Friday Favorite – Costa Vida Chicken

Last night I taught my class on menu planning and quick meals at church.  Thanks to a lot of input from many of you it was a great class!  I will be sharing details from the class next Monday so be sure and check back!

Since I was focused on preparing for the class this week I thought I should probably share a quick meal idea with you and I promised the ladies in the class I would have one on the blog today!

You have heard me mention a time or two that Cafe Rio is my favorite place to eat while in Utah.  I have even shared their Sweet Pork  recipe with you (another great quick meal because it’s done in the crock pot)

Fortunately for me a Cafe Rio knock off, Costa Vida, opened up in Portland about a year ago.  Now I can get my Cafe Rio fix without having to drive 13 hours to Utah.

Today’s quick meal recipe is also done in the crock pot and is a copycat recipe for Costa Vida’s chicken.  You can serve it in burritos, tacos or on a salad.  It is yummy!

A while ago my friend Laurie emailed me asking for some ideas for a dinner she needed to put on for her family after her parent’s anniversary party.  It needed to be quick and easy because they would be coming directly to her house to eat after the party (of which she was in charge of too!)

I suggested she do a taco/burrito bar using the Cafe Rio Sweet Pork and the Costa Vida Chicken.  Both could be made ahead of time and just kept warm in a crock pot.  It’s a perfect thing for a large group of people because they can personalize it to their own taste.

Serve it with tortillas, chips,  beans, and all the toppings.  This green chili rice is perfect to serve along side too.

My favorite tortillas to use are the raw flour ones from Costco.  Just bake them up fresh each time.  So good.  I eat them plain they’re so good!

Laurie reported in after the party that both were a huge success!

So today’s Friday Favorite and quick meal idea is Costa Vida Chicken.  Enjoy!

costa vida chicken - Page 150

Friday Favorite – Costa Vida Chicken
  • 1 small bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast (this recipe can be easily halved but make a full batch and freeze the leftovers for another meal! Good menu planning!)
  1. Cook all together in a crock pot for 4 hours, shred meat and cook 1 additional hour.
Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

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  1. says

    Hooray! Your class went well. I’ll check back on Monday for all the details. Oh, and I also love the tortillas from Costco, but I didn’t eat them fast enough last time and they got a little “green.” Ugh.

  2. says

    This looks yummy and easy! Perfect in my book. I wish I had a Costco closer for the tortilla factor – people rave about them and I’ve never seen them at Sam’s…bummer!

  3. says

    Jessica »

    If the chicken is thawed I cook it on high for four hours. If I want to put it in first thing in the morning and cook it longer I’ll put the chicken in frozen and cook in on low for 8 hours. Enjoy!

  4. says

    Someone sent me the recipes from Cafe Rio in an email. I have yet to try them. Now, I have some real authority and definitely will tackle this.

    In the 3 weeks in Utah, I only hit Cafe Rio once. Amazing, I know!

  5. Sylvia says

    This is very delicious and the chicken is soooo tender! It is also yummy as leftovers. By the way, Sam’s has carried the uncooked tortillas for years – find them in the area where all the grated cheeses are. Safeway also carries them, though in a small package. Thank you for this great recipe – I will use it often.

  6. Michelle says

    I just found your site when looking for Costa Vida recipe. I am actually am single so no family to feed, but I want to be prepared for that day by practicing on my roommates. I love Costa Vida (I live near one) but I wanted to see how I could do. I have never used a crock pot before, but luckily one of my roommates does have one. Just wanted to say thanks I will try it out this week!

    I think this site is great!

  7. Julie says


    I am having a graduation looking at probably having around two hundred guests and was thinking of doing the chicken and lime cilantro rice recipes. Would these recipes be good for a crowd. I think the chicken would work not sure about the rice. any suggestions

    • says

      I think both the chicken and rice would be great. The nice thing about the rice is you can make a big batch ahead of time and just reheat it the day of the party. Have fun!

      • Julie says

        LeighAnne, How much of the lime cilantro rice do you think I would need to make for around 250 people. How much in advance could I make it? Can I freeze it and reheat? If so how do I do that?


        • says

          Julie, It would depend on how big your serving size is. What I usually do is make a batch – figure out my serving size and how many I can get out of it and then just do the math. I have frozen the rice before and then just reheated it in the microwave . Because of the large amount you are making reheating it may be a bit harder – do you have one of those roaster ovens that you plug in. They work pretty well for reheating rice – you just need to keep stirring it to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom and may need to add in some extra liquid.

  8. says

    Can you tell me about how much this recipe serves, I might do all three flavors for a taco bar at a grad party!
    Thanks in advance,

    • says

      That’s a bit of challenge because it depends on so many things. How you are serving? In a tortilla, over rice? Also how many other things you are having will effect how much people take. Not much help am I? would say 12-15


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