Cafe Rio Pork - Another Version

*FYI - These have a bit more spice/kick to them than the authentic cafe rio pork.

3-4 lb. pork roast (I used the Boston Boneless Shoulder Blade)
1 20 oz. bottle Dr. Pepper
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
7 oz. can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Place roast in crock-pot, cover half-way with water and cook on low for 8 hours.

I started mine at noon, shredded the pork and removed the fat around 8:30 p.m.

Mix remaining ingredients until sugar dissolves. I didn’t keep the actual chilies, I dumped the can into a bowl and added enough Dr. Pepper to get all the sauce off of the chilies - use all the sauce you can, but throw out the chilies. Pour the sauce over the shredded pork and stick in the fridge to marinate overnight.

In the morning, cook for 2-4 more hours on low. Serve with tacos or on salad. Great with tomatillo dressing - I'll post that recipe later.

Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies

My friend Brook gave me these cookies for Valentines - 8 of them, to be exact. Guess how many cookies the rest of my family got? ZERO. They were THAT good. Oh, and she dipped them in white chocolate with coarse sugar sprinkles. I don't own a cookie press, so I borrowed hers, and now a cookie press is on my "to get" list.

1 cup butter (softened)
3 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon lemon or almond extract (I use almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Beat butter and cream cheese well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well (I added some red food coloring to make the cookies pink). Add dough to cookie press, press on to UNGREASED cookie sheet (I'm sure if you don't own a cookie press you could put small flattened balls onto a sheet (about 1/2" thick). Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or until light brown just barely around the edges. Cool for 2 minutes on pan, and remove to cooling rack. Cool completely before dipping in chocolate, or serve just as they are!


Lettuce Wraps

I made these for my valentine this year *sigh*....they were just as good as I had hoped. Goes great with this Beef & Broccoli, if you want to go all out with the Chinese theme.

2 TBS. soy sauce
2 TBS. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 c. fried bean threads (Saifun) - you can find these in the Asian section of the grocery store (prepare these as directed and set aside - you add these when you're assembling the lettuce wrap, they're the white, crunchy topping)
3 TBS. vegetable oil
2 bnls, sknls chicken breasts
1 5 oz. can whole water chestnuts, chopped finely
2/3 c. canned straw mushrooms (also found these in Asian section of grocery store - they are the smaller mushrooms that have black tops), chopped finely
4 green onions, finely chopped from white part to middle of the green stem (where it stops being crisp)

Dipping Sauce:
1/2 c. warm water
1/4 c. white sugar
2 TBS. soy sauce
2 TBS. rice vinegar
2 TBS. catsup
1 TBS. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. sesame oil
To Spice it Up, you can optionally add:
2 tsp. (for mild spice) or more - Chinese hot mustard - about $2 in Asian section of grocery store
2 tsp. (for mild spice) or more - chili garlic sauce - also in Asian section of grocery store

1 head bibb or iceberg lettuce, (top cut off, split in half, washed and chilled)

Mix all ingredients for dipping sauce - adding the right amount of spice for your taste. Set aside in refrigerator before you start anything else.

For the filling, preheat a wok or large saute pan with 2 TBS. of vegetable oil on high heat (water flicked on the oil should pop). Add chicken breasts and cook 4-5 min. on each side, or until pink center is gone. Remove from pan to cool. Chop up the mushrooms and water chestnuts finely. Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar in a bowl. Cut up the chicken into tiny minced pieces. Add an add't TBS. veg oil, add chicken, garlic, water chestnuts and mushrooms to pan. Add brown sugar, soy and rice vinegar mixture. Serve the chicken mixture into lettuce cups. Add your desired amount of dipping sauce.

We loved these! Let me know what you think!


Betcha Wish You Were My Kid's Teacher Cookies

My sister gave me this award winning sugar cookie recipe - they're thick, soft, and turn out perfectly, and the frosting is great! This recipe is doubled so it makes a ton...

2 c. sugar
4 sticks butter (2 c.) - softened (DO NOT MELT)
4 eggs (room temp)
1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. cream of tartar
7 c. flour (plus more for rolling out)

Cream sugar and butter til fluffy. Slowly add eggs, milk and vanilla. Once incorporated, mix in baking soda, cream of tartar and flour. Chill for at least an hour. Flour the space you will roll out the dough - roll about 1/2" thick (the thicker the dough, the fluffier the cookie). Use desired shapes and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes at 325 degrees. Let cool on rack and then frost:

Mix 1 pound sifted powdered sugar with 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla. Gradually add 1/4 cup scant hot water. Add food coloring if desired.p.s. since I can't find my camera, I stole this picture from google. I promise mine look the same!



I'm starting a category of favorites (recipes already posted on this blog)...I'd love feedback on some favorites that you have tried and tried again. Check out the category on the left - Favorite.


Feta Artichoke Asiago Dip

14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 can spinach, drained well
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
3/4 cup mayo
1 2 ounce jar chiles, drained and chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder

1. Mix all the ingredients together and place into a small casserole dish.
2. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes or until lightly brown.
3. Serve with tortilla chips or toasted baguettes.