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Quantity Tex Mex

Bulk enchilada casserole and Spanish rice are on the budget entree pages, and don't miss the chili page.

If you want to set up a self serve taco bar, the topping amounts for adults or mixed adults and kids are the same as the Baked Potato Bar. Allow 2 crispy shells and 2 soft corn tortillas per person. Add your Spanish rice and your refried or Borracho beans, some chips and guacamole, and you will have an economical, tasty buffet. For teens, increase about 1/3 more.

For fajita help, see the Fajita page.

For the ever-popular "taco salad" and home made taco seasoning, see "Escape from the trashbag" walking taco salad.

Mild Vegetarian Tacos

Simple, 2 per serving
Ingredient100 servings        250 servings
Kidney beans, canned6 #10 cans 15 #10 cans
Vegetarian Bar-B-Q sauce 4 gallons 10 gallons
Tabasco sauce 48 ounces 120 ounces
Chili powder 16 ounces 40 ounces
Taco shells 200 shells 500 shells
Lettuce, shredded 20 heads 50 heads
Tomatoes, diced, drained25 pounds62 pounds
Taco sauce, mild 3 #10 cans
2 gallons
8 #10 cans
5 gallons
Sour cream 5 quarts 12 quarts
Shredded cheese 6 pounds15 pounds
Drain and rinse beans, add BBQ sauce, Tabasco and chili powder and heat thoroughly. Dice and drain tomatoes, shred lettuce very fine using a stainless steel knife or shredder. Crisp taco shells on cookie sheets in the oven.
When ready to serve, assemble in this order: Shell, 1/3 cup beans (slotted spoon), lettuce, tomato, 1 tablespoon cheese, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 2 tablespoons salsa or taco sauce.

Simple Self Serve Beef or Chicken Tacos

This is the everything store-bought, "Taco Bell" style taco.
Serve 10 adults or 6 teenagers, multiply for your expected guests.

2 pounds (4 cups cooked) ground beef or shredded chicken
Two packages (3 ounces total) taco seasoning (see my homemade recipe for big savings)
14 taco shells, hard or soft
1 pound (4 cups) shredded cheese
1/2 head (6 ounces) iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 pint (15 ounces) of chunky Picante sauce (or 3 tomatoes, chopped and drained)
1 large onion, chopped (use green onions if you prefer)
2 1-pound cans charro or refried beans
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
1 6 ounce can chopped black olives
1 cup, approximately, medium taco Sauce

Prepare meat ahead (may be done day ahead and refrigerated). Cook ground beef in large skillet with taco seasoning per package instructions. If using chicken, cook chicken whole. Let cool slightly and shred by hand, removing skin and bones. Return to skillet or crock pot and add taco seasoning per package instructions. You may refrigerate the taco meat until your party.
To reheat meat, add just enough water until you reach the desired consistency. Place meat in crock pot for serving.
Arrange additional items on your buffet table. If your party will last several hours, use a crockpot set on low for the meat and place the bowls holding cold items into trays or bowls of chopped ice.


Creamy Bean Burritos

Yield 125 -150 servings

18 cups (9 pounds dry) pinto beans (soaked and cooked)
1 bunch celery (very fine dice or ground)
2 bell peppers (very fine dice or ground)
2 bunches cilantro (finely chopped)
¾ cup corn oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
5 tablespoons cumin powder
3 tablespoons hing or 3 pounds finely diced onions
4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
5 tablespoons oregano

180 8" flour tortillas

Fresh Salsa
16 pounds tomatoes, chopped
1-2 pounds fresh onion, peeled and diced fine
2 pounds cilantro, leaf and stem, chopped
1 pound Italian parsley, leaf only, chopped
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
OPTIONAL, 1 pound fresh bell pepper or jalapenos, seeded and diced

Garnishes may include: shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated carrots, diced cucumbers, guacamole, sliced olives, grated cheese or soy cheese, etc. Serve with the salsa on the side.

Cooking Beans: After soaking overnight and draining, cook beans until soft, then drain most of the liquid (save it) and mash coarsely.
Make salsa and garnishes: While the beans are cooking, prepare the salsa, cover and chill. Chop, drain or otherwise prepare desired garnishes.
Season the beans: In a huge frying pan or roaster, roast chili powder, cumin powder, hing or onions, and oregano in heated corn oil over medium heat. Add ground celery, peppers, and sauté. Mix in mashed beans, salt and pepper and stir fry for 10 minutes or until a good consistency is reached, adding back bean liquid if needed.
Preheat tortillas briefly in the oven or microwave. Place in tortilla wrapper, or serve separately.


Cream Cheese and Spinach Enchiladas

Serves 100

1 #10 can crushed tomato
1/2 #10 can tomato paste
1 12 ounce jar extra hot salsa
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons oregano
4 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 bay leaves

250 Tortillas

Veggie Filling- cream cheese and spinach
6 pounds cream cheese or soy cream cheese
OR 12 pounds ricotta cheese
12 pounds spinach, steamed, thoroughly drained and chopped
2 1/2 gallons whole corn niblets, steamed
1 gallon tri-color peppers, shredded fine and sauteed
OR other shredded veggies, olives, artichoke hearts, etc.
5 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/2 tablespoon cayenne
3 tablespoons oregano

4 pounds (16 cups) grated cheese OR soy cheese
OPTIONAL 5 pounds black olives, sliced, drained
Sprinkle grated cheese over the top, sprinkle on the olives.

OPTIONAL garnish at serving
3 quarts sour cream
6 quarts salsa

Make the sauce: Lightly roast spices in oil. Add tomato paste, salsa and crushed tomato. Stir in water to medium fluid consistency. Add salt, pepper, bay leaves and sugar.
Simmer until fragrant and smooth, Remove from heat.
Prepare the tortillas: Lightly steam 250 tortillas, or preheat tortillas briefly on covered trays in the oven, or microwave.
Mix the filling, Grate the cheese for topping.

You can make these rolled if you have lots of hands, or you can make them as stacked enchiladas, as I usually do. For stacked enchiladas, make 5 13x18 pans sprayed with PAM, with layers: tortillas, cheese filling, sauce, repeat 3 more times, but end in tortilla, spread on any remainder sauce and sprinkle on topping of cheese/olives. Use 2 cups of sauce and 1 1/2-2 cups of cheese filling per layer per pan, 8 cups sauce and 5-6 cups cheese filling per pan total.
Cover with foil & bake 30 minutes. Let stand covered 10 minutes before serving.
OPTIONAL serving garnish: 1 tablespoon sour cream and 2 tablespoons salsa


Tex Mex Spanish Rice-The Pink Kind

Number of 1/2 cup Servings
cups bacon drippings or oil 1 1 3/4 2 2 1/2
cups long grain rice 2 1/2 5 79
cups chopped onion1 1/2 34 1/26
cups chopped celery1 1/234 1/2 6
cups chopped bell pepper1 1/2 34 1/26
16 ounces. can diced tomatoes3 5810
cups water6101418
tablespoons salt3/4 12 3
tablespoons sugar1234
tablespoons chili powder 2 468
teaspoons black pepper 1/2 3/4 1 ¼ 1 1/2
tablespoons Worcestershire 11 1/2 2 3
frozen mixed vegetables
20 ounces40 ounces
2 1/2 pounds
60 ounces
3 3/4 pounds
80 ounces
5 pounds
*Note, some people add frozen peas and carrots or corn niblets to Spanish rice. Whan I do this, I steam separately and stir in at serving time. You need at least 20-22 ounces mixed veggies for each 25 servings.
Put water and tomatoes on to heat in a pan that can be covered.
Saute rice in about half the oil or dripping until all is lightly browned.
Saute onion, celery & pepper with spices in the rest of the oil until crisp tender.
When tomato-water boils, add rice and other liquid flavorings. Stir in the seasoned onion blend. Cover the pot with a tight lid or foil.
Stir in the frozen vegetables now or preferably cook separately and add after rice is cooked.
Cooking method 1: Stovetop: Simmer covered until rice is tender, about 30-40 minutes. Timing depends on amount and depth in pan.
Cooking method 2: Alternate oven method: Instead of simmering rice, pour into casserole pan, cover tightly and put in oven at 325 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Timing depends on amount and depth in pan.
Fluff rice and vegetables before serving.


Savory Refried Beans

Makes 50 1/3 cup servings or 35 1/2 cup servings. For 100 people, make 2 1/2 to 3 recipes.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound 2 ounces onions, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 pounds 4 ounces canned tomatoes, crushed, low-sodium
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
11 pounds ready to eat pinto beans, cooked or canned, drained (7 pound 8 ounces drained weight)

In a medium, heavy pot, heat oil. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft (10 minutes). Add garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
If using canned pintos, rinse to partially remove salt. In a food processor, purée beans, adding small amount of the tomato sauce to thin. Leave some beans whole. Put beans into pot with remaining sauce and heat, stirring often.

Nutrient Analysis Per Serving: (Portion size 1/3 cup) Calories 103, Protein 6 g, Fat 1 g, Carbohydrate 18 g, Sodium 151 mg


Green Veggie or Pork Sauce for Burritos

8 burritos

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound mushrooms halved
OR 1 pound pork butt, cubed and browned
1 large onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 to 1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 carrots chopped
1 green pepper chopped
2-3 fresh jalapenos chopped (wear gloves to prep)
2 #2 cans tomatillos (mexican green husk tomatoes)
8 tortillas

In a large saucepan, brown the mushrooms or pork, remove and set aside. In the same oil, wilt the onions, add garlic and spice, cook about two minutes, add vegetables, wil t slightly. Return meat/mushrooms to pan, add tomatillos.
Simmer all this for at least an hour.
Serve by spooning into a large tortilla.

New Mexico Creamy Green Chili Sauce

2 cups

4 poblano chilies, roasted, peeled, seeded and finely chopped, 1/2 cup
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup heavy cream

Set oven to broil. Arrange poblano chilies on broiler rack with tops about 5 inches from heat. Broil 12-17 minutes, turning occasionally until skin is blistered and evenly browned, not burned. Remove chilies to plastic bag; close tightly. Let stand 20 minutes.
Peel, seed and finely chop chilies. Cook onion, poblano and jalapeno chilies and garlic in oil over medium heat about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender.
Stir in cream and salt.


Mucho Gusto Crunchy Mexican Appetizer/ Jicama Salad

In Mexico, cooks often sprinkle red pepper flakes over this appetizer.
8-10 servings

2 oranges
1 jicama
2 cucumbers
1 tablespoon lemon juice
orange juice or concentrate
OPTIONAL oil or olive oil to taste
OPTIONAL rock salt OR coarse sea salt
OPTIONAL but very authentic red pepper flakes

Peel the two oranges, seed and cut them into cubes.
Peel and cube one medium sized jicama.
Peel, seed and cube two medium sized cucumbers.
Mix the oranges, jicama and cucumbers together, add the juice of 1/2 lemon, a little orange juice to taste, a sprinkling of salt.
Chill. Serve in a bowl with toothpicks.


Keep Up the Pace Piquante Sauce

about 3 quarts

5 onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
12-14-small, ripe peeled tomatoes, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup chopped jalapeno peppers
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 cup cooking oil
1 cup water
4 tablespoons salt
4 teaspoons black pepper

Combine all ingredients and simmer 2-1/2 to 3 hours until thick.
Cool to room temperature. Use at once or pour while hot into sterilized jars and seal. Store in refrigerator.


Universal Salsa

About 1 quart
Great with corn chips.

1/3 cup (1 medium) sweet white onion, chopped fine
2 small or one large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
OR 1 can stewed tomatoes
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
OR fresh, minced jalapeno and/or bell pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
OPTIONAL sprinkle of garlic powder or one clove fresh garlic smashed
black pepper and salt to taste
2-5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2-4 tablespoons brown sugar

Combine all, and refrigerate overnight.
You can substitute one or more pickled jalapeno peppers for the canned diced green chiles. Wear gloves when working with fresh chiles. Remove the seeds and pith before mincing.

Adjust the brown sugar/vinegar mix to suit your taste.


Corn and Tomato Salsa

About 1 quart

1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 small ears) or frozen, thawed
1 large tomato, seeded, chopped
2/3 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 to 1 jalapeño chili, seeded, minced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, chopped
cilantro sprigs for garnish

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, cover and chill before serving.


Plum Chile Salsa

1 quart

1 pound ripe purple or red plums (about 4 large), diced (about 3 cups)
1/3 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon minced seeded fresh jalapeño (wear rubber gloves)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste In a bowl, stir together the plums, onion, cilantro, mint, jalapeño, lime juice and sugar. Salt and pepper to taste.


Mango Salsa

About 6 cups
Rather sweet and very pretty

1/2 cup jalapeño pepper jelly
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2-1/2 cups chopped peeled pitted mango
1-1/4 cups chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped red onion OR other sweet onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño chili, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together jelly and lime juice in large bowl. Mix in all remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and chill.


Pineapple-Apricot Salsa

3 cups
sweet, pretty

1 cup finely chopped peeled cored fresh pineapple
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup apricot-pineapple preserves
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1-1/2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chili
OR 1/2 cup minced bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste Mix all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.


Pico De Gallo Salsa

With avocado, 1 gallon fresh, coarsely chunky and not too juicy
This can be made up to a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Should be rather crispy/chunky, not mush. Drain off any excess juice from the tomatoes before serving.

24 tomatoes, diced, slightly underripe
2-3 cups diced sweet onion
OPTIONAL 3 to 6 jalapeno or serrano chiles (or more), seeded and diced, if desired. Use 1- 2 cups bell pepper if you want no heat...
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro salt to taste
VARIATION: 6 avocados, diced

Combine the tomatoes, onion, peppers/jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice and salt
Avocados may be added if the pico de gallo will be used as a dip and not stored- avocado will spoil the sauce if left overnight.

Salsa Thoughts

Salsas are a way to add fresh vegetables and fruits to a meal while sparking up its color and taste.

Almost any fruit or vegetable can be the base for a salsa, you want to select tender specimens and dice carefully. Pick for color as well as taste; a well-made salsa can be striking. Your ingredients should be cut to a fine dice, that is, everything should be uniform in size and about a quarter-inch cube.

Chiles or peppers, and cilantro are found in almost every salsa.

Cilantro, AKA Chinese Parsley or Coriander, is very pungent. It has an unique aroma. It blends with just about any flavor and accents that flavor or blend of flavors. Some people take a while to get used to it, and flat leaf Italian parsley CAN be substituted, though with a considerable change in flavor. If you get hooked on cilantro, you will want to try it in almost every recipe.

Other green herbs can be used for cilantro in salsa variations- I have made Italian-oriented salsa with fresh basil and oregano, and a salsa for fish with chopped sorrel and arugula.