Archive for the ‘Mexican’ Category

Guac the way I make it (more or less)

Guac the way I make it (more or less)

We’ve been making a ton of guacamole lately. Which is kinda weird for us – not something we usually eat. Thought I’d post the recipe here.

Do you really need a recipe for guacamole? Probably not. It’s kinda like salsa – add a little of this, a little of that and voila. But anyhoo, here it is just for fun:



1 Haas Avocado (ok, those ones usually in the store) – a little squishy to the touch

1 medium sized tomato seeded and chopped

1 T red onion or so

1 clove of garlic minced (pressed, whatever)

1 jalepeno seeded (wuss) and chopped

1/2 lime

1 T or so (give or take) cilantro chopped

salt. Do.Not.Forget.To.Salt.Your.Food


Combine. Eat it. The end.

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Yes, I counted the whole bun in my costs. Topless sandwich is for pix sake only!

Yes, I counted the whole bun in my costs. Topless sandwich is for pix sake only!

Hobo Mondays

Thursdaynightsmackdown has a new once a month blogging event called Hobo Mondays: come up with a meal to feed 2 for under $5. Well, we are looking for ways to cut down our grocery bill over here at Pantry Raid, so I thought this was prime opportunity to get off my butt and actually DO something about it. 

As far as groceries go, I certainly have gotten better about using things up. We don’t have nearly the amount of food molding away in the back of our refrigerator that we used to. But I still don’t really do well on the low-cost meal front. I go to the store, I get excited, $16/lb imported Spanish chorizo gets purchased, you know the story. So anyway, here goes nothing!

I had a plan of what I wanted to make for my first Hobo Monday. But I got sucked into making something totally different cause pork country ribs were on sale this week. Count me IN. Menu be damned!

Coke Trafficking

So ok, now what? Pulled pork sandwiches sounds good. I’ve wanted to do rootbeer pulled pork forever. Then I  thought Coke pulled pork might be good too. AND since I live up the street from a Mexican market, I thought I could be super slick by using a can of Coke made with PURE sugar vs high fructose corn syrup. Somehow, Mexico gets the good stuff and in the States, we get HFCS. So I marched down to the store, grabbed the cool, retro, “Imported from Mexico” bottle, and headed to the checkout. Just to be sure, I checked the ingrediant list. HFCS! Dang it. Thwarted. Do tell why one would import Coke all the way from Mexico AND not have it be the kind with real sugar? Hmmm??? What’s the point? I plan on boycotting my little corner market in silent protest. Ok, I probably won’t, but right now I’m mad.

Mexican Street Corn (well, kinda sorta…)

Alright, pulled pork sandwiches. What goes with it? Corn sounds good. But plain corn is blah, so add some cheese, a little lime, maybe some cilantro and now we’re talkin’. We’ve got a great summertime meal. Never mind that it’s flipping April and it’s SNOWING outside. AGH!

How did I do?

Total meal cost? About $5 give or take. Here’s the breakdown:

$1.32 for pork (assuming 6 oz pp).
$0.94 2 rolls
$0.50 can of coke
$1.10 can of corn
$0.05 for half a lime (Mexican markets are CHEAP)
$0.05 sprinkle of cilantro (see above)
$1.00 worth of parmesan
a whole mess of pantry spices and a little bit of mayo

So $4.96. Just under the cutoff!

Coke Pulled Pork

Stolen verbatim from Chu This so just go there and, uh, follow the directions. The only changes I would make are to reduce the chicken stock to 1 cup (maybe less), add a little more sugar, and you really only need to reduce like a cup of the resulting liquid (otherwise you’ll be reducing the sauce for days).

Oh yeah – and those crispy things in the picture? Those are fried onions and they don’t count cause they were sitting, rotting away in my fridge from last week’s Pork Curry. Hey, just being frugal over here!

Parmesan Lime Corn

This is kind of a bastardized version of Elote – Mexican Street Corn. Usually served on the cob slathered with a mixture of cotija cheese, mayo, lime juice and cayenne pepper, I’ve chosen to make it off the cob and with parmesan instead of cotija cause, shoot, that’s what I had in my fridge. Oh, and I forgot the cayenne pepper. I sure am forgetful lately! 


11 oz can corn
2 T grated parmesan
1 T mayo
1 T cilantro
juice of half lime
salt to taste


1. Heat corn in small saucepan. 

2. Remove from heat and add in mayo and parmesan. Stir till thoroughly combined.

3. Add lime juice, cilantro and salt to taste. Stir to combine and serve immediately.



Ms. Pantry Raid

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Something tells me the little girl in the "I'm a PC and I'm 4 1/2" could have taken a better picture...  

Something tells me the little girl in the "I'm a PC and I'm 4 1/2" commercial could have taken a better picture... Oy.

Yes, you can make tacos without that ubiquitious packet of seasoning mix. And guess what else – it’s a heck of a lot tastier and not that much more work. If you want to take it to another level, search out fresh taco shells from a local taqueria and maybe some Mexican crema. Or you could even make your own shells (yeah, I’m not that ambitious). But if you can’t go quite that far, just lose the packet. You’ll be so glad you did!

The recipe I use comes from America’s Test Kitchen.  Mostly, I’m including it here cause I use it often and always forget which book it comes out of.

Beef Tacos

Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen 

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 lb lean ground beef (very important! the way this recipe is written, you don’t drain the beef…so unless you like greasy orange beef…get lean)
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
8 taco shells


  • Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
  • Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the ground beef
  • Cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, and sugar
  • Simmer until thickened, about 10 mintues.
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Divide the filling evenly among taco shells and serve, passing any desired accompaniments separately.

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Pork fried in pork fat - what could be better?  

Pork fried in pork fat - what could be better?

 Carnitas means “little meats” in Spanish. Many people think of the dish as Mexican Pulled Pork – which works for me.  But it goes just a little farther than pulled pork by cooking the meat in its own fat as the last step. 

I served my little meats with a pineapple salsa – cause I happened to have a fresh pineapple on hand. Corn tortillas are preferred over flour (but for my husband, I was nice and let him have a few flour tortillas). Traditional toppings are minced onion and cilantro, a squeeze of lime, Cotija cheese (queso fresco would work too) and maybe some Mexican crema (sour cream).


Pork Carnitas

Adapted from egullet.org



  • About 2 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 1-2 “cubes. Don’t trim the fat – you’ll need it for the frying part. You can also use boneless pork country ribs (which is the same cut – but the meat is cut into strips).
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp chile powder (you can use chili powder, or an individual kind of chile powder – I had a few dried anchos laying around that I ground up and used).
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano (preferably Mexican)

Cooking liquid

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1 1/2 T brown sugar
  • Enough chicken stock to cover meat in cooking vessel (approx 3 cups)


Combine all ingredients for marinade. Cover and let sit a few hours (or overnight) in fridge.

When ready to cook, empty contents of pork marinade mixture into Dutch oven. Add cooking liquid (lime juice, orange juice, tequila, brown sugar and enough chicken stock to cover meat – approximately 3 cups depending on size of your Dutch oven).

Allow to simmer partially covered on stove top until liquid is gone, and fat is rendering from meat. Keep an eye on it and either cover, or uncover, or partially cover Dutch oven, and turn heat up and down as required to keep the liquid evaporating nicely, but not so quickly that it’s all gone before the meat is properly cooked and tender. Cooking time should be approximately 2 1/2 hours. 

When the liquid is gone, and the fat is rendering from the meat, turn up heat and fry the pork cubes in their own fat. You may need to add additional fat to the pan to ensure proper browning.


Place cooked meat onto a baking sheet. Place sheet under broiler on high for 6-10 minutes or until meat is brown and crispy. Be sure to stir from time to time to prevent burning. 

Serve with your favorite accompaniments: tortillas, salsa, onions and cilantro, sour cream, queso fresco, whatever you’ve got!


Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple Salsa


Pineapple salsa


  • Pineapple – diced
  • Red onion – diced
  • Cilantro – chopped
  • Jalepeno pepper – diced (or if you are lazy, red pepper flakes – that’s what I tend to use)
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Salt to taste


Um, combine? Sorry to be vague – I have really no idea how I make salsa. I just chop up some ingredients in the proportion that looks good to me and stick it in a bowl.  So basically, it’s mostly pineapple with a little bit of onion and cilantro. Could add some garlic if you so desire. Add some pepper flakes (I always have those on hand. A fresh pepper is preferred, but…I won’t tell). Finish with juice of one lime and a little salt. 


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Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna

AKA – How I used up a ton of leftover corn tortillas and some other stuff

Is this authentic? No. Is it gourmet? Um, definitely not. But it was pretty tasty and helped solve the problem of a leftover package of 18 corn tortillas hanging out in my fridge.


1 T oil (just enough to saute the onions)
1/3 cup diced onion
1 pepper – any kind (optional – only if you have it on hand)
a couple cloves of garlic (again, optional and only if you have on hand)
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb chorizo
1 packet taco seasoning (or, if you are so inclined, your own taco seasoning mix. I normally use America’s Test Kitchen recipe)
1/4 cup water
18 corn tortillas
1 can refried beans
1 jar salsa
1 package Mexican blend cheese (8 oz)
green onions (again, optional and only if you have on hand – they will go sprinkled over top before baking)


In medium saute pan, saute onion in oil. Maybe a pepper too if you have one. Got garlic? Ok, add in a clove or two if you want. Add ground beef and brown it. Add chorizo and brown it. Drain and remove fat from pan. Add back to pan with taco seasoning packet (I would have used my own blend, but was out of chili powder, so packet had to do).  Add some water – I added ¼ cup. You don’t want it too soupy, but not too dry either.

In a 9×13 baking dish, add a thin layer of salsa – just enough to coat the bottom so the tortillas won’t stick. Spread layer of beans on tortillas and lay tortilla on top of salsa (I cut off edges of the tortilla so they fit in the pan better). Continue with tortillas till you have a layer in the pan (I got 6 to fit in one layer). Add a layer of meat. Then a layer of cheese. Then a layer of salsa. Repeat. Final layer should be composed of tortilla (without beans) and a layer of cheese over top. If you have some green onions, sprinkle over top. 

Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

Other uses for leftover tortillas

Fry them up and use as chips. 
Flour tortillas– fry and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar

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