Archive for the ‘Mexican Fare’ Category

Shredded Pork Tacos

July 15, 2008

These pork tacos were a great weeknight meal. They would be perfect for a busy day when you are out all day because you just pop everything into the slow-cooker and leave it. The recipe is from Make It Simple: The Best of Cooking Light. Now that I’ve tried pork tacos this way, I am eager to try other methods too. I served the tacos with fruit salad.

Shredded Pork Tacos

Source: Make It Simple: The Best of Cooking LIght

Since pork tenderloin is already a lean cut of meat, it literally falls apart after eight hours. Use two forks to shred the meat while the mixture is still in the slow cooker. You can also serve the pork mixture on sandwich buns.

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup beer or water

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (1.25 ounce) package 40%-less-sodium taco seasoning (I made my own taco seasoning)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Stir in cilantro.

2. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup pork mixture onto each tortilla, and top each tortilla with 1/4 cup lettuce, 1 tablespoon cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream. Fold tacos in half. Yield 4 servings (serving size: 2 tacos).

Calories 379 (28% from fat); Fat 11.6g (sat 4.8mg, mono 2.9g, poly 1.2g); Protein 42g; Carb 28.1g; Fiber 3.2 g; Chol 119mg; Iron 2.1mg; Sodium 343mg; Calc 142mg


Double-Decker Chicken Nachos

June 26, 2008

Alex and I are nacho freaks. In fact, it was the first thing we made in an oven after our 3 month stint in an ovenless hotel room. I must say, those take the cake for the best nachos ever simply because we had been oh-so-deprived of all things oven-baked for so long. However, these nachos are our new favorites! They were sooooo yummy! I saw Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Nachos and thought they sounded amazing. Only problem was I didn’t have any leftover brisket. So I decided to adapt the nachos to something we could easily make and that meant grilled chicken!

I loved her idea of stacking an extra layer of nachos on top of the first layer. There is never enough room for all the nachos you want in one layer so this totally solves that problem! I also thought it was very intriguing that she didn’t use frijoles (refried beans) on her nachos. Instead she used the beans from her Pinto Bean recipe. Again, I didn’t have leftover Pinto Beans so I decided to substitute canned Ranch Beans. Lastly, I added Queso Fresco to the top because I had some leftover from the Avocado, Tomato, and Red Onion Salad.

Oh and I should give credit where credit is due, Alex actually was the master behind these nachos. I gave him some guidance but he took over and put them together. Plus, he made his “famous” Pico de Gallo to go with it. Thanks, hubby, for a great dinner!

I’ll try to explain how he did these but you really can do it anyway you want to!

Double-Decker Chicken Nachos

Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Nachos

  • Grill up some chicken sprinkled with a little fajita seasoning until done. Once it has rested, cut the chicken up into small pieces.
  • Place one layer of tortilla chips on a cookie sheet.
  • Drain a can of Ranch Beans and sprinkle a few beans on each chip.
  • Place a chunk or two of chicken on each chip.
  • Sprinkle grated Monterrey Jack cheese and crumbled Queso Fresco on top of chips.
  • Make some Pico de Gallo by mixing chopped tomatoes, jalepeno, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. There’s no real trick to pico de gallo. Just make it with as much of each ingredient as you like to suit your tastes.
  • Sprinkle 1/3rd of the Pico de Gallo on top of the first layer.
  • Repeat this process again with a second layer of nachos.
  • Place the nachos into the oven and broil until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  • When the nachos come out of the oven sprinkle the last 1/3rd of the Pico on top. Cut up an avocado into small pieces and sprinkle those on top as well.
  • Eat and enjoy!

Sausage Dinner-Style Migas

May 15, 2008

One of Alex and my favorite things to do on a weekend morning is to go to our favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint and eat breakfast. Our choices very from breakfast tacos, to Huevos Ranchero, to Chorizo and Eggs (only for Alex after my last chorizo experience). But one of our favorites is Migas!


Migas were originally eaten as a meatless dish during Lent and as a way to get rid of old tortillas. I was surprised to find out (thanks to Google) that Migas are not a traditional Mexican dish, but rather originated in Texas. The basics of Migas are eggs, corn tortilla strips, onions, peppers, and cheese. At the restaurants where we get them they always served with frijoles (refried beans) and flour tortillas on the side so you can make them into tacos.

When I saw the Homesick Texan feature homemade Migas on her blog I knew I must make them right away! We love breakfast for dinner so I transformed this into a more hearty dinner dish by adding ground pan sausage to the Migas. Plus I have an overflowing amount of this Venison Pan Sausage in my freezer thanks to my husband’s kill last deer season. Gotta get rid of it somehow!

Sausage Dinner-Style Migas

Adapted from Homesick Texan


1 lb. ground breakfast sausage, browned and crumbled

8 eggs
1/4 cup of milk or half-and-half
1/3 cup of peanut oil
4 corn tortillas cut into strips
1/2 an onion diced (about 1/2 a cup)
4 jalapeno peppers diced
1 cup of shredded cheese such as Longhorn cheddar or Monterrey Jack
1 to 2 cups of salsa
1 cup of cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a bowl, whisk eggs together with milk. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
2. In a large iron skillet, heat up peanut oil on medium-high, and place tortilla strips into skillet, cooking for about three minutes, turning once.
3. Add onions and jalapenos to the pan, and cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Pour egg mixture and ground sausage into skillet and let eggs sit for about one minute or until set on the bottom and then gently stir.
5. Sprinkle cheese on top of eggs and continue to cook until melted.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste and top eggs with salsa and cilantro.
Serves four. And note that migas go mighty fine with refried beans and flour tortillas.


Beef Fajita Enchiladas

May 13, 2008


Being that I’m a native Texan, I love me some Mexican food. Especially enchiladas….cheesy, gooey, saucy, delicioso!! I’ve tried making enchiladas at home but they have just never stood up to the ones I get from some of my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants….until now. The real key to delicious enchiladas is the sauce. None of the sauces I had tried before tasted right but this one is very very good and it’s quick and easy to boot! Now, this is definitely not an authentic sauce but I think it tastes pretty close to what you might get in a Tex-Mex restaurant here in Texas. If you don’t have leftover fajitas like I did you could make them with anything…ground beef, shredded chicken, cheese, shrimp, pork, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Enchilada Sauce

Adapted from

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken broth/stock
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
salt to taste

1.     Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce heat to medium, and cook until lightly brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning flour.
2.     Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, and onion salt into the flour and chili powder until smooth, and continue cooking over medium heat approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt.

To prepare enchiladas:

Spread about 1/3rd of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Then start filling corn tortillas with whatever filling you desire (I did beef fajitas) and rolling them up. Place enchiladas in bottom of baking dish with the seam side down. Once all the enchiladas are in place, pour the remaining sauce over the top of them; make sure there are no dry spots or they will get too tough. Then sprinkle the cheese of your choice (I used Cheddar) over them to your desired cheesiness. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.


Shrimp and Chorizo Quesadillas with Smoky Guacamole

April 6, 2008

Shrimp and Chorizo Quesadillas

As I was planning this week’s menu, I just happened to stumble across this recipe of Rachael Ray’s on the Food Network’s website. I decided it sounded delicious so I put it on this week’s menu. Turned out I couldn’t wait to make them so I made them the very first night of the week. Alex RAVED about these. He insisted that these be made over and over again in the future.  I thought they were very very tasty but unfortunately there was one thing holding back my enjoyment of them. I made the very stupid mistake of actually reading what all goes into Chorizo. Don’t ever make this mistake if you think you like Chorizo like I did. The ingredients were disgusting and I just couldn’t seem to get over it. It even went so far as to make me almost gag when I was eating the delicious quesadillas, not because they didn’t taste great but because I kept thinking about what all was in the chorizo. Yuck! I really don’t know if I’ll ever to be able to eat the delicious mexican sausage again. Boooo! I will definitely make these again in the future but I will make mine with just the shrimp and the cheese. I think they would still be delicious this way but Alex refuses to let me leave the chorizo out of his quesadillas in the future (apparently the ingredient list didn’t affect him the way it did me). I also really like the Guacamole but Alex says he likes his version of Guacamole better…go figure. 🙂

Shrimp and Chorizo Quesadillas with Smoky Guacamole

Source: Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals

2 ripe Haas avocados
1 lime, juiced
A couple pinches salt
1/4 cup sour cream, 3 rounded tablespoonfuls
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, available in cans on specialty food aisle in Mexican section
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, sliced thin on an angle
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 clove garlic, cracked away from skin and crushed
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed, ask for easy-peels at fish counter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (12- inch) flour tortillas
1/2 pound, 2 cups, shredded pepper Jack cheese

Cut avocados all the way around with a sharp knife. Scoop out the pit, then spoon avocado flesh away from skin into a food processor. Add the juice of 1 lime, a couple of pinches salt, sour cream and chipotles in adobo. Pulse guacamole until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl.Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Brown chorizo 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from pan. Add oil, garlic, then shrimp. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and cook shrimp until pink, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a cutting board and coarsely chop.

Add a drizzle of oil to the pan and a large tortilla. Cook tortilla 30 seconds, then turn. Cover 1/2 of the tortilla with a couple of handfuls of cheese. Arrange a layer of chorizo and shrimp over the cheese and fold tortilla over. Press down gently with a spatula and cook tortilla a minute or so on each side to melt cheese and crisp. Remove quesadilla to large cutting board and repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut each quesadilla into 5 wedges and transfer to plates with your spatula. Top wedges of quesadillas with liberal amounts of smoky guacamole.

From-Scratch Beef Tacos

March 23, 2008

Beef Taco

This is probably my proudest blog update to date. Why, you ask? Because I FRIED something successfully and without burning myself or burning down the hotel room. Woohoo! When I was planning my menu for the week I decided beef tacos sounded good (since we both love Mexican food) but I wasn’t feelin’ the beef mixture made from a packet of seasoning and the pre-fab taco shells from a box. So I started searching the internet and found a recipe and a method for from-scratch beef tacos that I KNEW I could count on because it was from Cook’s Illustrated. I hate to gloat but Alex agreed with me so I must say, these were probably the BEST ground beef tacos I have ever had! I don’t know if we will every be able to eat tacos from a packet and pre-fab shells again. There’s just no comparison. The only downside is that doing it this way is definitely not the quick weeknight meal that you think of beef tacos being. However, you could fry the shells on the weekend, package them in a sealed plastic bag, and then just reheat in the oven on the day of the tacos. That would make it WAY more weeknight-friendly!

Beef Tacos

Home-Fried Taco Shells

Source: Cook’s Illustrated 5/2002 (see link for step-by-step pictures and instructions)

The taco shells can be fried before you make the filling and rewarmed in a 200-degree oven for about 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 taco shells, serving 4

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil, corn oil, or canola oil (I used more than this b/c my skillet is larger than 8 inches. I’d say just get about a 1/2 inch of oil in the skillet.)
  • 8 corn tortillas (6 inch)

1. Heat oil in 8-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat to 350 degrees, about 5 minutes (oil should bubble when small piece of tortilla is dropped in; tortilla piece should rise to surface in 2 seconds and be light golden brown in about 1 1/2 minutes). Meanwhile, line rimmed baking sheet with double thickness of paper towels.

2. Following illustrations below, using tongs to hold tortilla, slip half of tortilla into hot oil. With metal spatula in other hand, keep half of tortilla submerged in oil. Fry until just set, but not brown, about 30 seconds.

3. Flip tortilla; hold tortilla open about 2 inches while keeping bottom submerged in oil. Fry until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip again and fry other side until golden brown, about 30 seconds.

4. Transfer shell upside down to prepared baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining tortillas, adjusting heat as necessary to keep oil between 350 and 375 degrees.


Ground Beef Tacos

Source: Cook’s Illustrated 5/2002

Tomato sauce is sold in cans in the same aisle that carries canned whole tomatoes. Do not use jarred pasta sauce in its place. We prefer to let diners top their own tacos with whatever fillings they prefer. There’s no need to prepare all of the toppings listed below, but cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes are, in our opinion, essential.

Makes 8 tacos, serving 4

Beef Filling
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 small onion , chopped small (about 2/3 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  table salt
1 pound 90% lean ground beef (or leaner)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar (preferably cider vinegar)
  Ground black pepper
Shells and Toppings
8 taco shells (warmed according to package instructions), or Home-Fried Taco Shells (see related recipe)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces), or Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 small tomatoes , chopped small
1/2 cup sour cream
1 avocado , diced medium
1 small onion , chopped small
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
  hot pepper sauce , such as Tabasco

1. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook, breaking meat up with wooden spoon and scraping pan bottom to prevent scorching, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently and breaking meat up so that no chunks remain, until liquid has reduced and thickened (mixture should not be completely dry), about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

2. Using wide, shallow spoon, divide filling evenly among taco shells; place two tacos on individual plates. Serve immediately, passing toppings separately. (I served them with shredded cheddar cheese and homeade fresh guacamole and they were PERFECT!)

Beef Tostadas

Tortas Ahogadas, Courtesy of the Grijalva’s

March 9, 2008

Tortas Ahogadas

This recipe is one that is really special to me. Growing up my mom made it pretty frequently for us and it has always been one of my favorite things she made. She got the recipe from some really awesome family friends of ours (the Grijalva’s) who live in Los Mochis, Mexico. We actually call these friends of ours “Our Mexican Family” because they are like family to us. My mom and dad trusted them enough to send me down to Mexico by myself not once but TWICE to spend the summer learning Spanish and having way too much fun. Some of my best memories from growing up were spent in Los Mochis during the hot summers. One thing the family is known for, besides their kind and welcoming personalities, is their cooking. On my first trip to Los Mochis when I was probably about 7 my mom actually had to tell me to stop eating so many of Irma’s homeade frijoles and tortillas because she was afraid I was going to get sick. This recipe is another one that we ate while visiting and my mom was smart enough to ask them to give us the recipe.

“Tortas Ahogadas” literally means “Drowned Sandwiches” in Spanish. These are meant to be eaten with a fork and knife as you are supposed to “drown” the sandwich with the sauce and thus, render it impossible to eat with your hands. As I was researching other Tortas Ahogadas recipes online today I noticed that almost all of them were made with pork, rather than beef like this one. I’m sure it’s great with pork but I am determined to keep the Grijalva tradition going and use beef roast. Unfortunately, living in Arizona makes it a lot harder to find dried chile peppers than it was in Texas. I was only able to find one kind labeled “California Dried Peppers” so I went with it. Also, I wasn’t able to bring my slow cooker to Arizona with me because it’s too bulky so this was the first time for me to attempt making it on the stove top. Don’t make the same mistake I did and get too impatient and therefore turn the heat up so high that the water starts boiling. It made the roast a little tougher than it normally it is.

Torta Ahogada

Tortas Ahogadas (Drowned Sandwiches)

3 Anaheim Chiles (dry…cleaned of seeds & membrane) As stated above, just use whatever large dried chiles you can find.
3 Pasilla Chiles (dry…cleaned)
1 Kilo (2-3 lb.) beef roast
1 onion (coarsely chopped)
4-6 cloves of garlic
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Teaspoon of oregano
10 sun-dried tomatoes (you can use dry or packed in oil…I used in oil b/c that’s what I had on hand)

2-3 canned chipotle chilies (depending on the amount of spice that you like) to add to broth, after meat has been stewed

Cook the above ingredients in 2 liters of water until meat is tender (I usually use slow cooker on low for about 8 hours but this time I cooked on stovetop for about 2 hours…do not boil, just simmer the whole time) Take out the meat and shred with two forks (so that the pieces aren’t too big for the sandwiches) Cool for a while before proceeding with the next step so that you don’t burn yourself. Add the chipotle chilies to the broth (with meat still removed) and process either in small batches in food processor/blender or use immersion blender (lifesaver!).

½ liter of Crema Fresca (sometimes labeled “Mexican Crema” and can be found in the dairy aisle…or sour cream works too) I just used the whole jar of Crema.
3 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 Teaspoon of mustard (roughly)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Avocado (slices to go on sandwiches)
Bolillo Rolls

Assembly: Lay out a roll and place meat on one side. Then ladle some of the sauce over the top of the meat and top with avocado and Crema. I also drown the tops of the sandwiches with sauce and squeeze a wedge of lime on top. These are fork & knife sandwiches…don’t even think about trying to eat with your hands!  Enjoy!

Drowned Sandwich