since i can't eat there every day, i make myself a cafe rio-style salad at home for lunch... every day (that is really true some weeks!).

enjoy and add your own flair to your salad with whatever you have in your kitchen. thanks for your patience with my terrible food photography while i'm learning. :)

cafe rio-style salads

1 1/3 cup fat free sour cream
3/4 cup low fat mayo
1 bunch cilantro
1 package ranch dressing mix
4 tablespoons salsa verde (i like herdez from wal-mart - it's yummy and cheap!)
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon tabasco sauce
juice of 1 lime

blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.

cook 1 cup white rice in 2 cups chicken broth as you normally would.

when its done add 1/4 cup green enchilada sauce and any extra cilantro you have.

1 can black beans
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
dash of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin

simmer onions and garlic in a tiny bit of olive oil until tender. add the rest of ingredients and cook until beans are hot.

cut a chicken breast through the middle to have 2 semetrical breasts. see picture below.

pan-cook in a little bit of oil, lime juice and salsa verde and sprinkle with garlic salt, cumin and black pepper. cut into thin slices.

putting it all together:
  1. heat a tortilla in a pan until barely crisp on both sides. sprinkle with a little bit of cheese.
  2. put rice, black beans and chicken on top of tortilla.
  3. top with chopped romaine lettuce (no iceberg - it has NO redeeming nutritional value!), fresh salsa (chopped tomatoes and lime juice will suffice if your budget has no room for fresh salsa) and your homemade dressing.
all i can say is yummy!! i really can't get enough of these salads!

here's my silly husband in action... getting a salad ready for the camera. haha.

challenge: have extra ingredients from this recipe (like enchilada sauce, maybe)? visit the ingredient search at and put your extras to good use!

also coming soon, learn about why ground turkey is totally skinny bovine-worthy. (and go buy some at macey's in provo - see sale alert!!! on side bar for details.)

i found the imitation cafe rio dressing online forever ago, but have never been able to find it again! it's somewhere out there in cyberspace without my modifications. :)


Super Angie said...

Yummy!!! This looks great. Steve and I love cilantro!

kathywim said...

What's really cool about this recipe (Britt fixed it for my lunch frequently this summer) is that you can make enough of the rice, beans and dressing and have lunches and/or dinner for weeks. Well maybe not that long, but once the major ingredients are done, you can throw it together really fast! OHHHHH I miss my cook!

BrittWilk said...

hey angie! i love cilantro too. by the way, your food photography is awesome on your site. any tips? i'm terrible!

and my mom is totally right. i ate a salad for lunch that was twice as big as the one i ate last night and i still have stuff for the next few days' lunches! and it took me 5 minutes to make. mmmm....

Super Angie said...

Britt, I have an idea for your food blog. E-mail me at angelabalston[at]

About the pictures...use the manual setting on your camera. High aperture and no flash! I shoot almost all of my food pictures at f1.4 with a shutter speed of at least 30.

The Foote Family said...

Ok--I really love Cafe Rio and your version is really good too, especially the salad dressing. Tyler says he likes your salad dressing even more than the original. It is definitely the closest I've tried. Thanks!

Cyndie said...

made it and it was a success. thanks!

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!