- Food and Cooking
Tex-Mex Appetizers, Tapas & Antojitos
Appetizers, tapas, antojitos, hors d'oeuvres - all very different and tasty, though, no matter what you call them or how they're prepared. Here, you'll find an entire buffet table of great Tex-Mex recipes to serve guests. Many of them are my own delicious creations you won't find anywhere else. Also, you'll find presentation tips with a little bit of history thrown in about the variations. Dive into our dips, finger foods, mini-meals, snacks - yes, by any name, they're a real treat!
Tapas, Antojitos, Botanas, Appetizers
What are the differences, exactly? Does it matter?
Tapas are Spanish, they're typically smaller, but can actually be any type of food or of any size. The term "to cover" originated as a small serving paired with cocktails. Beverages would arrive with food covering the glasses, perhaps to keep out insects or to "slow" the drinking process. It's more of a "process" of eating than it is a type of food.
Antojitos (little whims) and Botanas generally refer to dishes of Mexican origin. They can encompass larger servings, yet not quite meal size. Antojitos typically incorporate a corn dough base (such as molotes), but there are always exceptions.
We think of appetizers and hors d'oeuvres as interchangeable terms, too. Appetizers are the precursor to a meal. Hors d'oeuvres are finger foods served separately from a meal.
Got all that?
You know you're in Tex-Mex territory when someone breaks out the Velveeta! Here we go with a great dipper in its own edible container. Flour tortillas are baked in muffin tins, then filled with Velveeta, fresh chopped tomatoes, and jalapenos. Sure, you could just use Ro-Tel and make it easy, but fresh ingredients will make a huge difference in taste.
Tex-Mex Queso Cups
--Trim flour tortillas to 4-inch rounds (a wide-mouth glass and pizza cutter work well).
--Wrap in damp paper towel and microwave for about 30 seconds to soften.
--Coat muffin tin with cooking spray and mold tortillas in.
--Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (watch for burning).
--Combine 1 pound Velveeta with tomatoes (2 chopped Romas) and 1 jalapeno (or 1 can Ro-Tel).
--Microwave, stirring occasionally, until blended and hot.
--Fill baked tortilla cups and serve with chips.
Tex-Mex Grilled Shrimp with Guajillo Sauce
Our first Tex-Mex tapas recipe is shrimp! These tasty little two-bite dippers are seasoned with my specialty "Fab Five" seasoning mix. The guajillo sauce is a perfect pairing with its pungent attack on the tastebuds.
Presentation is just as important. The sauce goes into a classic shot glass (see my recommendation below) and then the shrimp perches on the edge. Serve on clear glass dessert plates and your guests will certainly be impressed.
For the complete details, visit my Grilled Tex-Mex Shrimp Tapas page.
For the Fab Five Seasoning:
--1 Tablespoon chili powder
--1 teaspoon dried oregano
--1/2 teaspoon cumin
--1/2 teaspoon salt
--1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Mix all together and use on shrimp, meat, pork, chicken. It's truly "fab"!
Classic Shot Glasses for Sauces and Shooters
These are what I use for the Grilled Shrimp recipe just above. They're economical, well-packaged, the make a great presentation.
You'll find many similarities between quesadillas and sincronizadas. Technically, there are a few differences (quesadillas always include cheese and are typically foldovers; sincronizadas are layered and include other ingredients). No real difference when it comes to great appetizers!
The skillet method is best, of course, but it's tedious and inefficient when you want to serve a crowd. In the oven, however, you can make several at once. Our cheesy version is a foldover filled with ham and asadero cheese. The trick is to add the cheese last, or it will ooze out onto the baking pan. Serve with guacamole and salsa. Simple and delicious!
Mini Burritos Make Terrific Bite-Size Appetizers
Burritos are a terrific handful when it comes to a meal in a pocket. They can be filled to bursting Texas style or a little more refined in girth (northern Mexico). Downsize them to appetizer style and you've just created a new way to serve this classic recipe. As a traditional street food, its origins may be found somewhere around Sonora. By the 1930s, they began appearing on U.S. menus. From there, it's Taco Bell all the way!
Our minis are made from freshly made flour tortillas. They work best and the flavor is indescribable. Fill with any ingredients, but you might want to experiment with steak strips and chorizo.
Here's my blog featuring Mini Burritos
Molotes are just plain addictive. They're fairly simple to make, can be re-heated, or even frozen. In Mexico, they're known as "little cigars," and they're quite similar to empanadas. My special version is baked (better for you!) and they're filled with colorful Tex-Mex confetti mashed potatoes. The outer dough is masa blended with additional mashed potatoes (amazingly good).
A favorite addition for many of my recipes is a blend of smaller colored peppers. These include Fresno, sweet yellows, and jalapenos. You can find the reds, oranges, and yellows packaged together in many supermarkets. Jalapenos are always optional. Give these a spin at your next gathering.
My original blog posting for Molotes is featured here.
Jalapeno Poppers Get Happy with Betty
Roll out a Tasty Tex-Mex Treat with Taquitos
No casual party will be complete without a pile of taquitos. Yes, you can buy them by the box, but why not make up a batch at home and stash them in the freezer! They'll taste better with less salt (if desired) and you'll always have a backup batch when unexpected guests arrive.
Soften flour or corn tortillas. Lightly fill with seasoned shredded beef, pork, or chicken. Roll and bake at 350 degrees on a coated cookie sheet; about 30-45 minutes. That's all there is to it.