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Tex Mex Food Ideas for Your Super Bowl Party

Tex Mex food is delicious. A Super Bowl party needs delicious foods to serve to your guests, so it’s a great idea to serve some great Tex Mex dishes when the New England Patriots play Seattle Seahawks on February 1.

Read below for some Tex Mex dish ideas for your Super Bowl party.

Dips always are popular on Super Bowl Sunday. Many people nosh on potato and tortilla chips as they watch the game, so a Tex Mex-style layered bean dip is perfect for those eating tortilla chips.

The chopped veggies (tomatoes, avocados and black olives), black beans, and salsa provide a good amount of good-for-you dietary fiber.

Fajitas also make a great dish to provide your guests. Serve them with hot grilled vegetables and you also provide your guests with a healthy meal.

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Sizzling hot fafitas served with grilled vegetables is a tasty and healthy dish to serve at your Super Bowl party.

You undoubtedly will want to serve a guacamole dip. Add fresh celery to it and you’ve added some crunch as well as helped lighten the dip.

Combine the best of hot and comfort at your party with a chili cornbread pie. It’s basically a casserole that begins with a layer of chili, then a layer of cornbread. After baking, top it with sour cream, guacamole, olives, and shredded cheese. While not a true Tex Mex dish, this casserole combines the best of comfort food (cheesy dip, yum!) with spicy chili.

Speaking of comfort food, there’s little more comforting and rib sticking than macaroni and cheese. Why not serve it Tex Mex-style by spicing it up with chiles, chorizo and a topping made or tortilla chips?

Mini Tex Mex cheeseburgers are sure to be a hit with your guests. Place tiny grilled burger patties on small buns (think slider-sized) and garnish with sliced avocado, Monterey Jack cheese and salsa.

Mattito’s caters parties! If you’d like to cater your Super Bowl party, check out the Mattito’s catering service near you. We can accommodate parties from a handful of guests to several dozen.

Image courtesy of KEKO64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do Spicy Foods Help in Weight Loss?

You may have heard that spicy foods help in weight loss. Do they?

They can!

Researchers have found that all of us have what is known as brown fat and white fat in our bodies. Our white fat tends to lead to weight gain, while the brown fat can help our bodies lose weight because brown fat burns more calories.

So how can someone get more brown fat? Cold temperatures are said to help. (So don’t turn on the space heaterunder your desk when chilly at owrk; put on a light sweater and enjoy the “act” of creating more calorie-burning brown fat in your body as you shiver lightly.)

Spicy food also helps. Researchers in 2013 published a study in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care in which they reported that they gave a group of people with little or no brown fat capsinoids (naturally present in chili peppers) each day for six weeks. At the end of the research study, this group of people burned calories at a higher rate and had lower body fat at the end of the study (compared to a control group that didn’t consume the capsinoids).

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Who knew!? Chili con carne and other hot and spicy Tex Mex dishes can help boost your metabolism and aid in weight loss.

 So if spicy foods can help you raise your metabolism, it’s time to eat more Tex-Mex food! You will be, to paraphrase the slogan, eating great and losing weight!

Most Tex Mex food can be made as spicy – or not – as you’d like. Most dishes aren’t spicy at all and you actually may need to ask your server to make sure the chef piles on the spices (per your taste, of course).

Chile relleno is an entrée that tends to be spicy all on its own.

You also can definitely add lots of salsa onto any meal – spice it up to taste. You can also spread the salsa on tortilla chips (or dip the chips in the salsa).

If you’d like to enjoy Tex Mex cuisine as spicy as you can stand it, visit a Mattito’s nearest you and let your server know you like your dishes hot and spicy!

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Keep Your Weight Loss Resolution: Eat Tex Mex

The top New Year’s resolution each year tends to be to lose weight/get healthy.

There’s an easy to way to keep this resolution in 2015: eat more Tex Mex food!

Before you place your hands on your face as you gasp in horror (“Tex Mex healthy? Lose weight? Why it’s laden with sauces and cheeses and the tortilla chips and guacamole and the fatty beef just make me gain a pound just thinking about it!”), consider this: Tex Mex food actually can be very healthy. You just have to make wise choices.

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Yes, it is possible to eat Tex Mex food and look like this. It’s just all about making healthy food choices for your Tex Mex meals.

Let’s take the simple taco as an example. Sure, pour on the cheese, make sure it’s full of fatty ground beef, ladle on the guacamole saucen and eat two or three large tacos and you’re definitely eating several hundred fat-rich calories.

But eat a fish or chicken taco (or one with lean shredded beef), put just a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese on top, forgo the guacamole, and add more cut/diced tomatoes instead and you have a much healthier meal.

In fact, forget about the tortilla all together and make your taco more of a salad or even a sizzling fajita and you’ll save the carb calories from the taco shell.

Fajitas, actually, can be quite healthy. Ask your server to load your dish up with vegetables and ask for chicken or fish for your meat. Skip the refried beans for a side (ask for black beans if you just need to have beans – and believe us, we understand the need for some great beans with you meal). Say no to the side of rice and ask for steamed veggies instead.

Whenever you eat at a Tex Mex restaurant such as Mattito’s, simply ask for lean beef (or substitute chicken or fish), skip the chips, rice, beans, and guacamole and ask for black beans and lots of vegetables. There you’ll have it: a delicious, healthy meal, one that will help you keep your 2015 New Year’s resolution to lose weight and eat healthier foods.

Good luck with any resolutions you’ve made for this New Year!

Image courtesy of stockimagess/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4 Reasons You Should Eat More Tex Mex Food in 2015

Most people make New Year’s resolutions that have them giving something up. They resolve to quit smoking. They promise themselves they won’t eat so much (they will diet). They say they intend to sit around less and instead exercise more.

Here at Mattito’s, we think you should do morein 2015. As in, we feel you should eat more Tex Mex cuisine in the coming year.

Here are four reasons why:

  1. It’s delicious. Tex Mex food is full of meats, fish, beans, vegetables, cheese, sauces, and spices. In fact, it’s those spices – from the very mild to the muy caliente – that bring out the flavor in the vegetables and the meats, making Tex Mex dishes a feast for your taste buds.

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Resolve to eat more Tex Mex food in 2015.

  1. It’s very colorful. It may be a cliché, but with the generous use of tomatoes; red, yellow and green peppers; cheese; green guacamole; and more, Tex Mex dishes are a “party on a plate.” Plus, your meal is full of good vitamins and minerals, courtesy of those colorful vegetables.
  2. It’s very satisfying. A great Tex Mex meal is one with meat (beef, fowl or fish), vegetables and beans. It therefore has plenty of protein for satiety and veggies and beans for health. You can eat a hearty Tex Mex lunch and not even need to worry about being hungry for the rest of the day (and it won’t be because you’re stuffed, but because you’re satisfied).
  3. It’s healthy. Yes, you can smother your meal in cheese and cheese sauces. But no one’s forcing you to do so. In fact, if you come to Mattito’s to eat, you can ask for less-fat dishes and we’re happy to comply. But with all the vegetables, beans and lean meats you can eat in a Tex Mex meal, you can rest assured that you’re providing your body with lots of healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Our Mattito’s locations will close at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and will be closed all of New Year’s Day. But if you’d like to get 2015 off to a great start, come eat with us on January 2 – or just about any day of 2015.

There’s a Mattito’s near you and eat more Tex Mex dishes throughout the year!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Celebrating the New Year in Mexico

Mexico is a country filled with people who love a party. Celebrating the New Year gives Mexico’s residents a good reason to celebrate in a big way.

Just as in the U.S., most celebrations take place the evening before, on New Year’s Eve.

Families decorate their homes in festive colors, with each color representing what the family hopes for in the coming year. Yellow connotes better employment conditions, and green is a sign the family wants to have a better financial situation. Red means family members want an overall improvement in their lives. White means improved health.

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What do grapes have to do with celebrating the New Year in Mexico? Keep reading.

The family serves Mexican sweet bread that was baked earlier with a charm or coin hidden in the dough. The guest who receives a slice of the bread with the coin/charm is supposed to have good luck throughout the coming year.

A popular activity is to write a list of all of the unhappy or bad things that happened in the previous 12 months and, at midnight, throw the list into a fire. This symbolizes removing negative energy from one’s life as the New Year arrives.

Mexicans celebrate the New Year with a late dinner with friends and family. A traditional New Year’s Eve meal is pork loin or turkey. Once done eating, many families head outside to attend parties.

In the U.S., we count down the seconds right before midnight. In Mexico, people eat one grape at each of the last 12 seconds as the clock moves toward midnight, making a wish as they eat each one.

All Mattito’s locations close at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and we’ll be closed all of New Year’s Day. If you’d like to celebrate early, stop by the Mattito’s closest to you and enjoy some great Tex Mex dishes to ring in the New Year!

Image courtesy of satit_srihin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christmas Dinner as Done in Mexico

Christmas Eve tends to be the day in Mexican homes when it comes to Christmas, as it’s on Christmas Eve when the primary holiday celebrations take place.

Noche Buena is heralded with the ringing of church bells, fireworks and blowing whistles. Once the final Posada ends, celebrants go to churches and attend what is known as the Mass of the Rooster (Misa de Gallo).

After mass, everyone heads home for the traditional Christmas Eve feast, which includes tamales, chiles rellenos, rice, menudo, and possibly turkey or roast pig. Diners also feast on hot fruit or cider punch. Alcoholic beverages might include spirits such as rompope, an eggnog-like drink which often includes rum as a main ingredient.

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Tamales and other foods traditionally are served in Mexican homes right after midnight on Christmas Eve/early Christmas morning.

Celebrants also gather around a personal nativity scene, which is a recreation of Jesus’ stable birthplace,. Construction starts several days before Christmas Eve and finished on Christmas Eve itself.

Christmas Eve ends with the opening of gifts, breaking open a piñata, and more activities.

Christmas Day itself traditionally is a day of rest.

If you’d like to recreate a Mexican-style Christmas Eve dinner here – again – is a listing of the foods included within it:

  • Tamales
  • Chiles Rellenos
  • Menudo
  • Spanish Rice
  • Maybe Turkey or Roast Pig
  • Hot Fruit or Cider Punch
  • Rompope (for adults only, if spiked with rum)

If you’d like to enjoy Tex Mex food on the holiday, our Mattito’s locations are open regular hours Christmas Eve. We are closed Christmas Day so that our employees may enjoy the holiday with their loved ones. Contact us for reservations.

Image: “Tamale Trail, Helena-West Helena, AR 001” by Southern Foodways Alliance – Flickr: tamales simmering in pot_detail 2. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Typical Foods Served During the Christmas Season in Mexico

Let’s say you’re heading to Mexico and will be there over the Christmas holidays.

Let’s further say that you won’t be staying in a hotel or renting a home/apartment, but instead will be staying with a Mexican family.

What kinds of food might you expect to eat during the holiday season?

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Santa arrives in Mexico, too. Looks as if this one may have been drinking some spiked ponche.

Some of the traditional holiday foods in Mexico include:

  • Russian potato salad is especially popular in Mexico’s northern states. It’s served as a side to…
  • Pavo, a roasted stuffed turkey served with gravy.
  • Ensalada de Noche Buena is Christmas Eve Salad served on… Christmas Eve!
  • Menudo is a tradition for Christmas morning in Mexico’s northern states. It’s a tripe and hominy soup. It’s often made on Christmas Eve as cooking time can be as much as five hours.
  • Bacalao with Romeritos is a Christmas tradition of Mexico’s central region. Romeritos are tiny green leaves and often mixed with mole and potatoes. Bacalao is a cod dish. It’s traditionally eaten in Mexico’s southern states, as well as the central states.
  • Tamales sometimes will replace the bacalo or turkey.
  • Pineapple upside down cake often is served as a dessert during the holidays.
  • Ponche is a drink made of sugar cane, prunes, apples and the fruit of the tejocotes (a hawthorn bush). Adults often are served ponche with a bit or tequila or rum mixed in.

If you’d like to sample some foods traditional served in Mexico during the holiday season, visit the Mattito’s location nearest you.

Image by Fluous (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Why Isn’t Dessert as Popular in Mexico as in the U.S?

Actually, the title above is a bit misleading: it’s not that Mexico residents don’t like desserts as much as Americans do, it’s just that they like desserts that are more subtle in their sweetness. U.S. desserts tend to be exceptionally sweet – a bit too much so by Mexico standards.

Traditional Mexican desserts usually were pudding, custard or cooked fresh fruit. Dessert was served after what often was a six-course meal, so desserts tended to be much lighter than what is considered to be a typical American dessert such as ice cream, pie or cake.

Another thing you’ll notice about traditional Mexican desserts: they aren’t fried. This may surprise Americans, considering that tacos and tortilla chips are fried. The only Mexican dessert that’s fried is a dish known as crema frita which is thick custard that’s sliced and then rolled in flour, eggs, bread crumbs, and then fried in oil.

Mexicans do enjoy their sweets at breakfast, however. Cookies, fruit and sweet rolls often are served at the first meal of the day. They also enjoy a sweet treat at mid-afternoon. It even has its own name: merienda and it includes sweet rolls, hot chocolate, cakes, cookies, and a corn porridge known as atole, which is eaten with milk, eggs, sugar, and fruit.

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Anyone up for at breakfast? It’s popular in Mexico!

(Are you seeing a fruit-with-dessert pattern here? What’s more, Mexicans often like their fruit with a bit of kick: many street vendors sell fruit curbside…along with red hot chili powder to sprinkle on it.)

A dessert known as a dulce is especially popular in Mexico. A dulce more than likely is a pudding. Tortas (cakes) often have a lovely subtle sweet and are made with chick peas, carrots and cantaloupe. (Again with the fruit!)

Mexicans also love chocolate (not surprising, since they introduced this sweet treat to the world). They love hot chocolate and use chocolate in baking and in candies, as well as in meat dishes.

Check out our desserts the next time you visit one of our Mattito’s locations. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Image courtesy of samuiblue/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How Mexicans Get Ready for the Holidays

With Christmas just a bit less than five weeks away, many of us already are in the throes of getting ready for it.

We’re purchasing gifts, planning meals and parties, sending out holiday cards….and working hard to be good 24/7 if we’re still a believer in Santa Claus.

While the idea of Santa Claus and live Christmas trees in the living room have made their way south of the border, traditional Mexican holiday celebrations are a bit different than in the U.S.

For one thing, the holiday season generally lasts from December 12 through January 6 (the day of the Epiphany, a day that celebrates the revelation, as Wikipedia.com puts it, “the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ.”

The Epiphany also is the day Mexican children get the majority of their presents (rather than on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, as they do in the U.S.).

The holiday season really goes into full swing from December 16-24, as children participate in Posada processions, of which there is one each evening over nine days. A Posada procession honors the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph looking for a room in an inn. Homes along the Posada route often are adorned with paper lanterns, evergreens and even moss.

As they walk in the Posada, children are handed candles, clay figures of Mary and Joseph and a board to place them on. They visit the homes of neighbors and friends, signing songs about the couple asking for a room in the home.

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During the Posada, children walk with a board on which they place Nativity figures such as these (although the Posada figures are made of clay).

The last house they visit finally tells them there is room and they enter the home to have a party with friends and family, plenty of food, games and even fireworks. Breaking piñatas filled with candy is a favorite, traditional game at these festivities

The final Posada takes place on Christmas Eve. It’s now that the children place figures of the shepherds on their board and when they arrive at the house that lets them in, they place a baby Jesus in the manger and then head to a midnight church service with their families.

The celebration of the Epiphany (January 6) also includes eating a cake specially made for the occasion called Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings Cake). A figure of the baby Jesus is hidden in the cake and the child who has the baby Jesus in their slice becomes Jesus’ godparent for the year.

As your own family prepares for this year’s holiday season, don’t forget to treat them to a night of delicious Tex Mex food at a Mattito’s location near you. Feliz Navidad!

Image courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Eating Tex Mex for Thanksgiving

Sure, Thanksgiving traditionally is a time of turkey, breaded stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, string beans, and pumpkin pie for dessert.

But traditions sometimes should be broken, if only to enliven one’s days a bit.

So why not skip the bird this year and give thanks for all that you have by serving your family and Thanksgiving Day guests with a Tex Mex meal?

In fact, you needn’t give up the turkey at all. To transform a traditional Thanksgiving meal into one with a Tex Mex ‘tude, all you need to do is substitute Tex Mex dishes for your traditional sides.

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If you want to try a Tex Mex Thanksgiving meal, you can still enjoy turkey as your main course; just add some Tex Mex side dishes to liven the menu up a bit?

For example, why not try these ideas for your Thanksgiving Day menu:

  • Stuff your bird with chorizo apple stuffing
  • Serve your guests grilled rosemary sweet potatoes
  • A delicious side dish is roasted chili-lime broccolini
  • Try roasted chili cornbread
  • Provide guests with cranberry, apple and orange relish to spread on their turkey slices

To make the grilled rosemary sweet potatoes, you’ll need seven large sweet potatoes (about 6.5 pounds total; they should be scrubbed. You’ll also need about a half cup of extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ cup of rosemary leaves (fresh and finely chopped), one tablespoon of salt (kosher, and one tablespoon of pepper.

Heat your grill to 325 degrees. After cutting the potatoes in half lengthwise, cut each of those halves into three long wedges and then put the wedges onto two rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle them with 1/3 cup of the oil. Turn them to coat. Then sprinkle with the salt, pepper and rosemary.

Grill the potatoes covered (you can grill them in batches, if necessary), turning them every 10 minutes until they are brown and tender, for a total of 15 to 20 minutes. Move them to a serving platter and drizzle them with a bit more oil just before serving.

All Mattito’s locations will be closed Thanksgiving Day, but we will be open the day before and after. Come on the day before (and after you’ve been prepping for the big day) to relax with some delicious Tex Mex food.

Visit a Mattito’s location near you. Contact us today for more information.

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis/FreeDigitalPhotos.net