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Fast fix dinner: Mexican

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Make a fast fiesta

Although many Mexican dishes take time to prepare, tons of delicious Mexican recipes can be made in less than an hour. The key to perfecting any Mexican recipe is using the freshest ingredients possible. Make any night a fiesta with these simple tips and tricks on preparing fun and festive Mexican cuisine.

Homemade salsa

Mango and pomegranate guacamole

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup white onions, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, diced
  • 4 large ripe avocadoes
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 mango pear, peeled and finely diced
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions:

  1. Combine onions with chiles and cilantro.
  2. In a separate bowl, mash avocado until smooth but still a little chunky. Add the onion mixture and then lime juice; season with salt. Mix 3/4 of the mango and 3/4 of the pomegranate seeds into the guacamole.
  3. Spoon guacamole into a serving bowl, then top with remaining mango and pomegranate seeds.

Chipotle salsa

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 large tomatoes, rinsed
  • 2 white onions, cut in half horizontally
  • 20 garlic cloves
  • 15 dried chipotle chiles or 10 canned chipotles
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Place tomatoes, onions and garlic on a hot grill pan and grill until browned (the garlic will cook a lot more quickly than the tomatoes and onions). Remove and set aside.
  2. If using dry chiles, place on grill pan as well and grill until just tender. Remove and set aside.
  3. Roughly dice onions, tomatoes and garlic; remove seeds from chiles and roughly dice. Add all items to blender and pulse until chopped; gradually mix in olive oil until a thick emulsion is made.
  4. Pour salsa into a frying pan and heat until just warmed up. Add lime juice before serving.

Chipotle chicken tacos

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chipotle salsa (recipe above)
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt to taste
  • 16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 8 corn tortillas (recipe below)
  • 4 tablespoons grated cojita cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet; add onion and sauté until golden. Add salsa, tomatoes and water, and cook until tomatoes begin to break down and mixture begins to thicken; season with salt.
  2. Meanwhile, cook chicken on the grill or in a skillet until fully cooked through. Dice when cooled.
  3. To serve, top each tortilla with chicken salsa, then sprinkle with cojita cheese.

Homemade corn tortillas

Makes 15 tortillas

Ingredients:

  • 5-1/4 cups corn masa
  • 3-1/2 cups hot water

Directions:

  1. Combine masa well with hot water; turn dough out onto a cutting board and knead until a smooth dough forms. Add more masa and water as needed to keep the dough from sticking.
  2. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, letting it stand for about 30 minutes.
  3. When dough is ready, preheat a skillet or flat griddle to medium heat.
  4. Divide dough into about 15 even sized balls. Then using a tortilla press (or rolling pin), flatten the balls into an evenly round 6-inch tortilla between two sheets of plastic wrap.
  5. Place tortillas on hot pan and cook about 30 to 45 seconds per side or until warmed through. Do not cook too long, or they will harden. Wrap in a towel until ready to use.

More Mexican recipes:

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