Mexican food has become a staple in our society and consumed by many because it appeals to different palates. Did you know that there are over 54,000 Mexican restaurants in the U.S. and it’s the third most popular menu type? Nombre…that’s a lot! Mexican inspired foods have influenced our country for centuries but over the 70 years it has become increasingly popular finding its way to every corner of our communities. Simple fresh ingredients and bold flavors have allowed this cuisine to sore in popularity and keep us wanting more and more!
One of the most beautiful parts of the Mexican culture is the importance of passing down traditions and of course the food! Many of us learn from our older family members those amazing homemade recipes that keep bringing us together time after time but what do you do if you don’t have that kind of time? No te preocupes….. I’m going to share a few tips and tricks to prepare those great authentic family favorite dishes and bring home those authentic Mexican flavors while saving time!
Cilantro: Use fresh cilantro every chance you get! It’s so easy to find and super inexpensive. Don’t worry about removing each individual leaf from the stem. The stem actually contains great flavor so cut off the roots and hard stems then rough chop the rest right before you are ready to use it….listo! It adds amazing flavor to any dish.
Lime: Did you know this beautiful green fruit is full of vitamins and minerals, including potassium? Lime is so versatile and makes everything taste better by balancing and bringing out a dishes flavor. Go ahead give a fresh squeeze over grilled meats, fruits, vegetable, salads, soups, drinks and tacos of all kinds and yes….even potato chips! Keep a manual lime juicer on hand and use it often!
Onion: It’s commonly used in most Mexican dishes as a final topping, in salsas and as an ingredient. How do you get around crying when you have to slice, chop or dice an onion? A few things that help me keep the lágrimas at bay are refrigerating before cutting or cutting them on the stove with the extractor fan on. If you are really in a pinch nowadays you can buy onion at your local store already chopped…. fácil.
Cumin: Ground cumin is often used often in Tex-Mex dishes but inside Mexico itself whole cumin seed is much more commonly used in dishes. Big flavor comes in this small seed so cumin has a strong flavor. My advice, always keep it on hand but use it sparingly…solo un poquito… so it doesn’t overpower your dish.
Tortillas: The almighty tortilla is a staple at every Mexican table. Although they are easy to make they can be a little time consuming to make them from scratch like our abuelas used to do. Many of us don’t have the time for that but serving authentic Mexican dishes is really important to us so don’t stress…there are so many options available that you can buy ready made tortillas for any taste or diet; corn, flour, low carb, almost any size and even uncooked so you can really get close to that homemade taste in a few short minutes of heating and serving!
Canned Products: There are so many options available that allow us to create great homemade meals for our families in a fraction of the time. Ranging from beans, vegetables to sauces and soups… and everything in between…there is no shortage of variety of products that are inexpensive and convenient. Busy moms have to be innovative in finding ways to feed our families at home while maintaining our tradiciones and serving up authentic flavors. Don’t be afraid to try them these alternatives, either to complement your dishes (like salsas) or to enjoy some delicious traditional mexican open-heat and serve meals. Canned products are a great option for today’s women.
There are more than 57 million Hispanics in the U.S and growing so it’s not doubt that our flavors and traditions are becoming mainstream. The fact is that Mexican food is fun and easy to prepare. Our traditional dishes are full of flavor and packed with fresh ingredients yet remain affordable. How can you go wrong with meat, beans, vegetables and grains? It’s becoming easier to maintain our family traditions and show our love to our family by serving our authentic dishes. Open, heat and serve some pozole or menudo rápido….while you set the table, prep the condiments and heat up the tortillas. How about some readymade sauces or beans in your recipe to speed things up while using your own sazon? The most important thing is spending time together everyday and keeping our culture and heritage in tact with a new modern day twist. Explore new flavors and products that help you save time while you try new recipes or to adapt our tried and true family recipes! Until next time amores……see you in the kitchen!