Tag Archives: Cafe RIo Pork Salad

New Direction And 4 New Recipes

So if you subscribe to my 365 Clever Cookbooks blog you may be wondering why no new posts. Well, let me tell you, life got in the way. Simply stated my life in the last three weeks involved 2 great vacations and not a lot of time to cook home cooked meals. But isn’t that the problem with all of us…..too much to do and not enough time. Normally I would just suck it up and get it done however I had a second problem. The second problem was it just wasn’t fun for me anymore. The blogging every day of new recipes, the trek to the library, the cooking because I felt I “had to” just got to be too overwhelming. So I took a break, told my children, announced it on facebook and listened to everyone’s reactions. The most important reaction was from my children, they were disappointed. My youngest and middle, who are the fussy eaters wanted me to keep going. I said, “but you never ate what I cooked”. The response was simple and profound, “but we liked you making it and trying just a bite to see if we liked it”. Wow….blow me over with a feather. I did not expect that at all!

So I have had a week to regroup and this is what I came up with. I will cook like I have always done and just post my recipes. Sometimes you will get photos, sometimes you will not. But the important thing is, I will post recipes that our family loves. What I would love from you is to help me along the way. Do you have some recipes that your family goes ape wild over, if so be a guest blogger for me. Write a blog post and I will post it to share with all my friends. Because lets face it, we all need help in figuring out what is for dinner!

So back to the basics; I am a creature of habit and they way I search for recipes is simple, online. That is the source that I will go back to. It is part of my mission of getting less dependent on recipes found in books and on cards and ones found on-line. I love to search my favorite sites for new and inspiring recipes. So back to my habits of finding a good one online and less on the trek to the library….where frankly I was going to run out of cookbooks!

Here is what I made this weekend with the complete recipes for the ones out of my recipe book and the links from the ones that I found on the internet:

Cafe Rio Pork Salad (my adaptation as I have made it much simpler than the version I had found online)

Cafe Rio Pork Ingredients:

  •  pork roast, one that is great for shredding
  • 1 cup of chunky salsa
  • 1 can coke
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar


  1. Place pork in crock-pot. Mix together ingredients, salsa, coke, brown sugar and put on top of pork. Cook for 6 hours on low. Shred pork with forks, taking out the fat. Leave it on low until ready to serve.

 Creamy Tomatillo Dressing Ingredients:

  •  1 packet hidden valley ranch buttermilk dressing
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 3/4 c. of light sour cream
  • 3/4 cup  tomatillo salsa
  • ¾ bunch fresh cilantro
  • juice from 1 lime (about 2 tsp.)


  1. Blend all ingredients in the blender. Refrigerate.


 There are two options for this, either serve it as a salad or eat it as a taco. I eat it as a salad and my younger two boys eat it as a taco. For the salad I add whatever fresh vegetables I have around the house such as tomatoes, peppers,cucumbers and avocado. I don’t even add cheese as I think the salad has enough flavor and you really don’t miss having the cheese. For some who are making the tacos, they may like cheese.

 Lemon Thyme Bars


  • Butter, for greasing dish
  • Flour, for dusting dish

Bar Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (I have lemon thyme that I grow every year just for these bars)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar


  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl combine flour, thyme and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together 1 stick of butter and powdered sugar on high-speed until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Using damp fingers, press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes until golden. Cool for 30 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice and powdered sugar together until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cooled crust. Allow the glaze to harden, at room temperature, for at least 1 hour.
  4. Using a metal spatula, remove the crust from the pan. Cut into 1 1/2-inch square bars and arrange on a serving platter or store airtight in a plastic container at room temperature.

The Pioneer Woman Taco Pizza

The Pioneer Woman Red Velvet Cake with The Best Frosting Ever


To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

 MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/.

  • Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/ to learn about how Melissa can help you! 
  • Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.
  • MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click here to find out the latest offerings!
  • For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.



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Filed under Main Dishes, Salads, Sweets