Tag Archives: Tex Mex

Pan Seared Tex Mex Steak Tacos

Because tacos happen more than just on Tuesday’s at my house. The inspiration for this steak was the carne asada steak seasoning I found at the market. I am pretty strict when it comes to purchasing pre-mixed spice rubs or seasonings. I really enjoy mixing my own at home. I have a big selection of spices in my pantry and feel better knowing that there are just spices in the mix when I season my foods. But curiosity got the best of me and I had to try it. I was sold as soon as I tried my first slice of chuck steak warm out of the cast iron skillet.   And we could not have taco night with homemade tortillas. I have to say I prefer corn tortillas for my tacos, but I had already prepared the flour tortillas for a previous recipe. So taco night turned into Tex Mex Taco Night, with some colby jack cheese, guacamole and fresh lettuce.

 

Pan Seared Chuck Steak

Pan Seared Chuck Steak
For Steak
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds chuck steak
Kosher salt
Weber brand “Carne Asada” steak rub
*if you can’t find the Weber brand, use any coarse dry rub seasoning, add cumin, chili powder and crushed oregano
Oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

I rarely ever buy pre-mixed spice blends, but I am happy I did not pass this one up!
I rarely ever buy pre-mixed spice blends, but I am happy I did not pass this one up!

 

For Fluffy Flour Tortillas
1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 salt,1/3 cup shortening, melted and 1/2 cup hot water

These thick homemade flour tortillas reminded me of the texmex style gorditas from the local chain restaurant. Lol!

These thick homemade flour tortillas reminded me of the texmex style gorditas from the local chain restaurant. Lol!

 

You will also Need
your favorite salsa or hot sauce
guacamole
shredded cheese, I really enjoy the colby jack for these tacos
mexican crema or sour cream with a little lime juice and salt mixed in
shredded lettuce

*Sides of rice and beans and lime wedges

Type in salsa or hot sauce into the search bar here on the blog to find a variety of fresh made salsa’s for your next taco night.

It's family style! Let everyone build their own plate and tacos.
It’s family style! Let everyone build their own plate and tacos.
Cook for the ones you love!
Cook for the ones you love!

Directions

1. Season the steak lighty woth kosher salt on both sides. Then season the steak generously with carne asada spice rub on both sides and rub in with your hands. Place in plastic bag and marinate overnight.

2. For tortillas, mix dry ingredients, set aside. In a bowl, add hot water to melted shortening. Gradually add the liquids into the dry ingredients until dough forms.

3. Roll out 10 dough balls, flatten slightly, and transfer to a plate. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. When ready, preheat griddle or comal to medium heat for 5 minutes. On a floured flat surface, roll out tortillas to about 5 inches. Cook on the hot griddle for about 30 to 35 seconds per side. Tortillas should puff up while cooking. Transfer cooked tortillas to a clean kitchen towel and keep covered.
4. When you are ready to cook steak, remove it from refrigerator at least 30 to 40 minutes before so it comes to room temperature. when ready, preheat cast iron skillet to medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. When good and hot, add butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Place steak in pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, without moving, on each side. This is for a medium/rare steak. If you like it more well done, add one more minute per side. Remove from pan onto cutting board and tent loosely with foil paper for 5 minutes. Slice steak thin against the grain. Warm the tortillas and serve right away. Yields 2 – 4 servings for tacos.

Pan Seared Tex Mex Steak Tacos

Easy Enchilada Sauce~ Spices in the Cupboard

Street Style Enchiladas are a variation to a traditional rolled plate of enchiladas. Often sold in puestos from street vendors in the mercados or road stands in various parts of Mexico. The stand out flavors come from the flavorful enchilada sauces which are typical prepared using dried chile peppers.I found myself with only a few dried peppers, so decided to make good use of the spices in my pantry. For this version in todays blog post, I gathered my best spices out of the  cupboard and prepared a Tex Mex version of enchilada sauce. I often explain to friends that my family’s version of enchiladas was all about the garnishes. Lightly garnishes with fresh ingredients, such as crisp lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and just a sprinkle of crumbled queso fresco. At the end of the blog post you will find a recipe for Enchilada Casserole. Great for a big crowd or large family.

Street Style Enchiladas with shredded pork and topped with salsa verde
Street Style Enchiladas with shredded pork and topped with salsa verde

For the Sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons chile ancho powder (dark, mild)
2 tablespoons red chile powder (bright red, mild)
* I use Gebhardt brand, if you cannot find a mild red chile powder, just add 2 more tablespoon of chile ancho powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1 teaspoon granulated onion powder
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crushed
1/2 tablespoon dry onion flakes, optional
4 cups  chicken stock or broth (In a pinch I will use chicken soup base to make a broth) 

You will also need

1 envelope Knorr brand Sazon with annatto
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

Tips~ I like to prepare a double batch of this sauce. It freezes well and makes for a quick night meal with a  few tortillas and a store bought roasted chicken.

I have a big selection of spices in my cupboard and try to use them in as many recipes as possible. Spice it up!
I have a big selection of spices in my cupboard and try to use them in as many recipes as possible. Spice it up!
A silky and easy enchilada sauce using spices in your pantry.
A silky and easy enchilada sauce using spices in your pantry.

 

You will also need
12 corn tortillas
canola or olive oil
3 cups cooked (finely shredded) chicken, beef or pork
Lettuce or cabbage, finely shredded
Tomato slices or wedges
1 avocado sliced
Queso fresco crumbled
Mexican crema
Salsa or hot sauce of your choice
Cilantro, chopped
Lime wedges

Dip corn tortillas in the sauce, then lightly fry them for 30 seconds per side. Fill with your favorite shredded meat, cheese or roasted vegetables.

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat the 4 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.

2. Add in all of the remaining ingredients for the sauce in the order listed, making sure you whisk now and then. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and taste for salt. Cook at a simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until it thickens. Turn to low heat.

3. Transfer the shredded meat to a medium pan and mix in 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce, just enought to moisten the meat. Cover and keep warm on low.

4. In a separate skillet, preheat 1/4 cup of oil to medium heat for a few minutes. One at a time, dip a corn tortilla into the enchilada sauce, then fry it in the oil for 30 seconds per side. Transfer to baking pan, fill with a couple tablespoons of meat and fold over like a taco. Continue dipping and cooking tortillas until all done. Serve right away or keep warm in a low temperature oven. Ladle any extra sauce over enchiladas right before serving. Garnish with your favorite toppings listed. Yields 4 servings.

Street Style Enchiladas prepared with an easy enchilada sauce made from  spices in your pantry
Street Style Enchiladas prepared with an easy enchilada sauce made from spices in your pantry
This enchilada sauce was prepared in the same way as recipe above, with the added 1 cup of roasted pureed tomatoes. Filled with thinly sliced steak.
This enchilada sauce was prepared in the same way as recipe above, with the added 1 cup of roasted pureed tomatoes. Filled with thinly sliced steak.
Street Style Enchiladas with a Roasted tomato Enchilada Sauce, filled with Thinly Sliced Steak
Street Style Enchiladas with a Roasted tomato Enchilada Sauce, filled with Thinly Sliced Steak

 

Enchilada Casserole for a Crowd

When cooking for a large family gathering, I like to prepare a big pan of layered enchiladas.
When cooking for a large family gathering, I like to prepare a big pan of layered enchiladas.
Layered Enchilada Casserole
Layered Enchilada Casserole
Layered Enchilada Casserole
Layered Enchilada Casserole

You will need

A double batch of Easy Enchilada Sauce, see recipe above

4 cups cooked and seasoned ground beef

2 cup diced, fried potatoes

3 to 4 cups shredded jack or chihuahua cheese

18 corn tortillas

Smoked Paprika and Mexican Oregano

In a deep dish lasagna pan, cover the bottom with enchilada sauce. Layer 6 corn tortillas to cover the bottom. Add 1/3 of beef and 1/3 of potatoes. Cover with sauce and 1 cup of cheese over top. Repeat 2 more layers, ending with sauce and cheese on top. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and crushed mexican oregano. Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 40 minutes. Under the broiler the last few minutes to brown the cheese. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Yields up to 10 servings.

Que Es Eso? Es Queso! Melted, Shredded, Crumbled and Sliced

Queso Blanco, a warm, silky and creamy cheese dip served in thousands of Tex Mex and Mexican restaurants through out the country. I did not have my first bowl of nachos until I moved to Texas from California in 1979. I was hooked! It was not this queso blanco version, but that bright orange version served over salty, round tortilla chips and topped with jalapeño rings. It was new and exciting, lol! Soon after that, we had Mom preparing nachos for us at home every weekend. I guess you could say, that nachos were not a California thing, but it did not take long to catch on. During my seven years in Texas, I had my fair share of nachos.

I ended up married to a wonderful man, that happens to not be so crazy about cheese, ha, ha, ha! Soon the nachos went by the wayside, but years later I found myself preparing a big batch of queso blanco every week for  Fiesta Friday’s. I prepared a mexican lunch once a week for a whole year at a specialty kitchen store, Front and Center, where I happen to teach cooking classes as well.  This blog post is dedicated to queso, melted, shredded, crumbled and sliced…. These are some of my  favorite cheese recipes. 

Queso de Freir~ Fried Cheese Crostini September 23, 2014

Fried Cheese on Crostini topped with Salsa, Oregano, Cilantro and Olive Oil
Fried Cheese on Crostini topped with Salsa, Oregano, Cilantro and Olive Oil

Easy Peasy recipe! Lol! Sorry, had to say it.

1 package of Queso Tropical, queso de freir

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 baguette, sliced at a bias for crostini, toasted(8 half inch slices)

1 cup your favorite salsa, red or green recipe (check out all of my favorite salsa recipes under the category section. Many to choose from)

Chopped cilantro

Mexican oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Queso Tropical, queso de freir....
Queso Tropical, queso de freir….

Slice the cheese into 8 equal slices. In a large skillet at medium/low heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and toast the garlic slices until golden. Remove from oil, turn heat up to medium. When hot, add the cheese slices and cook for just a 20 to 30 seconds per side or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on toasted crostini slices. Garnish with salsa, cilantro and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Serve right away. Yields 4 servings as an appetizer. 

Queso de Freir~ fried Cheese on Crostini with Salsa
Queso de Freir~ fried Cheese on Crostini with Salsa
Fried Cheese, Tropical brand
Fried Cheese, Tropical brand

 

Grilled Veggie Quesadillas August 11, 2014

Grilled Broccoli, Squash, Sweet Onions and Red Bell Peppers with Chihuahua Cheese and Homemade Tortillas
Grilled Broccoli, Squash, Sweet Onions and Red Bell Peppers with Chihuahua Cheese and Homemade Tortillas

Grilled Veggie Quesadillas can be made with a variety of vegetables. After a quick trip to the farmers market last weekend, it was time for a grilling session. One of my favorite things to do is to grill a big batch of my favorite vegetables and keep them in my refrigerator for different meals during the week. And if you are worried about not using up that quickly, just toss them lightly in your favorite vinegar and this will preserve them a little longer, until you are ready to use them. The vegetables  are great for sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups and really tasty for preparing quesadillas. This was my first time grilling broccoli. It was not bad at all. The stem towards the end, was a a little tough, so I think that next time I would just steam them for a few minutes in the microwave before grilling. The tasty, melty Mexican cheese made up for the tough piece of broccoli though, ha, ha, ha!!

1 small head of broccoli 
1summer squash or zucchini

1 small red bell pepper
1 small sweet onion

Grilled vegetables add so much flavor to any of your favorite dishes.
Grilled vegetables add so much flavor to any of your favorite dishes.

*Slice or chop your vegetables in big pieces so they are easier to grill. Try slicing the broccoli so it has one flat side.
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups Chihuahua, jack or any good melting cheese, shredded
8 Fajita size flour tortillas

Preheat grill to medium/high heat. Drizzle olive oil on veggies and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables directly on the grill or on a pan made for the grill. Grill for 7 to 10 minutes, turning as needed. Chop into smaller pieces before assembling quesadillas. For quesadillas, add about 1 ounce of shredded cheese to one tortilla, 4 tablespoons of grilled veggie mix, more cheese and then top with another tortilla. You can cook on the grill or on the stove top in a non stick pan at medium heat. I cover with a lid so it creates some steam and helps the cheese melt easier. I did not brush the tortillas with any oil or butter, but you can do this while cooking them for a crispier finish. 

Grilling broccoli for the first time. It only takes a few minutes. I would steam them in the microwave for a few minutes before grilling next time.
Grilling broccoli for the first time. It only takes a few minutes. I would steam them in the microwave for a few minutes before grilling next time.

* Both of the cheeses pictured are excellent melting cheeses for quesadillas!

Was excited to find shredded Chihuahua cheese at my local market.
Was excited to find shredded Chihuahua cheese at my local market.
The grilled broccoli was absolutely delicious in the quesadillas!
The grilled broccoli was absolutely delicious in the quesadillas!
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas with Mexican Cheese
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas with Mexican Cheese
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas served with both red and green salsa's.
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas served with both red and green salsa’s.

Tips~ The recipes for the red and green salsa’s and homemade flour tortillas can be found right on my blog. Just search under categories for ” A Trio of Summer Salsa’s” and “Tortillas” .

Grilled Veggie Quesadillas
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas

 

 

 

 

Warm Queso Blanco
Warm Queso Blanco, the homemade chip recipe is on the blog


1 1/2 pounds american style cheese, diced
8 ounces monterey jack cheese, pepperjack or with jalapeño, shredded
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup diced pickled jalapeños, optional

* I found an 8 ounce pack of pepperjack slices and added that as well

 

The Makings of Queso Blanco
The Makings of Queso Blanco


Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat to medium/low and let come up to temperature and melt slowly. Stir as needed. Serve right away. Yields about 4 1/2 cups.

Tips~ Make sure the American cheese is not labeled as “Cheese Product” on the package.

Mex-Tex Queso Blanco with Homemade Chips and Jalapeño Strips
Mex-Tex Queso Blanco with Homemade Chips and Jalapeño Strips

 

Queso con Chiles Toreados

A slightly more complex recipe than the first, but still very tasty!

Queso con Chiles Toreados, a few more ingredients than the first recipe, but equally tasty!
Queso con Chiles Toreados, a few more ingredients than the first recipe, but equally tasty!


4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup hot turkey or pork sausage (2 links; remove the casings)
4 to 6 large jalapeño peppers, stems removed (I left the seeds in, however)
1/3 cup diced sweet onions
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup white extra sharp cheese, shredded
1 cup Oaxaca or string cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Tabasco hot sauce or to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Tips~ You could substitute mexican style chorizo for the hot turkey sausage. 

Chiles Toreados
Chiles Toreados are simply chile peppers that are roasted on a comal until they blacken and blister a little. They have so much more flavor!

 

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil to medium heat. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from pan onto a plate.

2. To that same pan, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Cook the jalapeños for a few minutes or until the skins start to blister and blacken in spots. Remove from pan.

3. Again to that same pan, add the last 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, dice up the jalapeños. I left the seeds in.

4. Add the flour to the onions and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and continue cooking until it starts to form a thick sauce. Add in all of the remaining ingredients; remove from heat. The cheese will melt right away. Transfer to serving dish and serve with tortilla chips or tostadas. Yields about 4 cups.

A Tostada with Queso con Chiles Toreados and Hot Sausage
A Tostada with Queso con Chiles Toreados and Hot Sausage

 

Queso Fundido with Peppers and Chorizo

Queso Fundido with Peppers and Mexican Chorizo
Queso Fundido with Peppers and Mexican Chorizo

8 ounce block of Monterey jack cheese, shredded
¼ cup roasted, diced poblano
¼ cup, roasted, diced red bell pepper 

½ cup cooked Mexican chorizo (drain on paper towels after cooking)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Combine all ingredients in a small casserole dish and bake, covered, at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook under broiler for 2 minutes. Serve with chips, crostini or as a taco filling.

Jalapeño Popper Dip, A great recipe I developed for Que Rica Vida. http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/jalapeno-popper-dip/ Click onto picture for recipe.

Jalapeño Popper Dip http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/jalapeno-popper-dip/
Jalapeño Popper Dip http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/jalapeno-popper-dip/

 

Guacamole Filled Queso Fundido, another of my recipes for Que Rica Vida. http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/guacamole-filled-queso-fundido/

Click onto picture for recipe.

Guacamole Filled Queso Fundido http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/guacamole-filled-queso-fundido/
Guacamole Filled Queso Fundido http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/guacamole-filled-queso-fundido/