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Recipes A to Z....."M" is for Mexican Cooking

Updated on September 14, 2009

Influences of Mexican Food

Mexican food had many influences. The Maya and Aztec Indians brought corn, beans, chilies, squash and tomatoes. The Spanish caused rice, olives, beef, pork and wine to be used. When the French ruled, the techniques of cooking were refined.

It is colorful and exciting food! It is for the poor and the wealthy of Mexico. When you eat Mexican food, you feel rewarded!


Foundation Ingredients for Mexican Cooking

Beans (Garbanzo, black, kidney and pinto beans)

Corn (tortillas, hominy)

Jicama (root vegetable)

Tamarind (used to make fruity beverages and candy)

Tomatillos (look like small green tomatoes)


Pumpkin seeds (used to thicken gravies and sauces)

Choriza (highly seasoned sausage)

Cilantro (a fresh leaf that resembles fresh parsley but the taste is different)

Cumin (a favorite seasoning, spice)

Chilies - green bell peppers (mild, sweet), serrano chilies (very hot, green ripening to bright red), jalapeno chilies (extremely hot, green) poblano (usually mild), California chilies (from mildly hot to hot, green) There are many chilies but only these few have been mentioned)

Chili Powder (powdered form of chilies)

Cayenne Pepper (ground form of very hot chili peppers, orange-colored)

Crushed Red Pepper (a dried hot red pepper that has been crushed)

Hot Pepper Sauce (a liquid form of chilies combined with vinegar and salt)

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Homemade Flour Tortillas


Tortillas are found at every meal in Mexico. They are prolific in grocery stores, especially in the South and Southwestern U.S. When I spent the summer on the Tex-Mex border as a college intern, I could go to the corner store and get tortillas, still warm. Yum!

You can get into the spirit of Mexican food by making your own tortillas, if you are so brave!

Corn Tortillas

2 cups corn tortilla flour

1 cup water

Combine flour and water. Mix with hands until dough shape holds together. Divide dough into 12 balls. Dampen dough slightly. Use a tortilla press or a flat baking pan and  flatten a ball of dough between sheets of wax paper to 6 inches. Place tortilla (peel off paper) on a hot ungreased griddle or skillet for 30 seconds. Turn and cook until surface is puffy. Repeat 11 more times. Makes 12.

Flour Tortillas

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 Tablespoon shortening

1/2 to 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Stir together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening with two table knives until it resembles cornmeal. Add 1/2 cup water until a ball is formed. (Add more water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, if needed.) Let rest 15 minutes. Divide into 12 balls.  On a floured surface, roll each ball into a 7 inch circle. Place on ungreased griddle or skillet for 1 1/2 minutes per side or until lightly browned.


I like my salsa chunky so I don't like to use a blender. If you like a smoother salsa, by all means, use a blender or mixer.

Salsa de Chili Rojo (Red Chili Salsa)

1 large tomato, diced

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

Combine ingredients together and chill. Makes 2 cups.

Another Red Chili Salsa

1-16 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1-4 oz can chopped green chili peppers

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

dash salt

Combine ingredients and chill. Makes about 1 cup.


In this recipe, I use the blender because I want it to be smooth.

2 medium avocados, seeded, peeled and chopped

1/2 small chopped onion

2 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

In blender, place all ingredients. Cover and blend till well-combined. Use as a dip for chips or as a sauce to serve with main dishes like fajitas.

Stuffed Jalepeno Peppers


My daughter made these at my house one time and they were so yummy! I tweaked the recipe a little and here it is! You may want to wear rubber gloves to work with the jalapenos.

Jalapenos Rellenos (Stuffed Hot Jalapeno Peppers)

12 jalapeno peppers

1-3 oz package cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 oz)

1/4 cup sliced green onion

Wash and dry peppers. Slit lengthwise on one side. Remove the seeds, but leave the stem on. Beat cream cheese till fluffy. Add cheddar cheese and green onion and beat. Stuff each pepper with some of the cheese mixture. Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 12.

Mexican Chicken Soup


Sopa de Pollo a la Mexicana (Mexican Chicken Soup)

1 rotisserie cooked chicken

1-16 oz can diced tomatoes

3 medium carrots, thinly sliced

1 medium chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups chicken broth

1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

1 cup frozen peas

1 small avocado, seeded, peeled and sliced

Remove skin and bones from chicken and discard. Cube 2 cups chicken and set aside. In large pot, combine undrained tomatoes, carrots, onion and chicken broth. Simmer covered, for 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Add chicken to broth along with zucchini and peas. Cover and simmer 10 minutes until veggies are tender. Garnish with avocado slices. Serves 10.

Tortilla Specialties

Enchiladas de Pollo y Queso (Chicken Enchilada Casserole)

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1-4 oz can chopped green chili peppers

3 Tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon ground coriander seed

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese

12-6 inch tortillas

In large saucepan, cook onion and green pepper in butter till tender. Combine in a bowl with chicken and chilies. Set aside.

In same saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour, coriander and salt. Blend in chicken broth all at once and stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup cheese. Pour 1/2 cup sauce on the chicken. Dip each tortilla into remaining sauce to soften. Fill each with 1/4 cup of chicken mixture. Roll up. Arrange in a 13 X 9 X 2 baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven about 25 minutes. Serves 6.

Pork Chops in Adobo Sauce


Chuletas de Puerco Adobadas (Pork Chops in Adobo Sauce)

1-8 oz can tomato sauce

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic

2 Tablespoons flour

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon cumin

6 loin pork chops

Place tomato sauce, lemon juice, onion, garlic, flour, chili powder, oil, salt, oregano and cumin in blender. Cover and blend till onion is chopped. Place chops in shallow baking dish. Pour sauce over. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

In large covered skillet, simmer chops in sauce 35-45 minutes or until tender. Arrange chops with sauce on a serving platter.



Flan (Caramel Custard)

1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1-13 oz can evaporated milk (1 2/3 cups)

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash salt

In a small skillet heat and stir the 1/3 cup sugar over medium heat till sugar melts and becomes golden brown. Quickly pour caramelized sugar into a 3 cup mold, tilting mold to coat bottom and sides.

In bowl beat eggs, stir in milk, the 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla and salt. Pour into caramel coated mold. Set mold in baking pan on oven rack. Pour one inch water around mold in pan. Bake, uncovered, in 325 degree F oven for 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Chill.

Carefully loosen custard from sides and center and invert on platter. Makes 4-6 servings.


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    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 8 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      MsFran, hope you enjoy these recipes. Thanks for the comments!

    • MsFran profile image

      MsFran 8 years ago from Here and There, Everywhere

      Mmmm! My mouth is watering - I'm off to the shops and it's Mexican tonight. Thanks

    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 8 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      Thank you so much Stix! I'm happy you like it!

    • StixBrown profile image

      StixBrown 8 years ago

      This is a great article! Couldn't ask for more! Thanks!

    • judydianne profile image

      judydianne 8 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      Thanks, Larry! I'm so happy you are trying these recipes. It makes writing these hubs more fun!

    • maven101 profile image

      maven101 8 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Wow..! You just about covered everything one needs to know about Mexican cooking...Great Hub...Thanks

      I'm making the Adobo chops tomorrow, after marinating them ( as instructed ) overnight...Larry