Shelli's one of my tougher critics when I make food, so it was nice to have her help tonight as I cooked one of her favorites. (It's always nice to have extra hands in the kitchen, but with this dinner especially.) I hope she doesn't mind that I'm writing the recipe as we made it, and not exactly as she gave it to me.
Tortillas (we used about 6 uncooked tortillas and fried them ourselves)
Cafe Rio Rice (below)
Refried Black Beans (the recipe I made earlier this week, also on Melissa's blog)
Cafe Rio Sweet Pork (below)
Lettuce (NOT iceberg, use leafy green or Romaine)
Pico de gallo (below)
Guacamole (Melissa's recipe, which I was going to make last night, but will save to have this weekend, too. I'll post it then.)
Sour cream (whoops! I forgot this)
Tortilla Strips (can be found by the produce section at Smith's)
Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch (below)
Using the deep-dish aluminum pans (you can buy them at the grocery store--they look just like Cafe Rio pans; I just used regular disposable cake pans that I had already), place a tortilla in each pan, sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and add rice, pork, beans, lettuce, Pico De Gallo, sour cream, guacamole, tortilla strips and top with cilantro dressing (garnish with a few cilantro leaves if desired).
Sweet Pork2 pounds pork
1 can Coke (NOT diet-I used one of those little 8 oz cans and it was perfect)
1 can sliced green chilies
3/4 can RED enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso brand, medium spiciness)
1 c. brown sugar
Put pork into crock pot and cook for 3-4 hours on high. I had never done this with no liquids or seasonings and I was a little nervous, so I added 1 cup water (it worked perfectly and absorbed as I shredded the pork). Shred pork.
In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2-2/3 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and 1 cup brown sugar (I actually did a little less, but add to your own taste). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.
Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours.
1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno (if you like it SPICY so keep the seeds in it, if you like it mild, just remove the seeds)
(Shelli told me that in place of a jalapeno, you can also use green Tabasco sauce.)
Mix all ingredients together in the blender.
1 c. uncooked rice
1 tsp. butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.
Pico De Gallo (Rachel's recipe, concocted tonight)
1 tomato, seeded and diced
about 2 tbsp diced onion
about 1-2 tbsp chopped cilantro
about 1 tsp lime juice
The Verdict: 4 thumbs up, 2 thumbs down. (Yeah, I know it looks like I can't count . . . I'm weighting the voting for fairness.) Oh, it was sooooo good. Yummy. The only reason I won't make this every week is because I think I spent about 4 or 5 hours in the kitchen today. There are just so many components that make this what it is, and going halfway just wouldn't do it justice. There is no part of the meal I could leave out without affecting the whole meal.
Now, to explain the weird voting. The only reason we have thumbs down is not because my children didn't like it, but because they felt like they had a choice . . . so they didn't give it a fair chance. See, their cousins were eating spaghetti in the same room, so they weren't about to let that go. We'll try it again under normal circumstances and see. I'm 99% positive we would have had one thumb medium and one thumb up instead of those thumbs down, so I counted Kaden's vote (our 8-year-old nephew). I would have counted Shelli's vote, but that seemed like a conflict of interest.