6 Tex-Mex Meals You Can Master at Home

Are you a fan of Tex-Mex? It almost seems silly to ask. Though it’s not the same as authentic Mexican food, this cuisine is just as delicious. Instead of waiting for a special outing to a Tex-Mex restaurant, try these six recipes to bring the spicy and flavorful cooking to your own kitchen. Whether you like fajitas, tostadas, or rice dishes, you’re guaranteed to find a recipe on this list you’ll like.

1. Frito Frittata

Frito frittata

Frito frittata | iStock.com

Tex-Mex for breakfast? We have Rachael Ray Every Day to thank for this one. You get to combine Fritos and eggs in this delicious frittata. Aside from the chips, the frittata features ham, peppers, eggs, tomatoes, and pepper jack cheese. Make it for a fun weekend breakfast the whole family will love.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ pound ham steak, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ small red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 serrano chili peppers or 1 large jalapeño chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small ripe vine tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • About 1½ cups Fritos corn chips, lightly crushed
  • 10 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
  • 4 ounces pepper jack, diced

DirectionsPosition a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the butter to the skillet and cook until foaming. Add the onion, bell pepper, chilies, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato and cilantro. Scatter the ham and corn chips in the pan.

In a bowl, beat the eggs with the hot sauce; season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the ham mixture. Scatter the cheese on top. Cook until the eggs are just set, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the frittata to the oven and bake until puffed, 12 to 15 minutes.

2. Breakfast Tostadas

Breakfast tostadas

Breakfast tostadas | iStock.com

These breakfast tostadas from Minimalist Baker are for those who prefer savory mornings over sweet. You’ll use brown rice tortillas to make homemade chips, then top them with eggs, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and cheese. These breakfast tostadas will wake you right up. The recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 2 brown rice tortillas
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large eggs

Optional toppings

  • Salsa
  • Red onion
  • Kale
  • Radishes
  • Sour cream
  • Cheese
  • Avocado slices
  • Guacamole
  • Hot sauce

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place tortillas on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

If your tortillas are too large to fit evenly, cut them into smaller circles with a pizza cutter and cut the smaller scraps into chips that you can bake alongside.

Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until brown and crispy on both sides. Watch them closely, as they turn quickly. In the meantime, cook eggs as desired and set aside. Remove tostadas from oven and top with eggs and desired toppings.

3. Four-Chili Chili

Chili with beans

Chili with beans and chilies | iStock.com

Up next is classic Tex-Mex comfort food. The four-chili chili from Food & Wine will warm you from head to toe and keep you satisfied for hours. This dish packs the heat, as suggested by its name, and red meat, veggies, and beans also make an appearance. We like to top this hearty stew with a dollop of sour cream.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3½ pounds ground sirloin or chuck
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2½ tablespoons sweet paprika
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled Italian tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken or beef stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • 2 (19-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Coarsely chopped cilantro, for serving
  • Sour cream, for serving

DirectionsHeat the olive oil in an enameled cast-iron casserole. Add half the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Stir and cook until most of the pink is gone, about 3 minutes, being careful not to break the meat up too much. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the casserole.

Add the onion, garlic and jalapeños and cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes.  Add the ancho powder and paprika and cook over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste is glossy and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, beef, and any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. Add the kidney beans, chipotles, and oregano, and simmer for 30 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper, and a large pinch of cinnamon.

Remove from the heat and let stand for at least 20 minutes. Reheat before serving. Serve the chili in bowls, topped with cilantro. Pass the sour cream at the table.

4. Steak Fajitas with Green Sauce

Steak fajitas

Steak fajitas | iStock.com

Follow this fajita recipe from Saveur and you’ll have a sizzling meal on your hands. The real star of this dish is the avocado cream sauce, which makes these fajitas extra luxurious. The next time you’re craving Tex-Mex but want to stay home, this recipe for steak fajitas is the ticket.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup sherry
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 whole dried chile de árbol, crushed
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3 pounds skirt steak, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • 6 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 small serrano chilies, stemmed
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • Salt
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and thickly sliced
  • 2 yellow onions, thickly sliced
  • Warm flour tortillas

Directions: Combine fruit juices, sherry, soy sauce, butter, pepper, chile de árbol, garlic, and zests in a large dish; add steaks and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add tomatillos and serrano chilies and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a blender. Add avocados; blend until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in sour cream, cilantro, and salt to taste. Cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers, onions, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to char, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Wipe out skillet. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook steaks, flipping once, until well-browned, adding remaining oil as needed, 7 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut steaks crosswise into finger-size strips. Transfer to a platter, along with collected juices and peppers and onions. Serve with tortillas and green sauce.

5. Cheesy Tex-Mex Rice

Tex-Mex rice

Tex-Mex rice | iStock.com

This cheesy Tex-Mex rice from The Kitchn is the perfect side dish to serve alongside your tacos or enchiladas. The recipe also feeds a crowd, yielding 8 to 10 servings, which makes it perfect for potlucks. You’ll never go back to plain rice.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked and cooled rice (either brown or white rice)
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 green pepper, diced small
  • 1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 (2.25-ounce) can black olives, minced
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons chili powder, to taste
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons salt, to taste

Directions: Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl, starting with one teaspoon each of the chili powder and salt. Stir until everything is evenly mixed, squishing the tomatoes against the side of the bowl as you go.

Set a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the rice mix and spread it evenly over the bottom of the pan. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every five minutes.

The cheese will melt and start to form a burnt-looking crust on the bottom of the pan. Every time you stir, scrape up this crust and mix it back into the rice. The whole dish will gradually pick up a deep, almost chocolate-like flavor from the seared cheese. Taste it every so often during cooking and stir in more salt or chili powder as needed.

Let the rice cool a little before serving.

6. Tex-Mex Black Bean and Quinoa Bowl

Chicken burrito bowl with rice, salsa, corn, and beans

Burrito bowl | iStock.com

This Tex-Mex black bean and quinoa bowl from Eating Well is filled with black beans and whole grains for a super healthy meal. The recipe feeds 4 and boasts 12 grams of fiber and 24 grams of protein per serving. You can bulk it up even more by adding some diced, cooked chicken. This black bean and quinoa bowl should be the go-to dinner for health-conscious Tex-Mex fans.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 teaspoons, divided
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4½ cups very thinly sliced cabbage
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 medium poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup salsa

Directions: Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in cumin. Partially cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add cabbage and onion; toss to coat. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add poblano and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in beans and chili powder; cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. To serve, layer in each bowl ¾ cup quinoa, ½ cup bean mixture, and ¼ cup cheese. Top each portion with ¾ cup cabbage salad and 2 tablespoons salsa.

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