Football season will soon be here. And if you are inviting friends over to watch the big game, you are going to need some snacks. So, if you want to be a real hero among your friends, you can give them some Tex-Mex snack favorites while they are watching the game. Here are a few to keep in mind.
- Fajitas with Grilled Cabbage and Scallions
This mouth-watering delight has as its main ingredient skirt steak in a marinade of garlic, lime juice, olive oil, paprika, cilantro, cumin, salt, and onion powder. The steak is served with grilled vegetables, including cabbage, scallions, and onions. You can get the recipe here.
- Dried Chile Salsa
This salsa has chiles de arbol, ancho chiles, onion, garlic and vinegar. The recipe is here.
- Queso with Chorizo
This is a cheesy dish that is made with half-and-half, Velveeta, Monterey Jack, and cheddar cheeses, along with chorizo, chipotle chilis, ancho chiles, and Cotija cheese. Some people might turn their noses up a little at the mention of Velveeta, but is has a texture that is unmatched. Here is the recipe.
These stuffed flour treats are made with tomatoes, ground beef, garlic, hardboiled egg, and green olives. The recipe.
- Jalapeno Cornbread
This is another tasty Tex-Mex snack that your guests will also enjoy. This delicious dish is made with yellow cornmeal, jalapeno and green chilis, along with cheddar cheese and pimento. Check out the recipe.
- Mexican Sandwich
This might be more of a meal than a snack because it has several layers. It has Spanish rice, refried beans, mozzarella cheese, beef cubes, and chili, each separated by a tortilla. Yum! Here’s how you make it.
- Queso Dip
This snack has green chilis, Half and Half, and Velveeta cheese. A real crowd pleaser. The recipe.
- Tex-Mex Snack Mix
This is a quick and easy snack to throw together if you don’t have a lot of time. You start with one bag of microwave popcorn. Make the popcorn in the microwave and pour it into a bowl. Then sprinkle on your desired amount of chili powder. Add a bag of small pretzels, a box of nacho-flavored cheese crackers, and a can of peanuts. Voila! Your snack mix is ready.
- Chicken Taquitos
The delectable dish has a filling of – naturally – chicken, along with chopped tomatoes, green onions, minced garlic, oregano, and chili powder, all tucked inside a fried tortilla. Here’s the recipe.
Once the game is over, if you still have room for great Tex-Mex cuisine, end the perfect start to a perfect football season by having dinner at Mattito’s.
Like many great cuisines, Tex-Mex has an interesting history. There are many facts about Tex-Mex food that may surprise you because, like most things, Tex -Mex and the way it has been prepared has changed over many years. Here are a few interesting, fun facts about Tex-Mex that you may not know.
- Margaritas were invented in Mexico. Maybe.
Well, actually, the origin of the margarita is shrouded in mystery. There are a number of different and colorful stories circulating about how the drink was invented, and only some of them actually take place in Mexico.
However, there is one story that appears to have a wide popularity among the Tex-Mex crowd. This tale places the invention of the drink around 1941, when a woman by the name of Margarita Henkel, who happened to be the daughter of the German ambassador at the time, visited Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico. The bartender there had been experimenting with different kinds of drinks, and supposedly made her one.
- Tortillas were once sold in cans.
This is true. In the 1980s, tortillas were sold in cans. This packaging idea was the brainchild of El Paso’s George Ashley. Ashley first began selling tortillas in 1938. But don’t look for canned tortillas today. You won’t find them.
- The nacho was invented by a Mexican named Ignacio Anaya.
This is according to Tex Mex historians. The story is that in the early 1940s, some military housewives from Eagle Pass, Texas, took a trip to the nearby Mexican town of Piedras Negras. When they stopped for a snack at the Victory Club restaurant, they were seated by the maître d’, the aforementioned Anaya. But Anaya had a problem. No one was yet in the kitchen. So, thinking quickly, Anaya put some sliced fried corn tortillas on a plate, and covered them with melted cheese and jalapeno strips. The women loved it and told their friends. By the way, Anaya’s nickname was Nacho.
Their popularity exploded in the 1970s, when they were first sold in Arlington Stadium in San Antonio, Texas.
- The first man to become famous in the U.S. for making Mexican food was not a Mexican.
He was actually an American, a rather well known Westerner by the name of Buffalo Bill Cody, who opened a Mexican restaurant near Madison Square Garden in the 1880s.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
It’s summertime. And that means outdoor barbecue. In fact, to commemorate the universally loved outdoor barbecue, August 31st has been named Eat Outside Day. And what better way to eat outside in celebration than with a Tex-Mex barbecue. If you are looking for a few ideas on what dishes to make, read on.
- Skirt steak fajitas.
Whoever invented this dish, he had to have grilling in mind. This is a Tex-Mex recipe made for the grill. After giving them a tasty marinade, the steaks grill up nicely and quickly. You can also grill up the peppers and onions.
- Stuffed poblanos with black beans and cheese.
Poblanos are great for stuffing and grilling. These peppers have a fruity taste, with just a hint of sweetness and spice. Experienced chefs like these peppers because they are large enough to get a good amount of filling inside, but not so big that the filling is all you can taste.
A filling really goes well with poblanos and brings out their taste. It is made with rice, black beans, cumin, sour cream, Cotija, cilantros, tomatoes, scallions and jalapeno.
Imagine this marinating your chicken tacos!
- Beer marinaded chicken tacos.
This recipe uses thigh meat, which many Tex-Mex grillers especially like because of their tenderness and flavor. Moreover, it is relatively easy to take the bone out and flatten the meat for the grill. And, because thighs have more fat on them, they grill up well.
Plus, there is a tasty marinade that really brings out the taste. You start with beer – some prefer the darker variety because of its flavor – then add sesame oil, garlic, oregano, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. The marinade brings out the flavor of the chicken, and makes it grill up to a nice brown color.
Then, to finish things off, pop the chicken and some guacamole into a corn tortilla and you are ready to feast.
- Chili spiced skirt steak tacos.
For this dish, before grilling, the skirt steak gets a chili dry rub. Then it’s sliced and put into warm corn tortillas, along with cilantro, tomatoes, and cilantro cream. Yum!
Taquitos are similar to tacos, only more fun to eat. People in Mexico usually deep fry them, but you can bake them also. It is not as hard to do and it is better for you. The tortillas still get nicely browned. Serve your taquitos with sour cream and salsa.
Taquitos with guacamole on top.
Here’s a recipe we found on Food.com courtesy of KelBel:
You Will Need:
- One tablespoon of vegetable oil
- One medium onion, finely chopped
- One garlic clove, minced
- Three-fourths of a pound of lean ground beef
- One-half cup of salsa
- Two teaspoons of chili powder
- One-half teaspoon of salt
- One-quarter teaspoon of pepper
- Ten six-inch flour tortillas
- One-half cup cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, shredded
The first thing to do is heat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and then add the onion and garlic, cooking them for three minutes and stirring often. Add the beef, breaking it up while it cooks and you can no longer see any red. This should take about three minutes.
Then, stir in one-half cup of the salsa, along with the chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook all of these ingredients over a low heat while stirring them occasionally for about 10 minutes.
Put the tortillas on a plate and then place damp – not wet — paper towels over them. Then, microwave the tortillas until they are warm and flexible. This should take just about 45 seconds. Put about one-quarter cup of the beef mixture on each of the tortillas. Spread it out until it is about one inch from the edge, then sprinkle the shredded cheese over the beef mixture.
If we’ve just created a hankering for beef taquitos in you and you can’t wait to make them yourself, come on over to the Mattito’s location nearest you and enjoy some great taquitos today.
Image by Jon Sullivan, Public Domain, via Wikimedia.org
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.