Cafe Rio Pork

Café Rio pork just like you’d get in the restaurant. Now you can make it at home in your slow cooker!

Café Rio pork just like you'd get in the restaurant. Now you can make it at home in your slow cooker!

School is back in session. That means easy dinners the whole family is going to eat and love are what is on order. So how about making a restaurant favorite at home? The Café Rio pork recipe is a highly sought after recipe. They hold it under tight lip, but I have come up with something that tastes pretty darn close!

Plus it takes all day in the slow cooker, so you can spend 5 minutes in the morning getting it ready, and dinner is done when you get home from work and school. You really can’t get much easier than that!

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Five Spice Pork Lo Mein

Five Spice Pork Lo Mein – Lo Mein is a classic take out dish, but this takes it up a notch.  Chinese Five Spice Powder gives tons of great flavor in this quick and easy dinner!

Five Spice Pork Lo Mein - Lo Mein is a classic take out dish, but this takes it up a notch.  Chinese Five Spice Powder gives tons of great flavor in this quick and easy dinner!

We have had crazy weather here this summer.  We had the most rain ever during our spring.  Then it continued into summer. Lots of rain and cool weather.  A few of my sons baseball games have been cancelled, and we haven’t made very many trips to the pool.  The one super hot week we had, we were visiting family in Wisconsin.  So now that our summer travels have slowed down, I am hoping that the weather cooperates.  We were finally able to go to our neighborhood pool yesterday.  And my son was able to play his last regular season baseball game.  I am taking that as a sign that things are looking up!

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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos – Pork that has been cooked in the crock pot in citrus and spices, and then used for tacos.  So easy, and so much flavor!

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos - Pork that has been cooked in the crock pot in citrus and spices, and then used for tacos.  So easy, and so much flavor!

I know a lot of you are parents out there, so I want to see what you think about something.  My son did Jump Rope for Heart at school.  Great cause, raising money for the American Heart Association.  I was getting the forms and money all ready to send to school, and my 9 year old tells me he wants to donate some of his money.  I tell him that is great, and ask how much he was thinking.  He tells me he wants to give $25.  Keep in mind, I think the kid has saved up for about a year and has $100, so this is a giant chunk of his money.  I try to tell him that is too much, and he needs to save more of his money.  I want to teach my son about giving to others and good causes, but I also have to teach him about being able to have the money to buy things you need for yourself.  After a very lengthy discussion we settled on $10 (note 2 days prior he donated $5 to a coin drive for the homeless).  Thoughts?

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Green Chile Pork

Green Chile Pork - hatch chile peppers in a chile verde sauce

Our weekend started off a little wet. My son’s school had their fall festival on Friday evening.  It was chilly and rainy during most of it. The kids had a great time on the inflatables, the obstacle courses, the climbing wall, and everything else.  But, after 2 hours I decided it was enough, and it was time to head out.  We got home, and it took me a cup of tea, and a couple hours to actually warm up.  A sure sign I am not ready for winter!  Saturday night we headed to watch the girls Badger volleyball team play CSU.  It is not often that Wisconsin sports travel to Colorado, so we went to cheer them on.  It was a super close game, but the Badgers won!  A good weekend for our sports teams.

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Char Siu Pork Burgers

Char Siu Pork Burgers - an Asian favorite turned into a burger!

Last week I shared a Jalapeno Turkey Burger as part of burger month.  Today I am back with another burger.  I am loving playing with different flavors, and making different burgers this summer.  I also shared a Pesto Chicken Burger earlier this summer.  Hopefully you like these fun burgers, because I have another one coming next week!  Have you checked out all the other great recipes going on with Burger Month?  Kita from Pass the Sushi and Girl Carnivore did a great job gathering up some very talented bloggers to contribute all month long.

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Saucy Stir-Fry Pork

Saucy Stir-Fry Pork – Quick and easy pork stir-fry.  Add your favorite veggies and have the dinner on the table in minutes!

Saucy Stir-Fry Pork - Quick and easy pork stir-fry. Add your favorite veggies and have the dinner on the table in minutes!

I love stir-fry.  It is one of my go-to meals, when I am not sure what else to make.  You can use whatever veggies and meat you have, and the sauce is almost always made of staples I have in the fridge. Most of the time I use pork tenderloin or chicken breasts in my stir fries, because I always have those two in my freezer. But beef and shrimp are great, too. Or you could use tofu, or just lots of veggies for a vegetarian version. Quick, easy and versatile are what I need on busy weeknights.

Saucy Stir-Fry Pork - Quick and easy pork stir-fry. Add your favorite veggies and have the dinner on the table in minutes!

This pork stir-fry is one we have been making for years. This time I was lucky enough to have peas growing in my garden. We moved to this house in July and the garden was empty. But as the summer went on things started to grow. Tomatoes and peas showed up, and grew like crazy! I can’t wait until next year when I can plant all sorts of veggies. I have missed not having a real garden these last two years.

Saucy Stir-Fry Pork - Quick and easy pork stir-fry. Add your favorite veggies and have the dinner on the table in minutes!

The original recipe for this pork stir-fry called for red bell peppers. I don’t like bell peppers, so I always omit them. They would add great color and flavor to this dish; so if you like them, add them in! If you want to make it even better for you, serve it with brown rice instead of white rice. I just can’t get my family on board with the brown rice. My picky 7-year-old will pick around the veggies and eat the meat out of this. Someday I will get him to just eat it all…

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Carnita Pizza

Carnita Pizza

We are slowly getting out for underneath the boxes.  Half of our stuff never got unpacked in the townhouse, because we knew we were moving within 9 months.  It is nice to find some of this stuff again!  My in laws get here in a couple days, so there is still lots that needs to be done.

Carnita Pizza

I made this pizza  before we moved.  It was a clean out the freezer meal.  I froze the leftovers when I made Pork Carnitas.  I also had a couple balls of pizza dough in the freezer.  I often make a big batch of dough, then wrap up balls of it, and freeze for easy use later.  We only moved a couple blocks away, but I still felt the need to clean out the freezer.  Not sure why, but just go with me here.

Carnita Pizza

I used the salsa I had in the fridge for the sauce, and kept it pretty basic.  Meat, cheese, and sauce.  BUT, I topped with guacamole!  You really can’t have Mexican food of any kind without guacamole, in my opinion.  I could probably find a way to justify avocados with every meal though :)

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Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas
Summer is here!  Yesterday we even went to the beach.  There is a state park about 10 minutes away from where we live that has a nice beach.  The kids played in the sand, played on the playground, and enjoyed the water.  I am looking forward to more days like this as the summer goes by.  Unfortunately, I think they will be few and far between.  I can’t believe how full our calendar is this summer.  We were supposed to move this weekend, but that has been pushed back a couple weeks.  I already had a great line-up of guest posters set up, so for the next couple weeks I will be featuring some of my favorite bloggers.

I am also in the process of setting up a bake sale auction to help raise money for the High Park Fire victims in Fort Collins.  The auction will be on July 8th.  I have 25+ amazing bloggers donating some great items for you to bid on.  I also have some great raffle prizes!  Le Creuset, Green Mountain Coffee, Kerrygold Cheese…… Mark your calendars and make sure to come back on the 8th!! If you are interested in donating, let me know, I still have a couple slots left.

I can’t leave you empty handed before I go!  I have Pork Carnitas!  These are perfect for summer.  They are made in the crock pot.  You might think that is strange for summer, but think about it.  No oven, gives off very little heat, you get to enjoy the beach while dinner cooks?  Sounds like a win to me.  So go pour yourself a drink, and have these for dinner :)

A friend sent me this recipe, that she got from a friend, so I have no idea what the source is.  You can serve these with whatever toppings you like.  I did traditional taco toppings: cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole etc.  I also have plans for the leftovers, so stay tuned.

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Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwiches

As much as everyone loves the appetizers on Superbowl Sunday, it is nice to have a main dish too.  These pork sandwiches are perfect.  They are made in the crock pot, so you can do everything ahead of time.  The meat just falls apart, it is so moist and juicy.  And, you don’t have to feel guilty eating it! I originally found this recipe in my Light & Tasty 2006 cookbook, and we have been making them ever since.  The sauce is tangy and full of flavor.  If you wanted to cheat, you could even use bottled sauce. But making your own sauce takes less than 5 minutes, and it tastes so much better!  This freezes really well too, if you have leftovers.

I had run out of hamburger buns, and was too lazy to go to the store, so I made my own.  These were good, but more of a roll than a hamburger bun.  I am going to keep trying with the bun recipes, because I love fresh bread!

Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!  If you have recipes all over the place like I do, this program will amaze you!

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Barbeque Ribs

Memorial Day is all about grilling right?  So we spent the weekend using our grill as much as we could!  Brats, hot dogs, chicken, ribs, potatoes – pretty much every meal!  It was great to get out of the “kitchen” and be outside!

Ribs have to be one our favorites, and have been for awhile.  But they are a special treat – we probably only make them once or twice a year.  Our son used to love them.  When he was 2 and thought they were the best.  But for the last couple years he wouldn’t touch them.  With his new found love of pork chops, I figured I could get these past him.  I started by just cutting some meat off the bone and let him eat it like that – fail.  Then I turned him on to the novelty of getting dirty and being able to eat it straight from the bone – success!  Should have known, 6 year old boy = messy!  He must have eaten a whole 1/2 rack of ribs that way.  Proud moment for Daddy!

We have been making this recipe for years.  I got it off one of those imitation of a restaurant sites.  It is supposed to be how Tony Roma’s does their Blue Ridge Smokey Ribs.

This recipe is also linked on  It’s a Keeper Thursday

Yields 4

15 minPrep Time

3 hrCook Time

3 hr, 15 Total Time

Save Recipe


  • 2 Full racks of Baby Back Ribs
  • Sauce
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 rounded tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder


  1. In a saucepan over medium high heat, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  3. Brush both sides of ribs with sauce. Wrap with foil. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 2 - 2 1/2 hours (depends on how thick your ribs are).
  4. Remove from oven, and place on a super hot grill. Baste with additional sauce. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side to caramelize the sauce. You can use your broiler if you don't have a grill.
  5. Serve with additional sauce.



This recipe is also on “Get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France CheeseRösleEmile HenryRouxbe and ManPans.”