Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kitchen Copycatting

Does this picture bring joy to your heart and cause your mouth to water? Does it leave you wanting to drive to a certain local restaurant, bitter you are too far away, or thinking something along the lines of "what in the heck is she talking about?"

Anyhow what I am talking about is the iconic (Utah wise) Cafe Rio dressing. I could pretty much drink this Creamy Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing. I use it on quasadillas, tacos, burritos, salads, heck I am pretty sure it would go well on anything. In the past all of this had to be done only when I had leftovers of this stuff available. I had pondered over many an internet recipe, but many of them left me thinking that it was not worth the effort. Until I found this beauty:

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing
Recipe by

1 pack (1oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (regular or buttermilk, and ignore directions on the packet)
1C mayo
1/2 C milk (or buttermilk depending on which packet you buy)
1 lime
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 C green salsa*
hot sauce

 Place milk, mayo, and ranch mix in a blender.   Juice the lime in there too, you should get about 2T juice.  Toss in the garlic, cilantro and green salsa.  Blend 'er up.  Sample it and add hot sauce to taste.  Make it several hours ahead of time to allow it to thicken.

*A note about green salsa:
There are several brands of green salsa available in most supermarkets and they have various degrees of heat.  One of the most commonly seen brands is Hernandez.  Hernandez brand is a lot spicier than any of the others I've tried.  Even their medium green salsa is way too spicy for my liking.  I like to buy La Costena because their  medium is actually really mild.  That way I get all of the flavor of the tomatillos but I control the level of heat with the hot sauce.  If you're not used to buying green salsa, make sure to sample it first before you put it in the dressing so you know what you're getting into!

My ingredients looked like this (okay so the tortillas are for pouring it on :)

When I made this today I used the Herdez Salsa Verde because it was cheapest. I even made the whole batch in my Magic Bullet. I poured it into an old bottle of Ranch and now I have this wonderfulness in my fridge.

You should make some, it is so yummy and so easy. Total ingredient cost was about 3 dollars for everything other than the Mayo I already had, and it is worth it.


  1. No problem, although I bet you and your amazing cooking abilities could totally hack the versions that use fresh tomatillos. P.S. I love your blog and your awesome pictures of Atlanta.

  2. That's a good idea to make a lot and put it in a bottle! I've made it in the past when we were in Rexburg and didn't have Cafe Rio/Costa Vida and we love it. My recipe uses tomatillos which is why I never make it anymore because honestly, who keeps tomatillos on hand? Not me! I'll have to try this one since i have all the ingredients!

  3. Yeah this is way easier, the only thing to go buy is cilantro and that is like 37 cents. Much easier. I bet the tomatillo one was amazing though.