If you are new to cooking Tex-Mex, it may take a little time to learn how to make your Tex-Mex dishes just right. There is a learning curve to everything. But, fortunately, there are a few things you can do right away with your meals that will have people believing you are a Tex-Mex expert. And they don’t take a lot of time or effort.
- Focus on the chili gravy.
This is a sauce of a brownish red hue that most restaurants make with chili powder. It began, however, as a sauce made with ancho chilies in San Antonio. You will usually see the sauce covering a plate of enchiladas, but people also put it on tamales. One critic has called chili gravy “the mother sauce of Tex-Mex.”
So, if you want to be known as a great Tex-Mex cook, make sure your enchiladas are swimming in chili gravy, and make sure it is the cheese version.
- Use American cheese.
Traditional Mexican cooking uses white cheese. But not Tex-Mex. It is yellow – the American processed kind. It gives a nice smooth melted look that only American cheese can give.
- Serve the chips and salsa right away.
That is part of the Tex-Mex experience, having the chips and salsa as soon as you sit down. And the chips should preferably be hot.
- Include plenty of rice and beans.
Make sure you load up the plate with the rice and refried beans along with the entrée. And make sure it is all on the same plate because many Tex-Mex eaters love to mix it all together.
- Make sure the nachos have all the ingredients on each chip.
You don’t want to serve them like they do in many restaurants, with a mountain of ingredients piled on top of a mound of chips. The chips on top are loaded with the toppings, but the chips on the bottom are bare.
- Add pickled jalapenos to each dish.
They are a staple in the world of Tex-Mex cooking, so make sure you have plenty of them to go around. Put them with each entrée, and have some on the side.
- Make sure the tortillas are flour.
Flour tortillas, not corn, rule in Tex-Mex. If you really want to impress, make your own.
Are you eating enough Tex-Mex? Here are some signs that maybe you are not getting your minimum daily requirements of some of that good old Tex-Mex cooking.
- You smell hot dogs or hamburgers cooking on the barbeque, but all you can think about are steak fajitas or beef chili.
You’re not thinking about that burger with tomato, onion and lettuce on top. Oh no, you’re thinking about that delicious skirt steak still sizzling just off the grill, the aroma of cumin, lime juice, chili powder, and garlic rising up with the steam. And you’re smelling those peppers and onions, the aroma mixing with the marinade.
Then, your mind turns to that bowl of chili you had. When was it? You can’t remember exactly, so you know it’s been too long. You start thinking about those thick hunks of beef chuck, nicely browned. Then you begin reminiscing about those chilis – Costeno, Choricero, Arbol, Cascabel, Ancho, and Mulatto that give the dish its rich, spicy flavor. It’s about this time that your mouth starts to water.
- You grab a bag of chips while watching TV, and begin craving some Texas nachos.
You’re looking at the potato chip, but all you see are those yellow corn tortilla chips, covered with gooey cheese and a slice of jalapeno on top.
And that brings to mind a good queso dip, particularly the one you had at your friend’s house the other week while watching the basketball game. Made with Monterey Jack and sharp cheddar cheese, it was also loaded with spices such as garlic, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. And to top it all off, it was filled with ground beef chuck. Mmmmm!
- You are tucking into those scrambled eggs for breakfast, and realize you could have had a breakfast taco instead.
You immediately start thinking that those eggs would really look good inside a nice warm tortilla, with some potatoes, cheese, beans, and chorizo.
You begin to wonder when the last time was you had a good migas for breakfast, with those eggs fried in the skillet, along with the tortilla strips, salsa, cheese, and jalapeno peppers.
After finishing your eggs, you pull out your phone and dial up Mattito’s to make reservations.
Stop by one of our locations near you soon.
Photo courtesy stu_spivack/Flickr.com
July 10 is National Piña Colada Day, so raise your glass in celebration! Or you might just hum a few bars from “The Piña Colada Song” by Rupert Holmes (1979): “Do you like piña coladas? Getting caught in the rain?”
The name piña colada means strained pineapple, a reference to the pineapple fruit juice that is used in the drink. To honor this festive occasion, here are a few recipes for some tasty piña coladas. This first one is from FoodNetwork.com.
First, you will need the following:
- One and one-half cups of ice
- One-half cup of frozen diced pineapple
- Two ounces of pineapple juice
- Two ounces of Coco Lopez coconut cream
- One and one-half ounces of white rum
- One ounce of dark rum
- Pineapple slices
Place the pineapple, ice, pineapple juice, white and dark rum and coconut cream into a blender. Blend until the mix is frosty and smooth and then pour into two glasses. Garnish with pineapple slices.
Here is another one from Epicurious.com.
You will need:
- One and one-half ounces of coconut cream
- One and one-half ounces of pineapple juice
- One ounce of aged rum
- One ounce of coconut rum
- A splash of coconut milk
- Pineapple wedge for garnish
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and add one cup of ice. Blend the mixture on high setting until it is smooth. Pour it into a tall glass and add the pineapple garnish.
Here is another version of the piña colada, called the Dressed Up Piña Colada from DrinksMixer.com.
You will need:
- Three ounces of Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Coconut Rum
- Three tablespoons of coconut milk
- Three tablespoons of crushed pineapple
- One and one-half ounces of whipped cream
- Chocolate syrup
Make an up-and-down pattern inside the glass with the chocolate syrup. Take the rum, pineapple and coconut milk and blend it with two cups of crushed ice on high for just a few seconds (until the ice chunks are gone). Pour the mix into a glass and topped with whipped cream.
Photo: Achim Schleuning, via Wikimedia Commons
Love Tex-Mex food and can’t get enough? You want to experience that great taste more often, but you’re just not sure how to do so? Read on to find out four simple things you can do to get more Tex-Mex cuisine in your life.
- Have Tex-Mex for breakfast.
Try migas for breakfast. These are tasty dishes of scrambled eggs with tortilla chips, onions, chili peppers, and tomatoes. Or how about a fried egg perched atop some cheese enchiladas? Or you may want to try barbacoa, tender shreds of beef stuffed into a breakfast taco.
If you are more in the mood for soup, there is always menudo, which is another Tex-Mex breakfast staple.
Another breakfast dish is machaca, which is dried, shredded beef with tortillas.
- Have Tex Mex for snacks.
One great Tex-Mex snack that goes great while you’re watching any sporting event is skirt steak fajitas with grilled cabbage and scallions. Or maybe you’re more in the mood for dried chile salsa? You might also like to snack on creamy queso with chorizo. And here’s a snack that surely beats potato chips – celery-spiked guacamole with chilies.
- Have Tex -Mex for dessert.
If you like cinnamon, you will love Tex-Mex desserts, because cinnamon is a mainstay of these confections. Maybe you would like to try Mexican wedding cookies, made with powdered sugar and vanilla. Then there is Montezuma’s hot chocolate sheet cake. This one is loaded with sweet stuff, everything from brown sugar and cinnamon, to cocoa and vanilla, along with other treats such as almonds, hazelnuts, anise, chili powder, and Cayenne pepper.
If you are in the mood for something a little simpler, there is Mexican tres leche cake. This one has rum and cream in it.
- Try Tex-Mex for the holidays.
Want something good for the Cinco de Mayo fiesta? You can start with Tex-Mex guacamole. This is full of black beans, corn, scallions, and a taco seasoning. Or maybe you prefer the taco skillet. This has everything you love in a taco, except the tortillas. You may want to try a tamale pie. This has a cornbread crust, along with sour cream, creamed corn, garlic, cumin, chili powder, ground beef, and shredded cheese.
When you have a deep need for Tex-Mex Mattito’s has several locations in the greater Dallas area. One is sure to be near you. Visit us soon.
Tex-Mex cooking comes from a rich Spanish and Native American tradition.
Before Texas became part of the United States, Native Americans lived there for thousands of years, and after that, it was inhabited by the Spanish. In fact, the area was called New Spain. Even after Mexico became independent, it had strong ties with Texas.
It is this rich and varied history that helped to create the kind of food we call Tex-Mex today. The word Tex-Mex actually began as a term to describe the Texas and Mexican Railroad. Then Tex-Mex came to describe the people of Mexican ancestry living in Texas. They were also known as Tejaños. And the name also came to describe the kind of food they made as well.
But Tex-Mex food is only one way to experience the rich Tejaño Mexican culture.
There is also the music. Tejaño music has its own unique style. It is related to the folk music of Louisiana, known as Cajun music, that has been combined with other, more modern types of music, such as rock and roll, rhythm and blues, pop, and country. There are also Mexican influences, such as the mariachi sound.
Mexican art is another way to experience Tejaño Mexican culture. The art is varied, producing clay pottery, cotton garments, wool shawls, colorful baskets, and rugs that are unmatched anywhere else.
You can also unleash your inner Tex-Mex by celebrating traditional Mexican holidays. Several Mexican holidays are well known. One of the most famous is the Day of the Dead celebration. It takes place on November 2 of each year to remember and honor those who have died.
Symbols of death actually have a prominent place in Mexican culture, art and religion. It may have a pre-Columbian connection. On the Day of the Dead, Mexicans put together altars for the dead in their homes, along with food and drink, and often include skulls made from sugar and chocolate, to welcome the dead back to earth. Many Mexicans also go to graveyards to decorate graves with large orange flowers. Then, they stay by the graves to pray and to talk about the person who has died.
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12. It is a major Mexican holiday to mark the appearance of the Virgin Mary to a man during early Spanish rule.
And then there is Cinco de Mayo, May 5, which marks the date of a Mexican military victory over the French.
Perhaps the easiest way to unleash your inner Tex-Mex is to enjoy some great Tex-Mex cuisine! We hope you will visit a Mattito’s location near you soon.
By Alfonsobouchot (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Tarzan is a character known to almost everyone, an iconic comic book hero. And one of the most famous actors to ever play Tarzan in the movies was the champion swimmer Johnny Weissmuller. Today, June 2, is the anniversary of happens to be Weissmuller’s birth. In honor of this most famous of Tarzans, we are featuring in this article veggie Tex-Mex dishes, because everyone knows that Tarzan was raised by apes, which are well known for their plant-based diets.
Weissmuller himself also advocated natural lifestyles and even opened a chain of health food stores.
So, for all you Tarzan and Johnny Weissmuller fans out there, here is a delicious and healthy all-veggie Tex-Mex dish – Spring Veggie Tacos. This recipe is from McKell Hill on the website nutritionstripped.com.
You will need:
- One cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- One cup chickpeas (can use canned, well rinsed)
- One large sweet potato, diced into chunks (should yield 2 cups)
- One-half cup water
- Two tablespoons coconut oil (for cooking)
For the Taco Spices:
- One tablespoon chili powder
- Two teaspoons ground cumin
- One-half teaspoon garlic powder
- One-quarter teaspoon onion powder
- One-quarter teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- One-half teaspoon dried oregano
- One-half teaspoon paprika
- One teaspoon sea salt
- One teaspoon black pepper
- One whole small red onion (yields ½ cup), sliced into thin strips
- One large red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- One large green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- One large yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- One tablespoon coconut oil
- Two cloves garlic, diced
- A pinch of sea salt
- First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the chopped sweet potatoes with one tablespoon of coconut oil and a dash of the cinnamon and cumin for 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
- Set aside the baked sweet potatoes for later. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, prepare everything else.
- In a food processor or blender, pulse the chickpeas and walnuts together to create a coarsely chopped mixture.
- In a medium heated skillet, add one-half tablespoon coconut oil, chopped walnuts, beans, and seasonings.
- Stir to warm through and combine the mixtures, adding a little bit of water as needed to bring the mixture together.
- Cook for about five minutes.
- Add the baked sweet potatoes last and only to toss around in the spices with everything else.
- Take the skillet off of the heat and put everything a large serving bowl.
- Sauté the onions, garlic, and bell peppers in coconut oil on medium heat until they are softened, and add.
You can use this filling to stuff corn or brown rice tortillas.
If you’d like to celebrate your birthday today – or any day – visit a Mattito’s location near you soon. We’ll make sure to put a candle in your flan!
In honor of National Donut Day (June 4, which is just around the corner), here are two simple and delicious recipes for buñuelos, a kind of donut popular in Mexico and many other Latin countries. A buñuelo is actually a fried dough ball or fritter. It is usually made with a filling or topping. Mexicans traditionally serve it with syrup made with anise seeds that give the pastry a licorice taste.
For this recipe, you will need:
- Four eggs
- One-quarter cup of white sugar
- One teaspoon of vegetable oil
- Two cups of all-purpose flour
- One teaspoon of baking powder
- One teaspoon of salt
- One cup of white vinegar
- One teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- One cup of vegetable oil for frying
- Combine the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl. Beat the ingredients until they are thickened. Add the oil. In another bowl, combine the one and one-half cups of flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to the egg mixture little by little and beat all the ingredients well.
- Pull the dough mixture out onto a board that has been coated with the remaining one-half cup of flour. Then knead the dough until it is smooth.
- Make the dough into about 15 balls, and then roll each one into a flat circle about five inches in diameter. Let them stand for about 10 minutes.
- Next, heat the oil in a deep fry pan to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry the dough circles until they are golden brown on the outside, turning them once. Drain them using a paper towel. Sprinkle them with the cinnamon and sugar.
The recipe above came from AllRecipes.com.
Here’s a recipe for spiced brown sugar syrup to put over your buñuelos if you like, courtesy of NoshOn.It
You will need:
- One cup of packed dark brown sugar
- Two cups of water
- One cinnamon stick
- One-half teaspoon of anise seeds
- The peel of one-quarter of an orange
- Bring one cup of water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for two to three minutes. Little by little, add the remaining water, cinnamon stick, anise seeds and orange peel. Bring the mixture back to a boil, and then reduce the heat again, letting it simmer for about 10 minutes until it has thickened a little.
- Then take it from the heat and run the syrup through a strainer to remove the solid ingredients.
By Mtam (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Summer is just around the corner, and nothing goes better with summertime cookouts and barbecues than Tex-Mex food. It’s perfect for weekend or holiday gatherings. With a few substitutions, you can make something good and good for you. And, what’s best, these dishes are quick and easy to make.
Summer is a time for walks on the beach…and Tex-Mex food!
Here are a few healthy summertime Tex Mex ideas from Phoebe Lapine of Feed Me Phoebe. You can find the recipes for each of these dishes at feedmephoebe.com.
- Ceviche fish tacos with avocado and lime
The fish is not battered and fried, but instead cooked in a marinade of lime juice. In fact, it’s not really cooked at all. The fish is marinated in a mixture of tomatoes, citrus juices and chilies. The marinade turns the fish white, cooking it without using any heat.
- Chipotle mango salsa
This dish uses fresh mango, diced with chipotle, which gives it a sweet and savory flavor. You can use it as a topping for food or a dip for your tortillas.
- Big apple guacamole
This has a lot of your traditional guacamole ingredients, but, as the name indicates, it also has apples.
- Broccoli cheddar quesadillas
These are your traditional cheese quesadillas, but also loaded with healthy broccoli.
- Mushroom tacos with Mexican brown rice
Here’s a strictly vegetarian dish that’s light and tasty. It’s made with corn tortillas and one pound of wild mushrooms. It also includes poblano and jalapeno peppers.
- Sweet and savory baked tortilla chips
Instead of those store-bought, heavily processed tortilla chips, try these instead. They are made with healthy olive oil, and a mixture of tasty spices, including cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.
- Green chile enchiladas
When you think of enchiladas, light summer fare is not the first thing that springs to mind. They are a heavier dish, full of cheese. But by making a few substitutions, these green chile enchiladas are perfect for summer.
Instead of the usual sauce, this recipe uses Greek yogurt and green chile salsa for the enchilada sauce. And, in addition to cheese, they are filled with spinach, squash, and cherry tomatoes.