Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Time Saver for Mexican: Mix Up a Mix

This post shares my all time favorite spice mix and 12 great recipes to use it in!

I love to mix a big batch of this up and put it in jar so I can grab it in a hurry.

Tex/Mex Spice Mix

The basic proportions:
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
I/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1.  Mexican Chicken (or pork chops, tenderloin, steak)

Rub the spice mix into chicken breasts and bake (or grill!) at 350 degrees for about an hour. 

Quick thing to do with above meat - Top each piece of cooked meat with a tablespoon of salsa and a tablespoon of shredded cheese and broil until cheese melts.

Hint: I try to double the amount of meat I need so I can put half in a zip lock freezer bag  - then I have frozen cooked meat on hand to use in any of the following recipes – quickly!

2.  Easy Fajitas: 

Bake/broil the chicken above.

Mix together:1/2 cup olive oil1/4 cup white vinegar1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon pepper1/4 teaspoon garlic powder1/4 teaspoon oregano

Slice different colors of peppers (green, red, yellow) in strips – about a large pepper and a half in total.  Thinly slice a large onion.  Put the peppers and onions in microwave safe bowl along with the oil and vinegar mix above and cook in microwave for 5 minutes.

Slice the baked chicken and put in a serving dish along with the micro-waved onion/pepper mix.

Serve as fajitas with tortillas, shredded cheese, drained and rinsed can of black beans that are also heated in microwave for about 4 minutes.  Or serve on salad.

Hint: If I ever see peppers on sale, I double this, throw half in a freezer bag, and freeze so it’s quicker next time.

3. Cheesy Chicken Sonora Pasta - o.k., I know this calls for processed cheese - but this is really yummy - get the 2% Velveeta if you feel guilty!

Bake/broil chicken above

Make Sauce:
 One 15 oz. undrained can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
24 ounces of cubed Velveeta cheese
One 15 oz. can of drained and rinsed black beans

Put in a pan over low heat until cheese melts – stir every now and then and watch the bottom of the pan and make sure sauce is not burning.

Boil penne pasta according to package directions (I use brown or whole grain)

Toss cooked pasta with cheese sauce. Put on serving platter and top with sliced chicken.  Garnish with chopped tomatoes and sliced green onions.

4.  Mexican Chicken (or pork!) with Tomatillo Sauce - Making this sauce takes a little more effort, yet it's not difficult - I just make sure I freeze some in a ziplock bag for next time!

Tomatillo Sauce

      1 pound or about 11 medium fresh tomatillos or 2 (13oz.) cans tomatillosChopped green chilies (2 small serranos or jalapenos) or 2 tablespoons canned green
6 chopped springs cilantro1 small onion chopped1 large clove of minced garlic or ½ teaspoon of garlic powder1 tablespoon of olive oil2 cups chicken or beef broth

Wash and husk tomatillos. Boil in salted water to cover along with green chilies for 10 minutes. (Don’t do this if using canned) Put in food processor (or blender if you don’t have processor) along with cilantro, onion, and garlic. Process but leave some texture.

Heat the oil in skillet over medium high heat until hot. Pour all the tomatillo mixture in at once and stir constantly for 4 minutes.  Then add the broth, return to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer for 10 minutes  - stir every so often so it won’t burn.

Put chicken breasts (or pork) prepared in #1 above on plate and top with:

Tomatillo sauce, Some drained/rinsed/heated black beans, Some shredded pepper jack cheese

5.  Arizona Chicken and Rice

Season uncooked chicken (or pork or tenderloin) with spice mix

Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and brown meat on both sides (can skip)

Take meat out of pan for a moment and put aside

To the pan add:
1 minced onion
2 shallots (optional)
2 minced cloves of garlic
2 cups rice (brown quick cook or whatever)

Sauté above in the pan for a moment then add and stir in:
2 cans (15 oz.) of chicken broth

Then place the chicken back in the pan, cover the pan with foil or a lid and cook for about 20 more minutes or until the chicken and rice are completely cooked.
 Before serving sprinkle a little bit of parsley on top for color.  You could also just throw every thing in an oven safe dish, and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour until rice is done.

6.  Clean and Healthy Tostadas (Adapted from The Family Chef by Jewels and Jennifer Elmore)

Rub chicken breasts with above spice mix. Broil, bake, or grill chicken.

Spray foil lined cookie sheet with Pam and put corn tortillas on it.  Lightly spray the top of the tortillas also. Lightly sprinkle tops with chili powder for a little color if you want to.  Carefully bake at 350 for about 10 minutes to crisp them up – might have to turn them over at some point. They can burn pretty fast.

Rinse and drain 15 oz. can of black beans. Put in microwave safe bowl. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and 2 teapsoons of Tex/Mex spice mix from above. Microwave 4 minutes.

Make salad:

¼ head cabbage¼ head lettuce1 bunch cilantro leaves chopped2 chopped tomatoes1 sliced avocado (I dip the slices in the vinegar from the onions below so they don’t get brown)Pickled red onion 

To make pickled red onions place following ingredients in a bowl and let sit at least 10 minutes:1 red onion thinly sliced¾ cup vinegar (addition of 1/4 teaspoon each salt & sugar optional)

To make dressing for salad mix ¼ cup of vinegar used for red onions with ½ cup of olive oil

To assemble: place crisped tortilla on plate top with salad, beans, sliced chicken, pickled red onion, shredded Mexican cheese blend, and sprinkle with some salad dressing.

7.   White Bean Chili:


Two 15 oz. cans of chicken brothOne 15 oz. can butter beans, rinsed and draiOne 15 oz. can great northern beans, rinsed and drained2 cooked and diced chicken breastOne diced onion2 diced stalks of celery2 tablespoons of Tex/Mex seasoning mixture from above

Using about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauté onion and celery until tender. (Sometimes I just put the onion, celery and a little olive oil in a microwave safe bowl covered by a plate or wax paper and microwave it for about 4 or 5 minutes)   Add everything else, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so.                 

Serve with shredded pepper jack  cheese  on top.

8.  Chicken  Soup: 

At the lake - Some of Alli's buddies enjoying Mexican soup

2 cooked and diced chicken breasts

2 (15 oz.) cans of chicken broth

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1(15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained

1 (15 oz. can diced tomatoes with the juice

1 medium sized yellow onion, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 tablespoons Tex/Mex seasoning from above 

Using about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauté onion, celery, and carrots until tender. (See the microwave trick in #7 above)

Add everything else to sauted veggies above, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 10 minutes or so.

Serve with tortilla chips, diced up avocado.  You can also add cooked rice to this if you want.

9.  Chili:

  One pound of hamburger 

 1 diced onion

 One 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes 

 One 15 oz. can of tomato sauce  

 One 15 oz. can of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 

 1 tablespoon of Tex/Mex seasoning

Brown a pound of hamburger along with some diced onions. (Leave some diced onions out to serve on top of finished chili.) Drain the grease.  Add everything else and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with chopped onions, shredded cheddar cheese, fritos, oyster crackers, sour cream for toppings

10.  Taco Meat:  (When you forgot to buy that easy little taco seasoning packet at the store!)

1 pound of hamburger,browned and drained

One 15 oz. can of tomato sauce

1 tablespoon of Tex/Mex seasoning from above

Serve with taco shells, shredded cheese, diced tomato, shredded lettuce etc.

11.  Enchiladas

Combine and let simmer for 10 minutes:
                                          Two 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
                                      2 tablespoons olive oil
                                      2 tablespoons Tex/Mex Seasoning

Measure out 1 ½ cups of the above sauce and set aside.  To the sauce that is left add:
            2 diced cooked chicken breasts
            1 diced tomato
            2 tablespoons canned green chilies (1 small can has 4 tablespoons)
            1 pound of shredded cheddar jack cheese
           One 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes drained and cut up.

Mix the sauce that was set aside with another 15 oz can of drained stewed tomatoes and another 2 tablespoons of canned greened chilies.   

Put some sauce mixture on bottom of baking dish.
  Put filling in flour tortillas and place in pan.  Cover with the rest of the sauce. Bake 350 for about an hour.  Put some shredded cheddar jack cheese on top the last 5 minutes of baking time.

12. Uncle Michael’s Guacamole:               

  2 or 3 avocados
  ¼ cup salsa
 2/3 teaspoons of Tex/Mex spice mix
  2 teaspoons lemon Juice
 (Jenn adds 1 tablespoon finely diced onions and diced tomato)

I like to use  the bottom of a wide glass and smash the above all together in a bowl.

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