Monday, February 05, 2007

Simple Mexican Menu

I mentioned last night that I was cooking a Mexican dinner for us to enjoy during the Super Bowl. I thought I would enclose a few simple recipes for those of you who might enjoy these dishes. Let me say, these are not authentic Mexican recipes. I have adapted some of my recipes to a quicker version for those nights that I want a homemade quick meal. I use Enchilada Sauce from the supermarket, but I would LOVE to have a recipe to can my own. The supermarket sauce is expensive, and there are "things" in it that I am sure could be left out. However, I have never seen a recipe for homemade enchilada sauce. If you have one, please send it my way!

Beef Enchiladas

Brown ground beef and onions. Drain fat. Add 1 can Enchilada sauce along with a regular size can of Tomato sauce to the ground beef. Add several cups of shredded cheddar cheese depending on your liking. I use about 2 cups. Also sprinkle in ground cumin, ground cayenne pepper, and a little salt. The amounts depend on how hot you like your food. Stir well. Fill a flour tortilla and roll up into an enchilada and lay in a buttered 9x13 pan. I make 2 9x13 pans. After the pans are filled with the enchiladas, pour another can of enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, then sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Sprinkle as much or as little as your family likes. Bake uncovered at 350 for 20-25 minutes until warm and cheese has melted. These are great to freeze. I freeze them BEFORE I bake them. To serve, let the pan of enchiladas thaw, and then bake them covered for about 35-40 minutes.

Easy Bean Dip

In a pie plate, add one can of re fried beans. Smash down to cover pie plate. Add salsa to cover re fried beans. Cover with tinfoil and bake in 350 degree oven. After it has warmed well, take off tinfoil and cover with Shredded Cheddar Cheese. Heat again in oven until cheese has melted. Serve warm with chips.

Tortilla Wraps

8 oz. creme cheese
1/3 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup chopped green onions
package flour tortilla shells

Beat all ingredients in mixer except for the tortilla shells. After mixture is well mixed, spread evenly on tortilla shells. Roll up and refrigerate until firm. Cut into slices. Serve as an appetizer.

Elephant Ears

In a small amount of oil, fry flour tortilla shells one at a time. These will brown quickly so be prepared to turn them over quick. After browning both sides, drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Serve hot for dessert. My kids love these elephant ears, and they make a very quick dessert for a Mexican meal. I wait until the end of the meal to fry these because they are not near as good once they have cooled. It takes only a few minutes to make 7 of these for my whole family.

Mexican Salad

In large salad bowl mix,

Romaine lettuce torn into bite size pieces
About 1/4 cup niblet type can corn well drained
About 1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and well drained
Croutons to your liking
Shredded Cheddar cheese amount to your liking
Fresh tomatoes if available
Chopped Green Onions

For dressing:
Mix equal portions of salsa and Caesar Salad dressing. Pour over salad and serve immediately.

Hope you enjoy this quick version of a Mexican meal!

grace and peace,


Erin said...

Enchilada Sauce Recipe (Very Easy)

1 can of tomatoes
1 1/2 C Chicken Stock or any Stock
6 Ancho Chiles or Chiles (or 4 Tbsp of Chile Powder will do in a pinch)
Salt to taste
1/2 Onion
2 Garlic Cloves or to taste

Put the can of tomatoes in the blender or food processor. Rehydrate Ancho Chiles if dried in boiled water. Add 1/2 C of the Stock. Put in remaining ingredients. Blend. Put mixture on the stove and reduce for about 5 minutes. Add the last cup of stock and reduce about 10 minutes or until thickened. Then it is ready to use on your enchiladas. This is a true Mexican recipe

April Jo said...

In Mexico, there are as many sauces for making Enchiladas, as there are cooks... Here is a Northern-Style Red Chile Sauce recipe. I'll post another comment with a green Tomatillo Sauce recipe...

8 medium (abt. 2 1/2 oz total) dried New Mexico/California chiles, stemmed, seeded and deveined
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Note that mexican oregano and italian oregano are NOT the same... if you can get the little packs of oregano in the Mexican section of the store.)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (or a generous 1/2 tsp ground cumin)
1 1/2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
2 cups beef broth
salt for seasoning
optional: 2 tablespoons Masa Harina if you want a thicker sauce

1. The chiles: Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat and tear the chiles into flat pieces. Toast them on the hot surface a few at a time, pressing them down firmly with a metal spatula for a few seconds, until they crackle and change color, then flipping them over and pressing them down for a few seconds more. Cover the chiles with boiling water, weight down with a plate to keep them submerged, soak 30 minutes, then drain, reserving 1 cup of the soaking liquid.

2. The sauce base: Transfer the chiles and reserved liquid to a blender jar. Add the garlic, onion, and oregano. Pulverize the cumin seeds in a mortar or spice grinder, and add to the chile mixture. Blend until smooth, then strain through a medium mesh sieve.

3. Fry the sauce base in 1 1/2 tablespoons lard or oil over medium-high heat, until thick. Stir in 2 cups beef broth, partially cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Season with salt. For a thicker sauce, add 2 tablespoons masa harina with the broth.

Erin's recipe is definitely much easier, but this is the was my mother-in-law in Mexico would do it. (Except she would be cooking it over an open fire instead of a stove... but I don't think you want THAT authentic! lol)

I can't tell you how to can it, but it is very yummy!

April Jo said...

Chile Verde (Tomatillo Sauce)

1 lb (11 medium) Fresh tomatillos, husked and washed OR 2 13-oz cans tomatillos, drained
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 chiles serranos or 2 jalapeƱos), stemmed
5 or 6 sprigs fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
2 cups any puoltry or meat broth (depending on how the sauce is to be used)
Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth)

1. The tomatillos: Boil the fresh tomatillos and chiles in salted water to cover until tender, 10-15 minutes; drain. Simply drain canned tomatillos.

2. The puree: Place the tomatillos and chiles (raw chiles if using canned tomatillos) in a blender or food processor, along with the cilantro, onion, and garlic; if using a blender, stir well. Process until smooth, but still retaining a little texture.

3. The sauce: Heat the lard or oil in a medium-large skillet set over medium-high heat. When hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply, pour it all in at once and stir constantly for 4 or 5 minutes, until darker and thicker. Add the broth, let return to a broil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.

I HIGHLY recommend Authentic Mexican, a cookbook by Rick Bayless... I took these recipes from there because he explains it so much better than I could... but the recipes he has in this cookbook are truly authentic, and he takes the time to explain the little differences in the culture as well. My husband is from Mexico, so we cook a lot of Mexican food. This keeps my husband from getting to homesick for his mother's cooking! ;)