Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken

I love Cafe Rio. When I was still working, I ate there at least once a week. Now that I'm home with the kiddo I don't go quite as often, but it's still one of my favorite restaurants in town. If my husband liked it I'd eat there a lot more! I've actually never had the shredded chicken at Cafe Rio. I had the pork the first time I went and I've been hooked ever since, although I do branch out for shrimp or mahi mahi when they're the special. The point is, I don't really know if this tastes like Cafe Rio's shredded chicken, but it's delicious and easy so I don't really care.

The recipe calls for chicken breasts, which I used last time I made it, but today I had boneless skinless chicken thighs that I needed to cook. They both work great! Use whatever you prefer or whatever is on sale. The great thing about this recipe is it freezes really well, so if you're feeling a little ambitious double the recipe to use 4-5 lbs. of chicken and freeze the leftovers. I like to freeze it in 2-cup portions so I can just thaw what I need. It's awesome in tacos (as you can see in the picture), quesadillas, burritos, and even in Hawaiian haystacks. It isn't really spicy, it just has great flavor, so I'm pretty sure you could use it in almost any recipe that calls for cooked chicken.

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken

from Real Mom Kitchen

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1/2 c. zesty Italian salad dressing
1/2 Tbs. minced garlic
1 (1 oz.) packet ranch dressing mix (3 Tbs. if you buy it in the big container)
1/4 c. water
1/2 Tbs. chili powder
1/2 Tbs. ground cumin

Place chicken in slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over chicken. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 8 hours (mine was done after 7 hours on low). Shred chicken and return to slow cooker. You can remove some of the liquid if you want, but I don't see the point. Just serve it with a slotted spoon. That way the chicken stays moist and juicy. Serve as desired!

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