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Making the Perfect Fajita

Fajitas are not traditional Mexican food – they’re a modern creation, a delicious modern creation.

Served sizzling hot, these dishes actually can be healthy (so long as you use a lean cut of beef).

June4_Fajitas

Take a look below at a recipe we believe can lead to the perfect fajita.

Ingredients you’ll need (serves 4-6):

  • A half cup of soy sauce.
  • A half cup of lime juice (6 to 8 limes).
  • A half cup of canola oil.
  • One-quarter cup of brown sugar (packed).
  • Two teaspoons of ground cumin seed.
  • Two teaspoons of chili powder.
  • Three medium cloves of garlic (about one tablespoon of the garlic, finely minced).
  • Two pounds of trimmed skirt steak. Cut them crosswise into 5- or 6-inch strips.
  • One each of large red, yellow and green bell pepper. (You’ll need to stem them, seed them and cut them into strips that are a half-inch wide.)
  • One white (or yellow) onion. Cut it into half-inch slices.
  • 12 to 16 flour or corn tortillas. Make sure they are hot.
  • Guacamole (if desired).
  • Pico de gallo (if desired).
  • Shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream (if desired).

To make:

  • Combine the lime juice, oil, soy sauce, sugar, black pepper, chili powder, garlic and cumin in a medium-sized bowl. Wisk to combine the ingredients.
  • Transfer a half cup of this marinade into a larger bowl and set aside.
  • Take the steaks and put them in a zipped-lock bag (one gallon size) and add the remainder of the marinade.
  • Seal the bag (squeeze out as much air as possible) and massage the bag until all the meat is completely coated with the marinade.
  • Lay the bag flat in the refrigerator and turn it every couple of hours. Do this for three to 10 hours.
  • While the steak is marinating, toss the peppers and onions into the bowl with the remainder of the marinade. Place in refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
  • When you’re ready to cook the steaks, remove them from the marinade. Wipe off any excess marinade and place the steaks on a large plate.
  • Light a charcoal fire and, when it’s covered by gray ash, pour it out and arrange the coals to the side of the charcoal grate.
  • Set a cooking grate in place, cover the grill and allow it to heat up for five minutes.
  • Clean and oil the grilling grate.
  • Get a large cast-iron skillet and place it on the cooler side of the grill.
  • Transfer the steaks to the grill’s hot side; and cover and cook for one minute.
  • Flip the steaks and cook for another minute.
  • Cook, flip and cover until all the steaks are charred well.
  • Insert a thermometer (instant-read type) and make sure the steaks’ centers are 115 to 120 degrees F (if you want medium-rare steaks) or 125 to 130 degrees F (for medium).
  • Transfer the steaks to a large plate.
  • Cover (tent) with foil and leave them there for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the iron skilled to the grill’s hot side and let it preheat for two minutes.
  • Add the onion and pepper mix and cook it, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should soften and begin to char in spots (takes about 10 minutes).
  • Once the vegetables are cooked, transfer the steaks to a cutting board and pour any juice from the plate into the skillet with the vegetables. Toss the skillet to coat the vegetables with the juices.
  • Move the vegetables to a warm platter.
  • Slice the meat thinly and against the grain.
  • Transfer to the vegetable platter.
  • Serve immediately (the meat needs to be hot) with the hot tortillas. Add the guacamole, pico de gallo, condiments, etc., to preference.

Try making your own fajitas, then visit Mattito’s to see if we make a better one! Visit a Mattito’s near you today.

Image courtesy of KEKO64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When it comes to your Fourth of July party, you want things simple. After all, you’ll probably be outdoors, it probably will be Texas hot (and that’s HOT!), and you may be by the pool and will want to enjoy lazing in it yourself.

In fact, just because you’re the party host or hostess doesn’t mean you have to work to make sure your guests have fun: you want to enjoy Independence Day, too.

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The great thing about Tex Mex party food is that most of it can be made ahead of time, leaving you free to actually enjoy your own party!

Yet perhaps the best way to incorporate Tex Mex food with your Fourth of July celebration is to mix Tex Mex with that All-American favorite, the hot dog.

To make a Tex Mex hot dog, all you need are grilled and hot frankfurters, buns and lots and lot and lots of Tex Mex toppings.

Instead of the usual mustard, relish and ketchup, have on your hot dog toppings table the following:

  • Cubed avocado
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Black beans (maybe even white beans)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Fresh corn kernels
  • Chopped onions

As for the sauce, try drizzling Crema Agria Mexicana on the dogs (once they are snug in their buns with all their toppings). Made by Darigold, this topping is similar to sour cream, but offers up a spicy as well as salty taste, helping the flavor of your hot dog and its topping pop!

Want a full Tex Mex menu for your Fourth of July get together? Then call Mattito’s for catering. We can cater your party whether it’s just a handful of guest or a couple of dozen. Contact us today.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you want to start your children out on the right foot when it comes to making Tex Mex dishes at home, look no further than the wonderful quesadilla.

This dish is the perfect Tex Mex dish to make with our kids or grandkids.

Take a look below for an easy-to-create yet very healthy (lots of vegetables and chicken in this quesadilla) recipe for the cheese-and-flour-tortilla mainstay.

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Add even more vegetables to this chicken quesadilla, and you have a very healthy and filling meal.

You will need (serves 2):

  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • Two (2) cloves of minced garlic
  • ½ of a yellow squash (cut it into ½-inch cubes)
  • ¾ cup of diced rotisserie chicken
  • ½ of a red bell pepper (cut it into ½-inch squares)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Four (4) whole wheat soft tortillas
  • Optional: sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup of rinsed and drained black beans (canned is fine)
  • ½ of an avocado (mash it)
  • One tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro

To prepare:

  • Get a skillet and heat one tablespoon of olive oil in it over medium-high heat. Then sauté the garlic in hot oil until the aroma wafts toward you (should take about one minute).
  • Add the yellow squash and cook and stir until it’s softened a bit (about one to two minutes).
  • Stir the chicken and bell pepper into the squash mix and cook and stir until it’s all heated through (about another two minutes).
  • Season the chicken mixture with salt and move it to a bowl.
  • Spray one of the tortillas with olive oil cooking spray and place it in the hot skillet. Then place one slice of the cheddar cheese on it and spread ½ of the chicken/veggie mix on top.
  • Then spoon half of the black beans over the chicken/veggie mixture and half of the avocado over the black beans.
  • Sprinkle half of the cilantro over the avocado.
  • Spray a second tortilla with the olive oil spray and place it on top of the first tortilla (making a tortilla “sandwich”).
  • Cook the sandwich until the bottom tortilla is crispy (about two to three minutes) and then carefully flip the quesadilla sandwich over and cook it until the cheese has melted, and the now-bottom tortilla also is crispy (about another four minutes).
  • Do the same with the remaining two tortillas to make two quesadillas sandwiches.

Quesadillas often are considered to be appetizers, but this recipe makes the quesadilla a true, healthy meal.

When you need Tex Mex food, visit a Mattito’s restaurant nearest you to enjoy quesadillas, fajitas, tacos, burritos, etc. with the entire family. Contact us today.

Image courtesy of KEKO64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 of Our Favorite Tex Mex Food Blogs

We love our blog. It’s nice to write about Tex Mex food, offer recipes, give our readers a bit of Tex Mex history, and talk about how Tex Mex cuisine has evolved.

As much as we love our blog, also have some favorite blogs of our own.

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Read below for four of our favorite Tex Mex food blogs (and one on Mexican food).

  1. The Homesick Texan is all about Tex Mex or Texas food, all the time. It’s written by native Texan Lisa Fain who now works and lives in New York City. In it, Fain shares her favorite recipes, with beautiful pictures, and also provides links to the Tex Mex and BBQ cookbooks she sells on Amazon.
  2. Robb Walsh Texas Eats is the blog of a former Texas restaurant reviewer Robb Walsh (he most recently wrote for Houstonia Magazine and the Houston Press). He also owns a Tex Mex restaurant in Houston and is the co-founder of Foodways Texas, the mission of which is to “preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas.”
  3. The Latin Kitchen is a site that offers up blogs, recipes and just plain great information about all things Latin food, including Tex Mex, Mexican, Spanish, and Latin American cuisines.
  4. Sweet Life is a blog written (as she says on the blog), by a “proud Tejana who feels lucky to have the best of both worlds” because she was raised in Texas by Mexican parents. The blog is full of Tex Mex fusion recipes, as well as great stories and beautiful photos.
  5. While not a Tex Mex food blog per se, we love Lo Mexicano because it promotes Mexican food as we like to promote it: as some of the healthiest cuisine on the planet (when done right). The site offers a blog, as well as Mexican food recipes. The site’s author, Jim Peyton, also plans to offer a healthy Mexican food diet plan on the site. Peyton is not of Mexican or even Texas descent, but he has written four Mexican cookbooks. He knows his stuff!

These are our five favorite Tex Mex food blogs. Do you have any you’d like to share with us?

Once you take a look at the blogs listed above, head over to the Mattito’s nearest you to savor some of the Dallas region’s finest Tex Mex cuisine.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Glossary of Tex Mex Foods

We’ve put together a little glossary/dictionary of common and popular Tex Mex foods and words. Please understand that this is just a small sampling of the many different types of Tex Mex foods and dishes.

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A short Tex Mex glossary/dictionary for you!

Arroz: this word means rice, particularly the white variety. It’s a mainstay in Tex Mex cuisine.

Barbacoa: a Mexican pot roast that is made from a cow’s head. The head is baked with steam for several hours until it’s tender enough to easily peel apart.

Bunuelos: fried pastries that look like tortillas. Often made during the Christmas holidays, this treat often is sprinkled with cinnamon.

Burrito:  large (usually about 10 inches in diameter) flour tortilla that can be filled with different types of food such as rice, meat, vegetables and cheese, and then wrapped tightly. Can be eaten with hands or with knife and fork

Carne: the Spanish word for meat. In Tex Mex cuisine, it usually refers to beef.

Chorizo: a Mexican sausage that’s been created using ground pork and lots of great spices

Cocina: the Spanish word for kitchen.

Comal: the round, flat skillet/grill/pan used to make tortillas.

Frijoles: pinto beans. If seen on a Tex Mex menu, it usually means refried beans.

Huevos: eggs.

Pico de gallo: the Spanish phrase for “beak of the rooster.” In Tex Mex cuisine it usually refers to a dip in which to dip tortillas while waiting for your meal.

Pollo: the Spanish word for chicken.

Queso: the Spanish word for cheese. Now you can see where “quesadilla” comes from.

Tomatillo: a small green fruit that’s (it’s a member of the gooseberry family) often used in making sauces.

Torta: a sandwich. Usually a sub-like sandwich, made one a bollilo (see above).

Bring you newly learned Tex Mex terms to Mattito’s for practice as your order your meal with us. Find the Mattito’s nearest you in order to enjoy some delicious Tex Mex cuisine from our cocina.

Image courtesy of Praisaeno/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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