Skip to main content

How To Make a Mexican Dinner with What's in the Pantry

Wow, it's been awhile! I think my last post was in October. I've been a bit...occupied...with other things! More on that later. ;)

My favorite way of cooking it throwing things together. No recipe required!

And that is exactly how I made dinner last night. 

I had a little inspiration from from a pin on Pinterest for oven baked tacos. 

I think this fact right here is why I prefer cooking over baking: you can take almost any recipe and modify it based on what you have on hand at the moment. I feel this is especially true for Mexican-American dishes. (I throw in American because I could not imagine my Guatemalan mother-in-law making ANY of these things. She'd probably laugh!)

Anywho, I originally wanted to make those yummy looking tacos, but I didn't have the right stuff in the pantry. 

So then I started making things up. 

I had a pound of cooked ground beef in the freezer, so I started by thawing that quick and adding water and taco seasoning and simmering that on the stove for awhile. 

Meanwhile, I found a can of refried beans, a jar of salsa, and a fun creamy chipotle sauce in the fridge. After the water level in the meat had reduced a bit, I added the salsa and chipotle sauce. Maybe a cup of salsa and a few tablespoons of the chipotle sauce. I brought it all up to heat and simmered that for a bit. Then, I added the can of refried beans and stirred it until everything was all creamy. 

I added about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese (or "shred chedd" as I write it on my grocery list) and this became the filling. 

If you don't have those ingredients, here are some things you could easily substitute:

Taco sauce
Tomato sauce
Diced tomatoes
Pinto beans
Black beans
Enchilada sauce

You could even add things that I did not, like:

Canned green chilies

You could even omit the beans or omit the beef for a veggie version! Whatever you'd like.

I had burrito-sized tortillas in the fridge, so I decided to make burritos instead of tacos. I filled each tortilla with the beef and bean mixture and laid them out in a baking dish. I realized that they should have some sort of sauce on them to keep the outside moist while baking. 

This is where you can get really creative!

I decided to make a cheese sauce. I have some knowledge of how to start any cheese sauce: make a roux (pronounced "roo"). 

It's very simple. You need equal parts butter and flour. I did half a stick of butter, melted in a pot on the stove on medium heat, and then I stirred in 4 tablespoons of flour. Cook this for a minute, stirring constantly. Then slowly pour in milk (I did maybe 2 cups? I didn't measure) and whisk together. The more fat in the milk, the thicker it will turn out. I had 2% in the fridge. Worked perfectly. You want the milk mixture to become thick and just start to be bubbly and then you can add your cheese. 

Any kind you want. 

Except for maybe Parmesan. It doesn't melt to a creamy texture. 

I used cheddar and Monterrey Jack. I also chose to put in some jalapeno cream cheese I had in the fridge. Unfortunately, the container was almost empty, so it ended up being like 2 or 3 spoonfuls. But hey, at least I was using up leftover items in the fridge!

You have to babysit this pot of hot milk; it can scald if you heat too high too quickly, so keep it on medium heat. Even if you're tired of waiting for it to bubble. You should be stirring it very frequently. Once you have achieved "thick and bubbly" status, the cheese can be stirred in.

Now go ahead and pour it on top of your burritos!

I put it in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until heated through and slightly bubbly. 

I served mine with some rice. 

It was pretty good. The husband and I agreed that the sauce was a little bland. But I think it would be a great sauce for a Mac and cheese! I probably should have added some salsa or taco seasoning to it to spice it up. 

Have fun making your own Mexican dish based on your kitchen!


Popular posts from this blog

DIY Produce Rack

I have seen some cool ideas on Pinterest for ways to store fresh fruits and veggies using fun buckets or storage bins that are anchored to the wall. I think that would be a fun way to store food in a kitchen where counter space is limited.
Just like my kitchen.
I was in Ross the other day - a store very similar to TJMaxx - when I had a light bulb moment when I laid my eyes on this:

A simple hanging shower caddy.
I immediately thought of all those pins of wall produce storage ideas, so I snatched the shower caddy for a mere $6.99!

And this is what I made!

So here is what you'll need:
My kitchen is also short on wall space, so I was assuming I'd either have to hang it someplace weird, or hang it on the end of my cabinets.
So I picked up a few of these command hooks:
One pretty one for the top, and two smaller ones for extra support at the bottom, and also to keep it from swinging. Be sure to pay attention to how many pounds the hooks can hold - produce can get pretty heavy, so…

The Must-Have Hair Product: Aquage Uplifting Foam

I have been on the hunt for this supposed liquid (well, foam) magic for awhile now - Aquage Uplifting Foam. I must give credit where credit is due - I first heard of this exclusive hair product from The Small Things Blog. Kate has a phenomenal blog full of informative videos showing how to style hair, not to mention her cute outfits she blogs about, too! Please, please be sure to spend some time on her blog - it has been so helpful for me; I'm sure you will all love it, too!

Anyway, I had to look up online where to find it locally because it is not sold in all salons. I went to Aquage's website to look up where I could find it here.

I was so excited to try it! I started by towel drying my just washed hair, and making little parts all over my head and spraying the Aquage in it. Then I rubbed it in a little, and then blow dried my hair. For a detailed video, check out Kate's video here. This video is how I learned to do it! :)

After my hair was dry, I could already tell ther…

The MamaRoo Review

Ever wondered if the MamaRoo baby swing is worth the money?

Here is my review, and hopefully after reading this, you will be able to decide if it's a good purchase for your family!
As a first-time mom, I had a lot on my shopping list for our baby girl. My goal was to search for good deals on quality products. We had planned on me being a stay-at-home mom, so we tried to be frugal to keep that goal a reality. At the same time, however, we had been trying to get pregnant for 4 years, and we had been dreaming of our little Ava Mckenzie for more like 5 or 6 years. So when we found out I was finally pregnant, we couldn't wait to spoil her!
I had seen the MamaRoo before and I thought it was a brilliant concept for a swing. Different motions and speed options made so much sense to me. My impulsive brain said, "I want it!", while my practical brain said, "It costs too much!".
I had been doing a really good job at not buying the most over-the-top things for my baby,…