Cafe Rio Chicken

I found this recipe for Cafe Rio Chicken online recently and thought it looked delicious. I am really glad that I tried it because it tastes every bit as good as it looks (if not better!). I think that it will now be my go-to alternative to taco seasoning packets when I want to make Mexican food!

I have to confess that I had never heard of Cafe Rio before coming across this recipe. It turns out that there aren’t any in Massachusetts, which I suppose excuses my ignorance. After eating this delicious chicken, all that I know is that if I ever come across one, I will definitely have to eat there!

The recipe is easy (I got it from Chef in Training here). All that you have to do is throw the following ingredients in your crockpot and cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 8 hours: about 2 pounds of chicken breasts (although I just used one package, which was slightly less than this), 1/2 a bottle of zesty Italian salad dressing, a packet of ranch dressing mix, and 1/2 a tablespoon each of minced garlic, chili powder, and ground cumin. When it’s done, shred the chicken with two forks.

And then, voilà…you have Cafe Rio Chicken:

I turned mine into a salad with the following as toppings (avocado, onion, red pepper, tomato, and shredded cheese):

What a great salad! The blog where I found this has several other Cafe Rio recipes, which I am looking forward to trying.

Mashed Cauliflower

I recently made mashed cauliflower to go with the crock pot pepper steak that I made and it turned out really well! It tastes shockingly like mashed potatoes, making it a great low-carb alternative when you’re in the mood for some comfort food.

Making it was easy. To begin, steam some cauliflower until it breaks apart easily with a fork. I used two small bags of pre-cut cauliflower florets because I couldn’t find regular cauliflower in the store, which made this part even easier. Put the cauliflower in a food processor like this:

Then, add a generous splash of milk, a tablespoon or so of butter, a generous amount of garlic pepper, a little bit of salt, and about half a tablespoon of cream cheese (optional). Then, all that you have to do is puree all of the ingredients in the food processor until you have mashed cauliflower!

Pretty easy, right? Give it a shot sometime if you’re looking for something different. It tastes really good (even if you aren’t trying to eat fewer carbs) and has a consistency that is very similar to that of mashed potatoes (although not quite as fluffy). What a great way to sneak some extra vegetables into your diet…

Crock Pot Pepper Steak

Check out what I got for my birthday (from a loyal reader who picked up on one of my not-so-subtle hints…):

That’s right…my very own crock pot! Of course, I had to try it out immediately, so I decided to make this pepper steak recipe from MJWAGNER68 on Allrecipes.com. It turned out very well and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a slow cooker recipe.

I didn’t really stray from the recipe, other than to add a few more spices, an extra pepper, and a little more onion than it called for, so I won’t repeat it here. However, I would highly recommend not adding the peppers in until the last hour of cooking (even though the recipe says to add them in with everything else). Mine were way overcooked and I added them in half-way through!

Here’s how I made it. I followed the recipe and browned the beef in a skillet before putting it in the slow cooker. I actually cheated by buying steak that had been pre-sliced, which made this step even easier! Then I added in the other ingredients (except for the peppers). At this point, it looked like this:

I cooked it on low for a total of about 6 hours. When it was about half-way through, I added the peppers and stirred it. As noted above, I would definitely recommend not adding the peppers until the last hour or so…mine were way overcooked.

When finished, it looked like this:

What a delicious (and easy) recipe!

I served it with mashed cauliflower (recipe coming soon!) and it was really good.

Be on the lookout for more crock pot recipes in the coming months! And thank you Matthew for the birthday present :)