There is a certain Mexican restaurant that’s very popular in our hometown, and maybe in yours. Its also very popular in my house, and maybe in yours. Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salads? Creamy Tomatillo Dressing? Chile Roasted Beef Burritos? Ring a bell? Maybe you know what I’m talking about…
This recipe started out as a Copy-Cat Café Rio Chicken recipe, but in my kitchen it’s become so much more. This Cilantro Lime Chicken is a staple in my house, and I use it in many different ways.
In its most basic form, this recipe is something you’ve probably seen before: chicken breasts, salad dressing, and salsa cooked in a Crock-Pot then shredded. It’s so simple you don’t even really need a recipe. What sets this one apart is using a homemade marinade instead of pre-mixed store bought salad dressing. It takes only a few extra minutes, and it makes such a difference! One thing you won’t find in this recipe that you will find in most Copy-Cat Café Rio Chicken recipes is ranch dressing mix. I personally don’t really care for ranch dressing, and the marinade is so flavorful I don’t think it’s really necessary.
One of the things I love most about this recipe is that it produces such a large amount of chicken. It’s way too much for my family to eat in one sitting, so I always reserve at least half in the freezer and we still usually have leftovers. Then when the clock strikes 5 on yet another night that I’ve forgotten to plan something for dinner, I can just grab a bag of chicken out of the freezer and I’m ready to make simple tacos, enchiladas, burritos, nachos, salads, and Mexican haystacks.
- About 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I usually use frozen)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup salsa
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, juiced
- Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker.
- In a bowl combine water, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salsa, and Italian seasoning. Pour marinade over chicken. Sprinkle chicken breasts with chili powder and then with garlic.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
- When cooking in complete, gently move the chicken breasts from the slow cooker to a large bowl. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the slow cooker and discard the rest. Pour the liquid over the chicken, then shred with two forks.
- Add the chopped cilantro and lime juice and continue to shred until combined.
- To freeze chicken, let it cool to room temperature then distribute meal sized portions of chicken into Ziploc bags and freeze for future use.
- Total Cost: $9.45 Cost Per Serving: $.94