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.
The steak fajita. You can probably taste it already, the sizzling meat and vegetables piled on a tender flour tortilla with guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream. The question now is: how do you make this culinary creation? Well, here’s how.
- The steak.
Fajitas have traditionally been made with skirt steaks. But as more and more restaurants got into the act, different cuts were used – hanger, sirloin flap and flank steak. While any of these cuts work, some chefs prefer the skirt, hanger and flap because they have the kind of texture that is good for soaking up marinade. Of all the cuts, though, skirt is probably the best because it’s the tastiest. It is important, however, that you don’t trim off too much of the fat.
You want to slice the steak into five or six-inch pieces, so they are easier to work with when grilling.
- The marinade.
There are a number of spices you can use in a fajita marinade, such as chilies, cumin, black pepper, and garlic.
But, according to fajita aficionados, there are three key ingredients to any good marinade – oil, acid and salt. Oil is important for several reasons. First, it makes the marinade thicker and stickier so that it attaches better to the meet. Second, other ingredients in the marinade such as garlic and spices dissolve in the oil, making the flavor more evenly distributed. Third, oil helps the meat cook better.
Acid, provided in the form of lime juice, for example, makes the meat more flavorful. The salt ingredient, which could be added in several forms, such as soy sauce, helps to break down the muscle fiber, which enables the meat to better keep in moisture. Soy sauce itself also has several other advantages. It contains glutamates, which help to enhance the flavor. And it has proteases, which help to break down and tenderize the meat.
The ideal amount of time for letting the meat soak in the marinade is between three and 10hours. If you do it any less than three hours, the marinade does not stick to the meat as well. Any more, and the meat gets a little too soggy. A good way to marinate the meat is in a Ziplock®-type plastic bag. Try to squeeze out as much air as possible, so you get the maximum surface of meat in contact with the marinade.
There is an art to grilling skirt steaks because of their texture. You want to cook them on the grill in a very high heat so you can get the outside charred before you overcook the inside. Make them medium rare at a minimum. Pull them off the grill when the interior temperature gets to about 120 degrees F.
Carve the meat at an angle to the grain for greater tenderness – either at a 90 degree or 45 degree angle.
- The veggies.
The most popular veggies used for fajitas are onions and peppers. Save a little of the marinade to mix with them before you cook them. A quick way to cook the veggies is right on the grill. After you have finished with the meat, put a skillet with the veggies over the coals on the grill and give them a quick sear. You can also pour the drippings from the meat into the skillet as well.
May 13 is National Apple Day. It’s a day to celebrate one of the most popular fruits. And with good reason – in addition to their delicious taste, apples have nutrients that help you regulate your blood sugar, help lower fats in the blood, and are good for heart health, as well.
So, in honor of National Apple Day, here are three recipes for an apple Tex-Mex burrito from Cooks.com.
You Will Need:
- One and one-half sticks of butter
- Two cups of sugar
- One teaspoon of cinnamon
- One-half teaspoon of nutmeg
- Two cups of hot water
- One can of apple pie filling
- Nine or ten flour tortillas
- Mix together the butter, sugar and spices.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then set it aside.
- Dip each tortilla in water, one at a time.
- Put the pie filling in the center of each tortilla.
- Roll them up and put them in a greased baking dish, seam side down.
- Pour the butter-sugar-spice liquid on top.
- Bake the burritos at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Here’s another apple burrito recipe.
You Will Need:
- 12 flour tortillas
- One can of country apple pie filling
- One and one-half cups of water
- One and one-half cups of sugar
- Two sticks of butter
- One teaspoon of cinnamon
- One-half teaspoon of nutmeg
- Spoon a little of the pie filling onto each of the tortillas.
- Roll them up and put them in a 9” x 13” baking pan.
- Heat the water, sugar and butter.
- After heating, add the cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Pour the mixture over the burritos (you can add chopped pecans also if you like).
- Bake them at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Here’s a third apple burrito recipe
You Will Need:
- 7 Pippin or Granny Smith apples
- One cup of water
- One cup of sugar
- One half teaspoon of cinnamon
- One cup of grated cheese
- 12 large flour tortillas
- Peel and core the apples and then slice them.
- Bring the water, sugar and cinnamon to a boil in a medium size pot and add the apples.
- Simmer the mixture until the apples are tender, but not mushy.
- Drain off the juice from the mixture and save it.
- Place equal portions of apple and cheese on each of the tortillas.
- Drizzle two to three teaspoons of the sugar-cinnamon mixture over each tortilla.
- Fold each tortilla and put them into a buttered dish seam side down.
- Drizzle the remaining syrup over the top of each tortilla.
- Bake the tortillas at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Actually, the four things really great Tex-Mex cooks do are things all great cooks do to make sure their food tastes delicious – using fresh ingredients, using spices with care, choosing their cookbooks carefully, and avoiding canned ingredients. Here is a little more information on each of the four.
- They use fresh ingredients.
Fresh is important because it gives food zest and flavor. You want to be sure to use fresh corn, tomatoes, chilies and peppers, cilantro, fruit, beans and meat in your Tex-Mex dishes.
Good cooks know that fresh ingredients are just healthier. They don’t have any chemicals and have not been processed. They are pure and more nutritious. And, as mentioned, food cooked with fresh ingredients just tastes better.
- They use spices with care.
Spices are an integral part of any tasty dish. But you have to know how to use them to add flavor. And that’s what spices should be used for – to enhance the flavor of a dish, not cover it up. So, you don’t want to use too many at any one time.
For some herbs and spices, such as oregano, thyme and basil, you want to crush it in your hand before you add it to help bring out the flavor. To produce a more distinctive flavor, add your herbs near the end of the cooking process; to produce a more blended flavor, add the herbs near the beginning of cooking.
Spices add flavor almost immediately after being added to a dish, so for dishes that take longer to cook, you want to add them near the end of the cooking process so they are still potent when you eat them.
When you use spices in meals that are not cooked, experts recommend adding them several hours before eating so that the flavors can blend in with the food flavors.
There isn’t any general rule for how much spice to add. Much depends on individual taste, and so to a great degree, experienced chefs have learned how much to use through trial and error.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is the potency of red pepper. The flavor of this spice actually becomes stronger as it is cooked, so you want to be careful how much you use, and start with only small increments.
- They use good cookbooks.
Good chefs know who the other good chefs are, and choose their cookbooks with care. They look for cookbooks that have new dishes, that are thoughtfully put together and well designed, and that are focused only on Tex-Mex cooking.
- They never use canned beans.
Again, the watchword here is freshness. And beans are one of the most important ingredients in Tex-Mex cooking, so you never want to use canned.
Tex Mex dishes are fairly easy to make, yet even the easiest of recipes can be improved upon.
Take a look below for three ways we know to make sure the Tex Mex food you prepare at home is as tasty as it can be.
- Always use the freshest of vegetables.
This holds true for any dish with veggies, of course. But because Tex Mex’s vegetables are so colorful (lettuce; red, yellow and green bell peppers; tomatoes, etc.) it’s even more important that you seek out the freshest produce you can find when you head out to your local grocery store or farmer’s market.
Fajitas just aren’t fajitas without fresh red, yellow and green bell peppers.
Green bell peppers can stay fresh (so long as they are refrigerated) for two-three weeks after the day you buy them; red and yellow bell peppers are considered fresh for one-two weeks after purchase. Tomatoes stay fresh for one week if stored on a counter and two weeks if kept in your refrigerator. A head of iceburg or romaine lettuce will stay fresh in the fridge for a week to 10 days.
- Don’t forget your spices.
It’s a myth that the more spices added to a Tex Mex recipe, the tastier the dish. Instead, the amount of spices added always should be done to your preference, not a recipe’s.
That said, spices do bring out the flavor in a Tex Mex meal. Take a look below at typical spices often used in Tex Mex dishes:
- Red onion: often used as you cook beef and chicken.
- Cilantro: absolutely necessary for homemade salsa.
- Chili peppers: habanero and jalapeño are the ones used most often.
- Lime juice: while not a spice, fresh lime juice is used in most Tex Mex marinades and adds a ton of flavor when squeezed over tacos and carnitas.
- Always aim to serve your Tex Mex meat meals sizzling hot!
This is particularly true of fajita dishes – the skirt steak should be spewing tiny liquid drops as you serve it to your guests – but it also hold true of any Tex Mex meat meal (beef, chicken, fish) because meat’s flavor just spills out onto your taste buds when it’s hot.
Image courtesy of KEKO64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net