Sunday, June 9, 2013

Taking on Cafe Rio (my light version)

My husband can vouch for me, I crave Cafe Rio on at least a weekly basis.  But if any of you have ever looked up the caloric values of Cafe Rio dishes you know that the good taste comes at a hefty price (yes, even the salad!).  So in an effort to save some calories, and some cash, I've tried and personalized some of the copycat recipes I've found on Pinterest.  Here's where I got the recipe for the cilantro lime ranch dressing, and here's where I got the recipe for the beans and rice (totally worth the extra effort).

I started out making just the dressing and putting it over some spring mix salad with Jack Daniel's pulled pork (from Sam's Club) and some fresh Parmesan grated on top, sprinkled with sliced almonds.  This worked out to be just under 200 calories!  Awesome lunch!
Last night I made the beans and rice to accompany the dressing and pulled pork in a burrito.  Not exactly like Cafe Rio but still really good.  Just some things I did differently...
Rice: instead of using lime I used about 2-3 tablespoons of the cilantro lime dressing (we didn't have any more limes).
Black Beans: I doubled the cumin and used tomato sauce instead of tomato juice (again, we didn't have juice and I really don't mind improvising a little, plus it made the burrito not as runny).
With the tortilla, beans, rice, meat, dressing, cheese, and about a tablespoon of diced green chilis (yum!) it came out to roughly 350 calories.  Gimme a 'what what!'  Does it taste exactly  like Cafe  Is it a low calorie substitute that captures the complex sweet and savory depths of Cafe Rio!?  YES!  Don't take my word for it, try it for yourself.  Let me know how it turns out!

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