I can’t tell you the number of times that I have forgotten to defrost the meat, or had to fly home from soccer practice to throw dinner on the table before my hungry kids ate each other while waiting for dinner. These are the nights that it is all too easy to fall prey to fast food. Then $40 or $50 later kick myself for not having dinner ready at home.
It pays to have a few quick dinners in your arsenal. Here is what I had to work with tonight.
Even my hispanic friends would like these!
1/2 a roasted chicken – shredded
1 jar Herdez Red Guajillo Chili Cooking Sauce (you might only need 1/2 a jar depending on the amount of chicken you have.)
1 (28 oz) can Refried Beans
Pico de gallo – which is ‘fresh salsa”
Lettuce or cabbage & a little cilantro
Sour cream, cheese and Tapatio
1 avocado – sliced
Tostadas Caseras – (Crispy Tostada shells)
(These tostada shells are made of corn, water, lime and vegetable oil. 2 shells = 140 cal)
Shred leftover cooked chicken into a skillet – add the Herdez Cooking Sauce – turn on low and let simmer.
Shred lettuce or cabbage & cilantro (if you have it) set aside
Heat refried beans – either stove top or microwave.
Traditionally, these are served buffet style with everyone making their own tostadas. However, the little ones will need help and the older ones (aka the teenage, loveable locust) might need help with portion control.
Place tosado shells on a plate – top with a tablespoon of refried beans, smeared around the shell, top with chicken, lettuce or cabbage and cilantro, salsa, cheese, avocado and a blob of sour cream – sprinkle with tapatio to taste.
That is dinner in 15 minutes or less!
Tonight was a “just eat” night – no recipes – just eat up what was left in the fridge, create something out of nothing.
The Herdez cooking sauces help make ordinary leftovers taste like something special.
I realized as I was throwing dinner together how much the Mexican cuisine has infiltrated our lives and our taste buds. It really has become our go to ‘comfort’ food. My mother probably never tasted an avocado or taco seasoning – she certainly had never had a tostada or a taco. I don’t remember when I was introduced to salsa or Pico de Gallo – but they aren’t a part of my childhood food memories. Somewhere along the line “Mexican” food became a big part of our lives. I remember being about 12 years old when my sister and brother in law took me to Taco Bell for the first time. It was my first exposure to ‘fast food’. Although I don’t consider Taco Bell real Mexican food now, at the time I remember it being love at first bite.
By the time I was in college and had moved halfway around the world and back, Mexican restaurants were popping up all over. Chains like Don Jose’s were reasonably priced and a popular date spot. Again, I didn’t know it but this also wasn’t ‘real’ Mexican food either but I loved it all the same.
By the time I was in my early 20’s I had met and married No Baking Papa. We couldn’t wait to move to the Big City to embark on our life together and it was then that I discovered even more Mexican food. Friday nights I almost always had to work late. That became out evening to eat out – it was also convenient that we got paid on Friday. NB Papa would pick me up from work and we would head out for Mexican food. By now we were exploring the hole in the wall places, cheap and delicious. It took some courage to venture into some of these places, we were the often the only ‘gringos’ in the place. We were always warmly welcomed and introduced to a variety of new taste sensations.
How times have changed. Now we have a great selection of Mexican flavors available in our local markets plus wonderful Mexican markets that are clean, very reasonably priced and offer all the goodies once only available to those willing to venture into the unknown. As I started exploring the various chilies, spices and seasonings I had to enlist the help of my daughter’s mother in law to teach me about the various chiles and sauces. She even taught me how to make tamales. Although delicious, making some of those sauces were not only time consuming, they are messy to make.
A few months ago the AllRecipes Brand Ambassadors were given the opportunity to work with Herdez cooking sauces. Not being a fan of processed food and knowing what real Mexican food should taste like, I was a bit skeptical. The jars of sauces arrived and to my delight the ingredient label revealed ‘real’ ingredients. No preservatives, no weird chemicals. Now I was excited to give these a whirl and I wasn’t disappointed.
The Herdez cooking sauces are the real deal.
There are 4 varieties of cooking sauces.
‘Chipotle’ ‘Pasilla Chile’ ‘Tomatillo Verde’ ‘Guajillo Chili’
A word of warning, the Tomatillo Verde, a green sauce, that I expected to be the most mild of all the sauces, can be VERY spicy. I had one jar that was really hot and another that was exceptionally mild. I would suggest having some sour cream or Mexican Crema on hand just in case you get an extra spicy bottle.
Look for these cooking sauces in the Mexican section of the supermarket, they run about $2.50 – $3.00 a bottle and are well worth having in your pantry for those nights when you need to make something out of nothing.
Check out the Herdez Cooking Sauces recipe collection on AllRecipes.com for more tasty dinner ideas.