Author Archive

How to Make the Perfect Guacamole

Sure, guacamole has a lot of calories. But so does just about all other chip dips.

But guacamole also provides you with a ton of heart-healthy fats via its main ingredient, the avocado.

Avocados have a lot of the good-for-you monounsaturated fat within them. Many people believe an avocado is a vegetable, but it’s really a fruit, a fruit that also packs 20 additional vitamins and minerals within its dark green skin.

Guacamole also tastes delicious! It’s the go-to dip for tortilla chips, too.

May3_Guacamole

Delicious, satisfying and good for you! Guacamole!

Read below for a recipe for the perfect guacamole dip (serves two to four).

You will need:

  • Two ripe avocados
  • One-half teaspoon of Kosher salt
  • One tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
  • Two tablespoons (up to one-quarter cup) of thinly sliced green onion or minced red onion
  • One or two serrano chiles, minced, with their stems and seeds removed
  • Two tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro (include the leaves and stems)
  • A dash of black pepper (freshly grated)
  • One-half of a ripe tomato, chopped, with the seeds and pulp removed
  • Chopped red radishes and/or jicama for garnish

To prepare:

  • Cut the two avocados in half and remove the seed. Then scoop out the avocado’s meat from its skin and put the meat in a mixing bowl.
  • Take a fork and mash up the avocado. You want the guacamole to be a bit chunky, so don’t mash the mixture until it’s smooth. Sprinkle the mash with the salt and lime juice (or the lemon juice). Doing so helps the avocados stay green. Then add the chiles, onion, black pepper, and cilantro.
  • Wrap the bowl in cling wrap to keep the air out (air can turn the avocado brown) and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
  • If you plan to add tomatoes to the guacamole, don’t place them in the mix in the refrigerator because tomatoes can lose their flavor if chilled.

Do you have a hankering for guacamole but have no avocados at home? Then get yourself to your nearest Mattito’s location!

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tex Mex Food from A to Z

Let’s have a bit of fun: read below for Tex Mex food from A to Z.

A. Avocado. So delicious. So good for you (lots of healthy fats). Slice some and place them in your tacos. Or whip up a great guacamole dip for your tortillas.

B. Beans. Whether they’re black, refried or pinto, beans are an important ingredient in Tex Mex food. They’re also extremely healthy eating (well, except for the refried beans. But they are soooo good….)

C. Celebration. Tex Mex food is great every day. But tacos or fajitas and some margaritas at your party? Fiesta time!

D. Desayuno. The Spanish word for breakfast. Why not try an American and Tex Mex blend of a scrambled egg burrito for breakfast tomorrow?

E. Every day. Many Texans look at Tex Mex cuisine as something to eat for special occasions (see the letter “C,” above). But we would like to encourage you to eat Tex Mex every day!

F. Fajitas. This delicious dish didn’t originate in Mexico, but the sizzling hot slices of steak, the grilled vegetables on top – heaven!

G. Guacamole. See “A,” above.

May2_AtoZ

Tex Mex cuisine from A to Z.

H. Hot and sizzling. Or hot and spicy. Tex Mex food often is served quite hot (sizzling hot). Many of the cuisine’s spices also can make a meal spicy hot!

I. I love Tex Mex food! Do you?

J. Jalapenos. They are the most-used pepper in Tex Mex cuisine. Long live the jalapeno!

K. Kitchen. The place you want to be when Mom or Dad is cooking up a Tex Mex dish!

L. Love. How most people who’ve eaten Tex Mex describe how they feel about the cuisine

M. Mattito’s. Of course!

N. You thought we were going to say Nachos, didn’t you? And of course we were!

O. Olives. No Tex Mex salad is complete without them. Black olives, of course.

P. Pescado. The Spanish word for fish. Serve your next taco meal with fish instead of beef or chicken.

Q. Quesadilla. A warm tortilla served with melted cheese inside. The Tex Mex version of comfort food!

R. Roasted vegetables. Don’t want rice or beans as a side dish? Ask your waiter for a side of roasted vegetables. Healthy and delicious!

S. Salsa. Whether you like it mild or so spicy steam comes out of your ears, no Tex Mex meal is the same without some salsa.

T. Tacos. Tortillas. Tortas. Taquitos.Tamales. The list of Tex Mex foods that start with “T” goes on and one and one and on….

U. Uva pasa. The Spanish word for raisin. Add some raisins to your next bread pudding recipe for a subtly sweet flavor.

V. Vegetariano or Vegetariana. The male or female vegetarian. Serve burritos filled with rice and beans – the perfect vegetarian Tex Mex meal!

W. Why not eat Tex Mex every day? We ask you: Why not?

X. Extra tortilla chips for the guacamole, please!

Y. You. You and your family should eat more Tex Mex food more regularly.

Z. Zapatos. The Spanish word for shoes. Get your zapatos/shoes on and get yourself to the Mattito’s location nearest you!

Image courtesy of Naypong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Memorial Day Fun with Tex Mex Barbecue

Memorial Day often signifies the unofficial start of summer in the U.S. Many people love to barbecue during the summer, so Memorial Day and barbecue often go hand in hand.

Why not spice up your Memorial Day celebrations with some Tex Mex barbecue?

And because Memorial Day is a specifically American holiday, we recommend barbecue hamburger, but with a Tex Mex twist: a burger with spicy Cajun mayonnaise as your main barbecue offering.

May1_MemorialDayBarbecue

Barbecuing is a typical Memorial Day activity. Change it up a bit with a Tex Mex burger.

To serve this dish to your guests, you’ll need (serves four):

  • A half cup of mayonnaise
  • One teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 and 1/3 pounds of ground beef sirloin
  • One jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
  • ½ cup of white onion (diced)
  • One clove garlic (minced)
  • One tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Four slices of pepperjack cheese
  • Four hamburger buns (split)
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Tomato slices

To make:

  • Preheat your grill for medium-high heat.
  • Mix the mayonnaise and one teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the sirloin, jalapeno pepper, garlic, onion, one tablespoon of the Cajon seasoning, and the Worcestershire sauce (use your hands).
  • Divide the mix into four balls and then flatten into hamburger patties.
  • Lightly oil your grilling surface and place the patties on the grill.
  • Cook for about five minutes on each side (or until well done).
  • During the last two minutes, place a cheese slice on top of each patty.
  • Spread the seasoned mayo on the inside of the burger buns.
  • Top your burgers with the lettuce and tomato and the buns and serve.

If you’d like to enjoy Memorial Day with some real Tex Mex dishes, bring your friends and family to the Mattito’s nearest you. Celebrate the unofficial start of summer with us!

Image courtesy of KEKO64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re a fan of Tex Mex food we probably don’t have to convince you that it’s a good idea to eat it at least once a week

But what if you’re new to this delicious cuisine? Or what if you’ve heard that it’s very fattening and not good for you (all that cheese and beef!)?

But Tex Mex food is delicious and can be very healthy.

Read below for five reasons you should eat Tex Mex food at least once a week.

  1. Tex Mex is full of healthy vegetables. From tomatoes, to red and green peppers, black beans, and lettuce in your tacos or fajitos,  to a side dish of steamed vegetables such as yellow squash, green beans, green peppers, and more, Tex Mex can truly help you get one or even two servings of healthy vegetables.
  2. If you’re looking to lose weight, Tex Mex definitely is your friend. Swap out the beef in your taco for chicken or even fish. Ask your server to go easy on the cheese in your burrito and ask for chicken or fish as the meat instead.  Swap black beans for refried beans and ask for a side of steamed veggies instead of a side of refried beans.

April4_WeeklyCalendar

You owe it to yourself to eat Tex Mex food at least once a week!

  1. Avocadoes provide a ton of heart-healthy good fats. Grill some fish, and place some avocado slices sprinkled with cilantro for a delicious and good-for-you meal.
  2. Burritos can be great – and healthy – “walking” food. That is, substitute fish, chicken or rice in a burrito. Makes sure it’s wrapped tightly and fold a napkin around one end. Start eating the other end and you’ll be able to eat lunch or dinner as you go!
  3. Eat healthy with Tex Mex most of the time, but when you’re really ready to indulge your need for delicious comfort food, Tex Mex delivers. Enjoy a hearty ground beef burrito or taco. Add a size of rib-sticking refried beans. Make sure to enjoy a side of rice. Opt for freshly made, still warm tortilla chips with guacamole to dip them in. Incredibly delicious and highly satisfying. We all deserve such a fulfilling meal at least once a month!

Have you had your weekly Tex Mex meal yet? If not – or even if you have – visit a Mattito’s location near you soon! We look forward to serving you!

Image courtesy of arztsamui/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Little Known Facts About Tex Mex Food

Let’s say you eat Tex Mex food fairly often (we know your name here at Mattito’s, for example).

So you’re pretty well versed in all things related to Tex Mex cuisine. You consider yourself something of a Tex Mex connoisseur.

Let’s have a bit of fun and test your knowledge of Tex Mex cuisine with some little known facts about Tex Mex food, below.

April3_TexMexQuiz

How well do you know your Tex Mex?

Which demographic gets the credit for originating Tex Mex cuisine, Tejanos, Aztecs, Mexicans, or the Navajo People? Tejanos, who are Texans of Mexican descent.

Which is unique to Tex Mex, tacos, huevos rancheros, taquitos, or fajitas? Fajitas. Fajitas are a purely Tex Mex creation; they did not originate in Mexico.

What did the term Tex Mex originally refer to? The Texas-Mexican Railway, which was chartered in Texas in 1875.

New Mexico, California, Texas and Arizona. In which state was Tex Mex cuisine not developed?  California.

Although Tex Mex food is very popular in Southern California (it tends to be called “Mexican food” there), Tex Mex cuisine is heavily influenced by the cultures of the other three states that border Mexico (Texas, Arizona and New Mexico).

Tex Mex started as a regional cuisine. Is it known around the world? Yes. Tex Mex food is popular across the globe. Travelers to London, England – and lovers of Tex Mex – have praised the Texas Embassy Cantina, for example.

Whether you’re a true Tex Mex aficionado or if you’ve never tried this delicious cuisine before, you owe it to yourself to visit a Mattito’s location near you to try one or more of our dishes. We look forward to serving you!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Great Dish Ideas for Your Cinco de Mayo Party

Getting ready to host a Cinco de Mayo party at your home this year?

Read below for some dish ideas to serve as you host a great party honoring Mexico’s victory in 1862 against France in the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexico War.

(Note that Cinco de Mayo is a rather minor holiday in Mexico itself; it’s evolved in the U.S. into a day that celebrates Mexican heritage and culture.)

No matter if you decorate your home with colors of Mexico’s flag (red, yellow and green) or if you have lively Mexican music playing in the background, you must provide great food. The party will be a bust without it (or a success, no matter what).

April2_CincoDeMayoStamp

Read below for some ideas as to what Mexican/Tex Mex dishes to serve at your party.

  • Start with guacamole and chips that your guests may nosh upon when they arrive. Guacamole is delicious and the avocados it’s made of provide your guests with some heart-health benefits.
  • For those who don’t like guacamole – or as an additional dip – create a lovely salsa dip with tomatoes and cucumbers. In fact, consider keeping some large cut cucumber slices in a bowl nearby that your guests may use to dip into the salsa (instead of the usual tortilla chips).
  • Offer shrimp-filled quesadillas with some ground chipotle chili for zest.
  • Create mini crab nachos. Create a crab dip and instead of placing tortilla chips nearby, place the dip in small bowls made of corn tortillas.
  • If providing your guests with a make-your-own-fajitas buffet, be sure to provide some delicious and sizzling hot carne asada as your meat.
  • Offer guests Mexican veggie stacks of grilled vegetables spiced with chili.
  • For dessert, offer coconut flan or bake subtly-sweet Mexican Wedding Cookies.

Parties should be fun for everyone, including the hosts. If you’d rather not cook (and serve and clean) for your Cinco de Mayo party, contact the catering arm of Mattito’s Tex Mex restaurants.

We’re also open Cinco de May (May 5), but we expect to be pretty busy. Contact the Mattito’s nearest you for reservations.

Image by Eric Shalov at fr.wikipedia (Transferred from fr.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

5 Reasons Why Tex Mex Will Always be Popular

Do you think Tex Mex cuisine someday will wan in popularity?

We sure don’t!

Here are five reasons why Tex Mex food will always be popular:

  1. Tex Mex aficionados know that this cuisine is not only delicious, but also good for you. The dishes tend to have a lot of minerals and vitamins within them (so many vegetables!), and so long as you don’t pile on the guacamole and cheese, a Tex Mex meal can be low in fat and calories. In addition to the aforementioned vegetables, Tex Mex dishes often include such healthy foods as black beans, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and peppers. Many dishes now can come served with chicken or fish instead of beef, making the dishes even healthier.
  2. Tex Mex food is just comforting. There’s something about the tortillas (starch), the beans (starch) and the meat (protein) that help Tex Mex dishes stick to our ribs, satisfying our need for being filled.

April1_TheBuzz

  1. The chilies. More to the point: the flavors of the chilies. There’s hot. There’s mild. There’s sweet. Don’t forget smoky. If you love how chilies can bring out a meat’s or a dish’s flavor, you’ll never tire of Tex Mex cuisine.
  2. Desserts are subtle in their sweetness. So much of American desserts are thick with rich icing, chocolate, cream, cheese cake, and on and on and on. Tex Mex desserts, on the other hand, offer a sweet taste that’s more subtle in its sweetness. Many people are tired of being bombarded with sugar; Tex Mex desserts offer a hint of sweetness and plenty of flavor.
  3. Tex Mex dishes are growing in popularity all over the globe. Once a dish enters global status (hellooooo American hamburger), it’s almost impossible to see it disappear.

Do you need your weekly or monthly “fix” of great Tex Mex cuisine? Then make sure you visit the Mattito’s location nearest you. We look forward to helping you get your need for Tex Mex food met!

Photo courtesy Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your Easter Supper Done Tex Mex Style

If you’re wondering what to cook for Easter dinner, you may decide to go the traditional route and serve a delicious ham (yum!).

But why not break from tradition and – especially because you live in Texas – serve an Easter supper that has some Tex Mex/southwestern cuisine roots?

For example, the ham. Why not make a ham with a chipotle-pineapple glaze? The glaze makes the ham smoky and spicy; the chipotle peppers with their seeds see to that. (To keep the glaze mild, remove the seeds from the peppers.

March4_Ham

Easter supper just isn’t Easter supper without ham as the main dish.

Mashed potatoes are almost required during Easter supper. So to make them more Tex  Mex worthy, add a clove or two of minced garlic mixed in with your butter and milk.

Another must-do Easter side usually is asparagus, To celebrate your meal Tex Mex style, place a lemon glaze on your asparagus.

Easter isn’t Easter without cornbread. To add some Tex Mex influence to it, make green chili cornbread.

As for dessert, remember that there’s no Easter Bunny in Mexico, so there are no chocolate bunnies or jelly beans to eat. Instead, serve your Easter supper guests coconut cake with a side of lime or pineapple sorbet.

Once your children have found all of their Easter eggs, make deviled eggs out of them, but do so with a Tex Mex twist: make the filling with roasted red peppers, paprika, garlic cloves, fresh chives, and even chopped almonds!

Mattito’s restaurants are open Easter Sunday, during our usual hours. Make reservations for your large party (6-20 people) by contacting the Mattito’s location nearest you. We look forward to celebrating the Easter holiday with you and your loved ones.

Photo courtesy voraorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Easter Celebrations in Mexico

Easter in Mexico is one of the most important religious holidays of the year; many consider it to be more important than Christmas because Easter is considered such within the Catholic faith. Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geographia (INEGI) reports that almost 90 percent of Mexican practice Catholicism. Hence, Easter’s importance within the country.

The week leading up to Easter Sunday is known in Mexico as Semana Santa (Holy Week), which starts on Palm Sunday (known as Domingo de Ramos) to Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua). However, many school children have two weeks off during this time, so both the week before and the week after often are said to make up the Semana Santa holiday celebrations.

This two-week break often makes up a Spring Break for residents of Mexico. Like many Americans celebrating their own Spring Break, many Mexicans head to the beach at this time, so be prepared if you find yourself heading to the country’s gorgeous beaches the weeks before and after Easter.

March3_EasterBunny

You won’t see or hear any mention of the Easter Bunny in Mexico during the Easter season.

Mexicans celebrate Holy Week starting on Palm Sunday with a parade of a man portraying Jesus riding a donkey through town as residents strew his path with palm fronds (this commemorates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem the Sunday before his crucifixion).

Maundy Thursday is celebrated with foot-washing ceremonies (to commemorate Jesus’ washing the feet of his apostles), as well as visiting up to seven churches.

Good Friday sees somber processions in many Mexican cities and towns of Jesus carrying his cross to his crucifixion. Passion plays, which depict the actual crucifixion, also often are produced in towns throughout the country.

Easter itself is celebrated quietly – no Easter Bunny and his baskets of candy – in Mexico, with entire families heading to Mass. Some cities, however, do celebrate later in the day with fireworks and parades with music and dancing.

Visit one of our many Mattito’s locations during your Spring Break to enjoy the best Tex Mex cuisine in the Dallas and Frisco areas.

Photo courtesy Idea go/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Menudo Done Right

Have you heard that menudo is, well, disgusting? Not tasty? Just plain ugh!?

If so, then you haven’t had menudo done right, because when menudo is cooked and made correctly – OMG! It’s heaven on earth.

We kid you not.

For the uninitiated, menudo is a traditional Mexican soup made primarily of – are you ready? – a cow stomach (tripe) broth that has red chili peppers as its base. The soup also includes chopped onions, lime and chopped cilantro. Crushed oregano and red chili peppers also often make their way into menudo.

First, a truth: menudo does stink when cooking the cow stomach. It just does. The smell has nothing to do with how good the soup will – or won’t – taste once completed. The tripe itself can look repulsive.

March2_Cow

Yes, you read that correctly: menudo is a soup made from a cow’s stomach (tripe).

Some people describe the smell of cooking tripe to be akin to the odor emanating from a barnyard. Understand, however, that, when done right, finished menudo doesn’t smell of poop, it smells of the chili, oregano, and other spices. It smells pretty darn…OK.

Yet (also when done right) menudo tastes delicious!

Menudo done right should have the tripe cooked to the point where it’s tender (but will still have a bit of the rubbery “feel” of tripe). The broth should taste something like tortilla soup, but a bit less smoky. The tripe itself should be mild, allowing you to savor all flavors brought about by the chilis, cilantro, oregano, etc.

Menudo traditionally is a family food and is made for the entire household. It can take a very long time to make – tripe take hours to cook—and so it’s often associated with love – someone took hours to make this – and the warmth of family. Menudo often is cooked by several people at once, making it something of a communal activity, and then eaten as a feast.

Many people believe menudo makes a great hangover remedy.

The soup often is served at breakfast.

We don’t offer menudo on our menu here at Mattito’s (we’re not open in the early mornings, after all). But if you must have it, contact us and we’ll see what we can do. (Be sure to give us a few days’ notice because of the time it takes to cook menudo right.)

Photo courtesy dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net