Papa Lopez Mexican Cantina has introduced hundreds of people to the delicious flavors of authentic Tex Mex cooking. Many of our customers want to enjoy the flavors of Mexican cuisine during the week when they're cooking at home, so we've put together a simple guide to help you stock your fridge and pantry for easy meal planning around these great flavors.
Start your Tex Mex cuisine collection with a stack each of both corn and flour tortillas. Both keep for weeks when wrapped tightly and stored in the fridge, and you only need to heat them for a few seconds on a hot pan or in the microwave to soften them and prepare them for eating. You can enjoy quesadillas, tacos, burritos, freshly fried tortilla chips, tostadas, taquitos and many more foods with only a few other ingredients on hand. Flour and corn tortillas have very different flavors, so give them both a try for different applications before deciding what you like best.
Dry or Canned Beans
For the most flavor, you'll need a few hours to soak and cook black, white, kidney and pinto beans from scratch with water or broth and flavorful additions. However, canned beans are much quicker and still offer a lot of flavor and good texture. Try making your own refried beans by mashing a can with a tablespoon or two of lard or oil and heating them up in a pan. Cooked dry beans can be frozen for months or stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, while they last up to a year while dry.
Rice forms the starchy base of many Mexican dishes, and it shows up in Tex Mex cooking as the flavorful side dishes often called Spanish rice. Cooking up a cup of white rice in chicken stock, tomato broth or water allows you to add in green chilies, red peppers, shredded chicken, parsley and more to create half a dozen different side dishes.
Dried and Fresh Peppers
From the spicy and tiny pequin to the smoky chipotle, there are over a dozen different dried peppers to use in your cooking for unique and intense flavors. Fresh peppers, including mild bell peppers for fajitas and spicy jalapenos for garnish, are also featured heavily in Tex Mex and Mexican dishes.
A fully stocked spice cabinet includes a lot of the same aromatic herbs you'll recognize from Italian and French cooking. For example, oregano and marjoram are featured in many European dishes as well. Don't forget about cinnamon, chile powder, paprika, cumin, coriander and garlic powder as well.
Is it already 7 PM and you don't know what you're going to feed the family? Save the time and effort of cooking dinner at home and drop by Papa Lopez Mexican Cantina instead. We'll whip up your favorite Tex Mex dishes as you relax. Stay tuned for our next blog for some organization tips for your Tex Mex supplies!