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Glossary of Mexican food

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Mexican Recipes

Lots of "Antojitos" (tacos, etc) recipes in the Glossary section also...some of these recipes are gringo-ized variations of traditional Mexican food, but good for cruiser potlucks, etc.


Original Margarita

The Cointreau-tequila-lime juice Margaritais the original recipe as created by Margarita Sames, a Texas socialite, in 1948.

1part Cointreau liqueur

2parts tequila

Fresh lime juice


Mix Cointreau, tequila and lime juice with ice. Stir, strain into a Margarita glass and serve.


Red Snapper Veracruzana

Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)

3tablespoons fresh lime juice

3garlic cloves

2dried bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed oregano

3/4 cup olive oil or less as desired

Salt and pepper to taste

4(6-ounce) red snapper fillets


Prepare Sauce.

In blender or food processor, blend lime juice, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, oil, salt and pepper to make a marinade.

Place fish in large baking dish and pour marinade over it. Cover and marinate about 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove fillets from marinade and place in another large baking dish.

Bake until fish is done, about 15 minutes, basting with some of the tomato sauce occasionally. Do not overcook.

To serve, place fillets on a platter and cover with remaining sauce, which has been warmed. Any extra sauce can be served on the side, accompanied with white rice.

Makes 4 servings.


Gratin of Chayote and Acorn Squash

1 chayote squash

1 large acorn squash

5 ounces heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tablespoon dried red chiles, minced

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon garlic


3 eggs 1/4 jalape�o, seeded and chopped

4 green-onion tops, minced

1/8 red bell pepper, chopped

Boil whole squashes for 20 minutes. Peel, halve, seed, and chop cooked squash. One at a time, whisk cream, garlic, chiles, cayenne, nutmeg, and garlic salt into eggs. Layer buttered 9-by-12-inch baking dish with half the acorn squash, top with chayote squash, then add remaining acorn squash.  Sprinkle jalape�o, onions, and bell peppers on each layer. Pour egg mixture over squash, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until custard sets.



Tomato Sauce

3/4 cup olive oil

7 garlic cloves, divided

2 cups finely chopped white onion

2 1/4 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped

3/4 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, finely chopped

1/4 cup capers

6 fresh bay leaves or 3 dried

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried oregano

2 sprigs each: fresh thyme and marjoram, or 1 teaspoon each dried

Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4ounces chilies gueros (from an 8-ounce can)

Heat oil in saucepan. Brown 3 garlic cloves and discard. Mince remaining garlic. Brown garlic and onion in oil. Add tomatoes, olives, capers, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, marjoram, salt, pepper and chilies.

Simmer 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Sauce will be thick. Remove from heat and set aside. Use as directed.


Chicken Fajitas

 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1tablespoon each: chopped garlic and black pepper

6tablespoons olive oil

4tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

2pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts


Combine lime juice, garlic, pepper, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper. Marinate chicken covered in refrigerator 1 hour or as long as overnight.

Grill on barbecue grill (over mesquite if desired) until done.

Cut in bite-size strips. Place on warm flour tortillas and add desired toppings -- shredded lettuce, tomato, salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and/or sour cream. Makes 4 to 6 servings.



Ninfa's Chicken Fajita Salad

4 ounces salad mix (favorite choice of greens)

1/2 ounce each: grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese and tortilla strips

2 slices or wedges tomato

1 each: lemon slice and black olive

3 ounces sliced, charbroiled chicken fajitas, seasoned to taste

2 onion rings (optional)

Prepared vinaigrette or red salsa for dressing

Lightly toss greens. Sprinkle with cheese and tortilla strips. Garnish edges of salad with tomato, lemon and olive. Arrange fajita strips and onion rings on top. Dress with vinaigrette or salsa. Makes 1 serving.



Fajita Marinade

4cups light soy sauce (the dark, imported Chinese kind is too strong)

1cup packed brown sugar

1teaspoon each: garlic and onion powder

8tablespoons ( 1/2 cup) fresh lemon juice

4teaspoons ground ginger

1skirt steak (about 3/4 -inch thick) for each of 3 guests (4- to 6-ounce


Warm flour tortillas

Prepared pico de gallo or picante sauce

Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and onion powders, lemon juice and ginger in jar; shake to mix well and dissolve sugar. Let marinade stand in sealed jar overnight. Reserve about 1 cup. Pour remainder over beef and marinate, covered, 2 hours or overnight in refrigerator.

Remove beef from marinade and grill over very hot coals for a short time; it should take only about 10 minutes per steak if meat is 3/4 -inch thick or less. Brush meat with reserved marinade two or three times while cooking.

Chop meat with a cleaver into bite-size pieces. Fold into warm flour tortillas and serve with pico de gallo. Makes about 1 quart marinade.

Notes: As a food safety precaution, do not reuse liquid in which meat has been marinated.

The secret to tender fajitas is a hot fire and short cooking time. Meat should be no more than 3/4 -inch thick. Flank steak, boneless sirloin, tenderized round steak, or boneless chicken breasts or chunks may be substituted for skirt steak.



Carrot and Onion Relish

2each: carrots, sliced in rounds, and onions, sliced

1jalape�o pepper, sliced in rounds

2garlic cloves, sliced

Salt, ground black pepper and bay leaf

White vinegar (45-grain strength)

Place carrots on bottom of saucepan; top with onions, jalape�o, garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Add enough vinegar just to cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat until vegetables are cooked.



Enchilada Red Chili Gravy

8 Cascabel chilies (dried, dark red chilies)

1/2 cup each: vegetable oil and chopped onion

1 roasted tomato, peeled

4 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (cominos) or chili powder

Salt to taste

Fry chilies in a little of the oil; remove and soak in hot water 25 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup water. Seed the chilies and combine in blender container with onion, reserved water, tomato, garlic, cumin and salt.  Blend smooth, return to pan with a little oil and cook about 10 minutes over medium heat. Use with enchiladas or with shredded or thinly sliced roast pork. Makes enough for about 12 enchiladas.


Chili con Queso

1/2 cup vegetable oil (see note)

1onion, chopped

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup canned tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2tablespoons paprika

Garlic powder to taste

1/4 cup each: flour and water

1/2 pound American cheese, grated (2 cups)

You may omit the oil if you think the cheese has enough fat. If so, saut� the onion in 2 tablespoons hot oil to soften. A similar recipe attributed to Felix's appears in the Houston Junior Forum cookbook, Buffet on the Bayou ($17.95), but the sugar is omitted and paprika increased to 3 tablespoons.



Chili con Queso #2

5pounds American cheese, grated

3 1/4 cups (26 ounces) water, divided

1 1/2 cups chopped onion (see note)

1cup each: chopped celery and green bell pepper (see note)

1/4 cup finely chopped jalape�o (see note)

Combine cheese and 3 cups water in the top of a double boiler and bring to a boil. Stir every 5 minutes. While cheese is melting, combine onion, celery, bell pepper and jalape�o in saucepan and add 1/4 cup water. Saut� over medium heat until vegetables come to a light boil.

When cheese has melted and is smooth, add vegetables and mix thoroughly.  Simmer 5 minutes. This makes a large amount; recipe could be cut in half or thirds.

Note: Amounts are approximate. The file recipe calls for 13 ounces chopped onion, 9 ounces chopped celery, 10 ounces chopped bell pepper and 1 3/4 ounces chopped jalape�os.



Tortilla Soup

1 large bunch cilantro, washed well (leaves only)

4 garlic cloves

1 small onion, chopped

2 fresh serrano peppers

1 (10-ounce) can tomatoes with green chilies

3 quarts chicken stock

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

2 or 3 teaspoons ground cumin (cominos)

1 to 2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in a small amount of water

Corn tortillas (about 20), cut into thin strips

Vegetable oil

2 cups shredded grilled or poached chicken breasts (about 2 ounces per serving)

1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 ounce per serving)

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced


Pur�e cilantro, garlic, onion, peppers and tomatoes with green chilies in a blender or food processor. Heat stock and add pur�ed mixture with tomato sauce, cumin and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour.

Stir dissolved cornstarch into stock.

Fry tortillas strips in oil until crisp; drain well. Divide tortilla strips among 10 to 12 bowls. Top with chicken and ladle the stock over top. Garnish with shredded cheese and 2 or 3 avocado slices. Makes 10 to 12 servings.




Mexican Rice

(Arroz Mexicana)

1 1/3cups uncooked rice

3 tablespoons cooking oil or shortening

1 each, diced: medium onion and garlic clove

2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 cups water

1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste

1 tablespoon minced parsley, fresh or dried

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)

1 tablespoon ground cumin (cominos)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Fry rice in oil in large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat until an opaque yellow, stirring to prevent burning. Add onion and garlic; saut� until transparent. Add bouillon (be careful pouring it into the pan, as it will steam). Stir in tomato paste, parsley, mushrooms, cumin and coriander.

Reduce heat to simmering, cover pan and simmer 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Check often and stir to prevent sticking.



Sonoran Fry Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon ground toasted cumin seed (cominos)

1 cup warm water

8 cups vegetable oil for frying

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and cumin. Slowly add water until dough forms; it should be soft but not sticky. Knead gently. Let rest 15 minutes.

Heat oil to 375 degrees.

Roll dough out 1/2 inch thick and pull off 3-inch square or round pieces.

Drop into hot oil, a few at a time, and let cook until they float to the top. Remove with slotted spoon. Drain. Serve as a snack, with a salad or a meal.


Black Bean and Corn Salsa

1 cup black beans, cooked, cooled and drained

1/4 cup diced red onion

3 to 4 jalape�o, minced

1 cup corn kernels

1/2 cup each, chopped: green onion and diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced tomato

4 tablespoons each, minced: shallots and garlic

4 ounces rice wine vinegar or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Toss beans with onion, jalape�o, corn, green onion, bell pepper, tomato, shallots, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. Let sit for a little while before serving, or refrigerate covered. Makes about 4 1/2 cups.



3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs plus 3 egg yolks

2teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/4 cups milk

2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

Place sugar in small skillet over medium-high heat and stir while it liquefies. Let sugar boil until it caramelizes to a walnut brown, stirring occasionally. Watch carefully so that it does not burn.

Pour the caramel into the bottom of a 9-inch flan pan or souffl� dish and, working very quickly, spread it evenly with a rubber spatula over the bottom of the pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place eggs, yolks, vanilla, milks and cream cheese in a blender or food processor and process at least 5 minutes.

Pour mixture into the flan pan and place in larger baking pan in the center of the oven. Pour boiling water halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Watch carefully and cover the flan with foil if the top seems to be getting too brown.

Remove from oven, cool to room temperature, then cut around the edges and invert onto a deep-sided serving plate. Serve each piece with some of the caramel syrup.

Note: Flan can be made as long as three days before serving and kept refrigerated covered with plastic wrap. Leave in the pan until ready to serve.


Three-Milk Cake (Pastel de Tres

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

4 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

Fresh strawberries and mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Topping (recipe follows)

Meringue (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Sift flour with baking powder. In large bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites until frothy. Add sugar gradually, beating to form stiff peaks.

Add yolks, 1 at a time. Slowly add flour and milk.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until edges are golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes, Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Prepare Topping. Pour Topping over cake and let sit until all the mixture is absorbed, 20 to 30 minutes.

Prepare Meringue and refrigerate. Before serving, cut cake into squares and spread Meringue over each. Garnish as desired with fresh berries and mint leaves.


1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups milk

1 (16-ounce) carton sour cream

Combine milks and sour cream (do not beat). Use as directed.


1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water, heated

3 egg whites

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Let sit until sugar is dissolved. In clean electric mixer bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites. Slowly pour sugar syrup over egg whites, beating constantly until meringue holds stiff peaks. Store in refrigerator. This can be served immediately but is best made 24 hours ahead and chilled. The meringue will keep, covered, 2 days in the refrigerator.



2 pounds lean ground beef

1 package Famous 4 Star Chili, heated

1 teaspoon salt

� teaspoon pepper

� - � teaspoon granlated garlic (optional)

Salt and pepper ground beef and brown in greased skillet, drain well. Open heated chili and add to ground beef. Use to fill tacos, tostados, enchiladas and in casseroles.



1 package Famous 4 Star Chili

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 � cups grated cheddar cheese

1 recipe corn bread mix

Heat chili according to package directions. Place in bottom of 8" square baking dish. Sprinkle green onions over chili, then cheese. Prepare corn bread mix and pour over cheese. Bake twenty five minutes at 425 degrees.

Serve with sour cream, chopped tomatoes, onions and Picante sauce.



1 basic meat filling

1 dozen large corn tortillas

12 - 15 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

2 bunches green onions, sliced fine

Picante sauce (12 ounces)

1 can pitted ripe olives, sliced

Soften tortillas by turning over in hot oil. Layer small amount of meat in bottom of oiled baking pan to keep tortilas from sticking. Layer tortilas, meat, cheese, onions and olives; using a large spoon, dip Picante sauce over all. Continue layering until all ingredients are used, reserving some cheese for topping. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 45 minutes, uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese in last part of cooking time. Serve with chopped tomatoes and sour cream.



1 can Rotel tomatoes (pureed or chopped)

15 ounces Famous or 4 Star Chili (heated)

2 - LB. Velveeta cheese

Heat chili. Melt cheese with water in double broiler and add tomatoes and well drain chili, in concentrated form. Blend all ingredients. When heated well, serve in chafing dish, with large tortilla or corn chips.



� recipe basic meat filling

1 LB. Monterray Jack and/or Cheddar, grated

1 onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 can tomatoes

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 can pitted black olives, sliced

� package Famous or 4 Star Chili, heated

12 tortillas softened in oil

Saute' onions and celery in oil. Add both tomatoes and simmer until cooked down. Set aside. Roll meat filling in softened tortillas and lay, seam down, in oblong baking pan. Sprinkle enchiladas with green onions and black olives. Pour sauce over all, cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream or guacamole.



� recipe basic meat filling

3 cans (4 oz.) whole green chiles drained and cut in half

1 � cups shredded cheddar cheese

4 eggs, beaten

1 � cups milk

� cup all purpose flour

� teaspoon salt

dash of pepper

1/8 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco)

� teaspoon dry mustard (optional)

Layer one-half each meat, green chiles and cheese in 10 x 6 x 2 inch baking dish; continue layering ingredients ending with cheese. Combine remaining ingredients, stirring well. Pour over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with chopped tomatoes, onions, sour cream and picante or other red sauce. Serves 6.




"Verde" Papas Con Chile Verde (Green Chile Potatoes)

2 Cups pototoes -- peeled & thinly slic

2 Tablespoons shortening

1/4 Cup chopped onions

2 Cups water

1/2 Teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1/2 Cup chopped green chile*

1. Brown potatoes in shortening in a medium-sized skillet at medium heat.  Add onions and seasonings and cook until onions are tender.

2. Add green chile and water and simmer for 15-20 minutes at low heat. *

Varied amounts may be used



Rajas con Queso

Rajas is a traditional Baja California dish of saut�ed mild chiles and onions. They are usually served with meat or pork carnitas or as a tortilla filling.

There are many variations. You want to use large (mild or sweet) chiles, such as bell peppers, poblanos, anaheims, anchos, or pasillas, in any combination. They can be fresh, fresh roasted, canned roasted, or dried (fresh is best; if dried, refresh them; if roasted, add to saut�ed onions at end).

You can use a white onion, a yellow onion, or scallions.

The finished dish is optionally richened with heavy Mexican crema and called rajas con crema. If used as a tortilla filling, use shredded jack cheese instead, and you get rajas con queso.


Rajas con Queso

Serves 6

� c (� stick) butter

2 t chopped garlic

4 red bell peppers, cut into �-inch-thick strips

4 poblano chiles, seeded, cut into �-inch-thick strips

12 green onions, cut into matchstick-size strips

1� c grated Monterey Jack cheese

� cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; saut� 1 minute.

Add bell peppers and poblanos; saut� until tender, about 12 minutes.

Add green onions; saut� until tender, about 4 minutes.

Add cheese and simmer until cheese melts. Stir in cilantro.

Season with salt and pepper.

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