August 28, 2012

Homemade Cafe Rio Salad

This is one of the most flavorful and filling salads I have ever eaten! It helps break up the week with something cool and fresh. 

Makes plenty for 4 large salads


CHICKEN: (needs to marinade for 24 hours)
2 lbs chicken breast (I used 8 frozen chicken tenders)
1 pkg of McCormick Baja Citrus Marinade
1/4 cup oil
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp vinegar (white or apple cider)

DRESSING: (best if made 24 hours in advance)
1 1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 package of buttermilk ranch dressing mix
2 bunches of cilantro, washed and dried, save a handful for the top of your salad
1 Serrano pepper, seeded and ribbed - for more heat keep the seeds in the pepper. 
2 tomatillos
1 tbsp minced garlic or 1 fresh clove
juice of 1 lime

4 tortillas (uncooked or cooked) 
1 head of lettuce
2 - 3 heads of romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 can black beans
1-2 lime, depending on your tastes
Tortilla chips 
left over cilantro for garnish


Follow directions on the package of marinade and let sit the refrigerator over night. To cook the chicken oil the grates on your grill. Grill the chicken until fully cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes under aluminum foil and then cut to desired size.

Prepare all of your ingredients, washing, drying, seeding (if you like). Toss all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until everything is well combined. Store in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors combine. 

To prepare: Shred cheese, quarter limes, wash and dry lettuce and chop into bite size pieces.

If using uncooked tortillas cook tortillas in an dry pan. If using precooked tortillas toast in a hot pan with a small amount of oil.

Drain the black beans and warm them in the microwave.

Now the fun part! Lay tortilla in a bowl/plate, spoon desired amount of black beans and chicken into the tortilla. Next, fill your tortilla with lettuce and add your desired amount of cheese. Crumble a few tortilla chips over top of the lettuce and add dressing. Eat immediately! You won't be sorry!

NOTES: If your dressing turns out too runny consider adding a small amount of plain gelatin to the dressing and allow to set up. I didn't have this problem. 

If you are a fan of rice in your Cafe Rio salad I have a quick and easy "Mexican" rice that I frequently make for burritos.

Mexican Rice
1 cup uncooked white minute rice
1 cup water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Bring water to a boil and add bouillon cubes, stir until dissolved and add rice. Cover pot and remove from heat. Let cook for 5 minutes. When rice is finished fluff rice with a fork. Add cumin and cilantro to the rice. Voila!

Rice Recipe: The Gregarious Glutton
Salad Recipe: From my Step-mom Sherry