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Recently returned from serving the people of Honduras for 3 years

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cafe Rio Salads

If you live in Utah or have visited Utah in the past five years, and have been outside the house; you have probably been the beneficiary of Steve & Tricia Stanley, who started the first Cafe Rio restaurant in 1997 in St. George, Utah. (Really!? In St. George, who would have guessed?) (Also, their website is really fun to visit if you get a chance, and has all kinds of really fun and interesting information)

And they are certainly still a HUGE hit today here in Utah and their copy cat recipes are becoming famous across the world. Over the years I've received many recipes that seem to approximate the REAL thing at our local CAFE RIO restaurants. But just recently I discovered a cooking blog who has THE BEST Cafe Rio recipes of all, that I've been able to try. In fact, take a minute right now to go on over to Favorite Family Recipes and see all their yummy offerings.

My family has gathered together a couple times in the last couple months and assembled these DELICIOUS salads using these recipes. With a little searching and preparation of ingredients, one can make a REALLY close approximation to the real thing.

They were voted by my extended family the number one requested item for our get together this week to celebrate Mother's Day. Yum! Can you smell the fresh cilantro? Or maybe it's those delicious fresh limes, hmmmm . . . it's making me hungry again just posting these photos.

Our assignment was to bring the creamy cilantro salad dressing (which seriously is to die for if you haven't ever tried it!) and also the cilantro lime rice. The ingredients for the dressing are pretty easy and you should probably have most of them on hand.

One tip on the dressing; if you don't want to mess with the fresh tomatillos, buy Salsa Verde which is made from tomatillos and substitute 6 heaping tablespoons for the fresh tomatillos and the jalapenos.

We always use brown rice to make the Cilantro Lime Rice. Don't think you an take a shortcut and skip making the rice - it's super easy and is DELICIOUS! You just add a little freshly squeezed lime, a bit of sugar and just chopped cilantro (smells so good!) It totally makes the rice!

Here we are finishing up the final ingredients and assembling the masterpieces.

Ahhh! Dig in - they're the best!

Hints & Tips: be sure to buy the cute little foil pans to assemble and serve the salads in. We have tried the tortillas you cook yourself from Costco, and also the regular already cooked tortillas. Both are great, just brown in a frying pan with a little Olive oil Pam and a sprinkle of grated cheddar/Monterrey jack cheese on top. Then place in the foil pans while hot and toasty. Also, you can buy the traditional Cafe Rio mini tortilla strips and are so popular at Smith's in the produce section with the croutons. Or check any large well stocked grocery and hope you can find them because they really add a lot also.

I just had to include one more photo - aren't they so cute! Some day I'm going to blog about all our wedding plans! Now that is another adventure . . .

So many great ideas HERE!
I could hang out all day


Charmaine said...

They have Cafe Rio in AZ too. But I have to admit that I prefer Costa Vida. Yumm!

Victoria said...

I'm definitely going to have to try those salads. Another friend just gave me the recipe as well. And yes, they are ADORABLE:)

Carolyn said...

Yes. I stopped. I ate the salad. It was just as I remembered.

I can smell the limey green dressing now.

Ahh Utah. I miss you every day.

Kate said...

This is crazy, I just actually went to Cafe Rio yesterday in American Fork. Yep, they are so yummy. I have never tried making them at home, but maybe I should try. Great post.

Alan said...

I've been surprised to meet so many people who don't like cilantro...they say it tastes like soap...I just don't get it.

This dressing looks delicious! I can't wait to try it.

tammy said...

We make these all the time too, and love them! Sometimes instead of the salad I roll the pork and rice in tortillas to make enchilades. So yummy. My hubby is one of the ones that doesn't like cilantro though, so I have leave it out of his.

I just saw that they're putting a Costa Vida right by my house. I'm excited! Even though they're a copycat, I love them just as much.

newlyweds said...

Oh I bet that is delicious. Thanks for sharing.

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