The following pages contain typical recipes (some written by my mother; others I have collected over time but I have forgotten the original source) that can be easily prepared and will give you a taste of Mexican food.
tortillas / Tex-Mex tortilla / Mexican rice / chicken and rice / fried beans / elephant ears / Mexican hot chocolate / tortillas with chicken / chicken and cheese filling / enchilada sauce / enchiladas rojas / red chile sauce / fajitas / avocado dip / rice with milk / tacos/ salsa cruda / crisp tortillas with beef
Tortillasthe main staple of the meal. Tortillas can be eaten by themselves or with different types of fillings: hamburger, eggs, rice, etc., and are the basic bread for making several Mexican dishes: burritos, tacos, enchiladas, taco salad shells, and tostadas.
Place flour in a four-quart bowl. Sprinkle in baking powder and salt. Mix well with hands or fork. Fold in butter and mix well with hands or fork until butter disappears. Then, pour water slowly, mixing mixture by hand into a very pliable and smooth soft-like dough consistency making sure dough does not stick to hands.
Knead dough about 20 times. Make small 2-inch biscuit-like balls. Place biscuit between paper or cloth toweling. Start rolling out the first biscuit made into a 7-inch circle tortilla after heating a pancake grill or skillet to medium heat. After each tortilla is rolled out, place it on heated grill or skillet. Cook about 10 seconds on first side and turn. Cook about 20 seconds on other side and turn again for 10 seconds or until desired doneness. This procedure helps the tortilla stay soft and pliable. The tortilla will have light brown specks on the surface. Regulate the heat for the best looking results.
Mix ingredients using tortilla dough instructions. The recipe may be used for making taco salad shells, pudding or fruit cup shells, turnovers, and buñuelos (sometimes known as elephant ears or tortilla crisps).
For taco salad shells, roll out each biscuit-like dough into a 7-inch circle tortilla. Then, place and mold tortilla over and around a French fry draining basket and bake in oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until light brown and crisp.
Tex-Mex Tortilla back
Combine potatoes, onions, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and crushed chiles. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet. Add potato mixture to skillet, cover, and cook over medium heat 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Combine eggs, milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and cook over low heat 8 to 10 minutes, or until eggs are nearly set. Uncover skillet and place under broiler 2 or 3 minutes, 3 or 4 inches from heat or until top is set. Cut into wedges.
Serves 4 to 6
Mexican Rice back
1. Rinse and drain rice. Dry on paper towels.
2. In a large frying pan, heat oil and fry raw rice until it becomes brown.
3. Heat tomato juice in a saucepan. Add to rice in the frying pan.
4. Add rest of ingredients. Cover and cook over low heat until tomato juice is absorbed and rice is soft (about 20 minutes).
Serves 4 to 6
Arroz Con Pollo back
Chicken and Rice
Place 1 tablespoon oil and rice in skillet and toast rice until lightly brown. Sauté onions and garlic (pepper may be added at this time, but it is optional). Place chicken in rice mixture and brown lightly. Have tomatoes, cumin, pepper, and bouillon ready in dish. Add water, undrained tomatoes, and previously mentioned ingredients to rice mixture, bring to a boil, and stir well.
Cover and simmer 30 to 35 minutes until chicken is tender and water is gone. Add chopped pimiento, cover, and cook for 5 minutes more.
Serves 4 to 6
Refried Beans back
1. Wash beans thoroughly under cold running water. Put beans in a pan containing 10 cups water and soak them for 6 to 8 hours.
2. Rinse beans and place them in a large pan with 5 cups water, onion, and oil.
3. Cook over high heat for 1 hour or until beans are soft.
4. Add lard and salt, and mash with a potato masher until all the fat has melted.
5. Lower heat and continue to cook beans, stirring occasionally, for about 2 1/2 hours or until bean mixture is thick and heavy.
Fried Pastry (Elephant Ears)
1. Thoroughly mix flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, beat together eggs and milk. Then add to dry ingredients. Stir in 1/4 cup oil and mix well.
3. Add warm water and mix until dough can be handled easily. If dough is too dry, add a few more teaspoons of warm water, one at a time.
4. Place dough on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth.
5. Divide dough into 20 to 24 pieces and shape each into a ball. Flatten balls on the board with the palm of your hand. Cover with a cloth for 20 minutes.
6. On a lightly floured board, roll out each flattened ball with a rolling pin into a large round shape about 6 or 7 inches in diameter. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
7. Heat 1 cup oil in an electric frying pan set at 360 degrees. If you don't have an electric frying pan, use a fat thermometer to check the temperature of oil heated in a regular frying pan. Just before frying, stretch each buñuelo a little more by hand.
8. Fry each buñuelo until the underside is golden brown (about 3 minutes). Turn and fry other side until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
9. In a small bowel, combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle hot buñuelos with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Makes 20 to 24
Chocolate Mexicano back
Mexican Hot Chocolate
1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat. Stir constantly until chocolate has melted and mixture is blended.
2. With a molinillo or eggbeater, beat chocolate to a froth just before serving.
Variation with eggs, cinnamon sticks and marshmallows.
In saucepan, combine milk, sugar, chocolate, ground cinnamon, and salt. Heat and stir until chocolate melts and milk is very hot. Gradually stir 1 cup of hot mixture into eggs, and return to saucepan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more over low heat. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and beat with beater or molinillo until chocolate looks very frothy. Pour into mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and marshmallows.
Enchiladas con Pollo back
Tortillas with Chicken
The recipe given here is for enchiladas filled with chicken and cheese, plus a few other good things. The basic directions for preparing and cooking the tortillas can be used with any filling.
1. Heat oil in a skillet and fry a tortilla for only a few seconds. (The tortilla should be limp and soft.)
2. Remove the tortilla with tongs and dip in heated sauce, making sure it is well coated.
3. Place the tortilla on a cutting board and put about 1/4 cup filling in the center. Roll up and put in a baking pan with the opening face down.
4. When all the tortillas have been fried, filled, and placed in the pan, cover them with remaining sauce. Cook at 350 degrees in the oven until the sauce is bubbly (about 15 to 20 minutes).
5. Serve each enchilada with a spoonful of sour cream.
Chicken and Cheese Filling back
Simmer the chicken breasts in 3 cups of water until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes). While the chicken cooks, heat the oil in a frying pan. Sauté the onion, green pepper, oregano, and basil until the onion and pepper are soft. Drain the chicken. When it has cooled enough to handle, remove the bones and slice each breast into 6 strips. Place a chicken strip in the center of a fried tortilla that has been dipped in sauce. Spoon on about 2 tablespoons each of the onion-pepper mixture and cheese. Roll up. Pour on the sauce and cook according to the basic directions.
Makes filling for 8 enchiladas
Enchilada Sauce back
To top your enchiladas, use 3 10-ounce cans of enchilada sauce (mild or hot), heated. If you want to make your own sauce, here is a simple recipe using chili powder.
1. Sauté onion in oil until it is soft and yellow. Add tomato puree and garlic.
2. Gradually stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt.
3. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
Makes about 3 cups
Enchiladas Rojas back
My grandmother's "Poor Man's" variation of enchiladas.
Heat oil in skillet. Dip each tortilla in the hot oil for 10 seconds or just until limp. In another skillet, heat salsa. After dipping tortillas in oil, dip them in salsa mixture. Place each tortilla in a 9 X 13 inch pan. Spoon cottage cheese, onion, and slat mixture into tortilla. Roll tortillas and arrange filled tortillas in baking pan. Pour remaining salsa over tortillas, and then sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese. Put in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes covered or until heated throughly. The shredded cheese may be sprinkled after the baking and let it bake for a minute or two longer or until cheese melts.
Salsa de Chile Rojo back
Cut chiles open and discard stems and seeds. Cut chiles into small pieces with scissors or knife. Place in bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand 45 60 minutes. Drain. To peel tomatoes, dip them boiling water up to 30 seconds. Plunge into cold water. Slip skins off. Quarter tomatoes. Place in blender container. Cover and blend until nearly smooth. Measure 2 cups of the blended tomatoes. Return to blender container (or place canned tomato puree in blender container). Add the drained chiles or chile powder, or crushed red pepper. Add onion, garlic, cumin, slat, and sugar. Cover and blend until smooth.
In 1 1/2 quart saucepan, combine tomato mixture and cooking oil. Cook and stir over medium heart for about 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.
Makes 2 cups
Brown chicken in oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken and drippings in a slow cooker. Add lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, chile powder, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until meat is tender. Add green peppers and onion. Cover and cook for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Warm tortillas. Spoon chicken and vegetables down center of tortillas. Top each with cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream if desired or serve separately as a side dish. Place meat and vegetables in tortillas, fold the sides, and serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8
1. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise. Pry out the pits with the point of a knife. Peel and cut into small pieces. (If the avocados are very ripe, you can scoop the flesh out of the shells with a spoon.)
2. Mash the avocados with a fork and blend in the other ingredients. For a very smooth mixture, combine the ingredients in a blender. Refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to blend.
3. Serve with tortilla chips and/or raw vegetables.
Makes about 2 cups
Arroz con leche back
Rice with Milk
This rice pudding is quite sweet, which is just the way many people like it. If you prefer less sweetness, use 1/2 cup of condensed milk with 1/2 cup of regular milk.
1. Put rice, cinnamon stick, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil quickly. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed (about 15 to 20 minutes).
2. Add milk and raisins. Cook, uncovered, until the milk works into rice (10 to 15 minutes).
3. Remove from heat, take out cinnamon stick, and cover. Let sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
4. Serve rice hot or cold.
1. Preheat 1/2 cup oil in a frying pan.
2. Place a tortilla in oil and fry lightly on one side. Turn over and fold in half with tongs. Then fry both sides of the folded tortilla to desired crispness.
3. Drain on a paper towel. Fry each tortilla in the same way and drain.
4. Fill the folded taco shells with meat or beans and desired condiments. Green and red pepper, pimento, onion, and kidney beans are delicious additions to any kind of taco.
Salsa Cruda back
A simple sauce made of fresh tomatoes and green chilies that is a good addition to almost any dish.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. If you want a little more fire in your salsa, add a finely chopped jalapeño chili.
Makes about 3 cups
Tostadas con Carne back
Crisp Tortillas with Beef
For a variation of this recipe, replace the beef with sliced pork, chicken, or shrimp.
1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Using tongs, submerge tortillas, one or two at a time, in hot oil and fry until each is crisp. Drain on a paper towel and stack.
2. Cook beef and onion in a skillet until meat is brown.
3. Drain off excess fat from meat and onions. Stir in chili-tomato mixture, garlic salt, oregano, cumin, chili powder, and basil.
4. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
5. Heat refried beans.
6. Spread each tortilla with warm beans.
7. Top with lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Pour on taco sauce or salsa cruda to taste.