Friday, March 16, 2012

Mexican Chicken Salad (Cafe Rio style)

Creamy Tomatillo / Cilantro Ranch Dressing

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (or 3 Tbsp dry mix)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 to ½ cup buttermilk
3-4 tomatillos
1 cup fresh cilantro lightly chopped
½ tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic

Take the papery layer off the tomatillos, wash, and chop. Chop the garlic. Wash and cut the cilantro into 1-2” segments. Put all ingredients in the blender and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate. Best made the day before. Keeps covered for several days. Makes 2 cups.

Cafe Rio Chicken

1 small bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
3 garlic cloves- minced
5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

Cook all together in a crock pot for 4 hours, shred meat and cook 1 additional hour.

Cafe Rio Rice

3 c water
4 t. chicken bouillon
4 t. garlic- minced
1 can green chilies or equivalent fresh
3/4 t. salt
1 T. butter
1/2 onion, diced
3 c rice

Blend cilantro, green chilies and onion together in food processor. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered 30 minutes.

Pico de Gallo- diced roma tomatoes, white onion-diced, jalapeno- diced, cilantro. Add a little sea salt and fresh squeezed lime.

Other ingredients to put in the salad:
Canned black beans
shredded cheese
tortilla chips
sour cream

Putting the salad together in this order:
rice & black beans
pico de gallo
shredded cheddar cheese
crushed tortilla chips
tomatillo dressing
sour cream

*5 lbs of chicken is a lot, so you might want to half the recipe if you're not feeding a crowd. Or make the whole recipe and freeze 1/2 the chicken for the next time you make it.

* I wasn't crazy about the rice. I used brown rice instead of white and there just wasn't enough liquid. I'm working on getting a cilantro lime rice recipe.

* I bought pico de gallo instead of making it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Makes about 4-5 dozen

1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups smooth or chunky peanut butter
1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ tablespoons milk
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips (or a combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the butter and peanut butter and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy (you can do this with a hand mixer or with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). Add the brown and white sugars and mix until well combined. Add the eggs and mix for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is well combined and light in color. Add the milk and vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix just briefly. While there are still large spots of flour, add the chocolate chips (or peanut butter chips or both) and mix until the flour is completely mixed in and the mixture is well combined. Let the cookie dough sit for 15 minutes before scooping onto the baking sheets. It will firm up as it sits.

When ready to bake, scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto silpat or parchment-lined baking sheets leaving about 1 to 2 inches in between the cookies to allow for spreading as they bake. Bake for 10-11 minutes, taking care not to overbake in the slightest! Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes after baking before removing them to a cooling rack. This will help them set up and be firm enough to transfer without having them overbake in the oven. The cookies may look slightly underbaked but they will firm up as they cool. Resist the urge to eat them warm as they taste much better cooled.