When my family moved from Ohio to California in the ‘60s, we were introduced to a new type of food – Mexican. At my house, though, it was made from the little spice packets that you add to the ground beef and tomato paste. It sounds absolutely horrible now, but we loved it!
Fortunately, my taste buds grew up and I was introduced to the real thing. (And I’m not talking about the kind you get going through the drive-thru.) There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking a great Mexican meal at home.
How many times have you wanted to make a great Mexican dish but were caught short on the ingredients? Here’s a list of ingredients that every pantry should have:
- Beans – Black beans and pinto beans are often used to make dishes like bean salads, bean soups, refried beans and more.
- Chili – Chilis are a staple in Mexican food. There are several types of chilis used in Mexican cooking like spicy jalapeno, Serrano, ancho and my favorite, chipotle. The spiciness of chilis can be used to add flavors in salads, soups, salsa and other dishes. Chilis can be in the form of whole, smoked, fresh, powdered, canned or dried.
- Corn – Mexicans have been using corn for centuries and it is a source of nutrition for them. Ground corn is used for masa, tortilla chips and corn tortillas.
- Tomatoes – Canned and cooked tomatoes can be used to add flavor to rice, soup and salads.
- Lard – Lard adds wonderful flavor to masa, which is used for cooking refried beans and tamales.
- Mole – An unusual ingredient made out of 30 different spices plus peanut butter and cocoa. Putting this in your dish will bring out the rich flavors of the ingredients.
Other ingredients such as tortillas and cheeses are a must and can be purchased and stored in the refrigerator for quite awhile. Hopefully, you always have the makings of a good salsa, too.
Do you have these Mexican ingredients in your kitchen pantry? If not, start shopping around now. That way, you’ll always be able to whip up a great Mexican meal anytime the craving hits.
Here’s some links to some of my favorite Mexican recipes – some with an American-style twist:
- Cha Cha Chicken
- Chili Verde
- Pork Green Chili
- Southwest Bean Dip
- Mexican Pinto Beans
By the way…...For several years, my husband and I have made tamales for Christmas. We make tons of them so we can send the much-loved treat home with our Christmas Eve guests to enjoy in their own homes. One of my out-of-state daughters is now passing the Tamale Christmas Eve tradition down to her family. Love it!
Can’t wait to share my favorite tamale recipe with you soon!