By Lynn Andriani
Get a homemade, fresh-tasting meal on the table without having to chop 15 different ingredients.
Minimalist tacos are not only a lot easier to prepare than our fully loaded American versions but also more authentic. In Mexico, you won't find tortillas and meat garnished with much more than some finely diced white onion, chopped cilantro and maybe a spoonful of salsa. Chorizo is practically a ready-made taco filling; just be sure to buy Mexican (which is uncooked) and not Spanish (which is dry-cured). Remove the meat from the casing and sauté it over medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Right before you sit down to eat, brush soft corn tortillas with olive oil and heat them in a skillet for about 30 seconds on each side.
The open-faced sandwich of Mexican cuisine, tostadas often feature the same ingredients you find in tacos. The toppings in this recipe consist of just ground turkey, a can of crushed tomatoes, one spice (chili powder) and a can of pinto beans. Stop there, or if you have a few extra minutes, garnish with salsa and chopped lettuce. Whether you take the stripped-down or slightly stepped-up approach, you'll be munching on a spicy, crunchy supper in no time.
Get the recipe: 20-Minute Turkey Tostadas
If the thought of stuffing, rolling and baking individual tortillas on a Tuesday night has you stopped dead in your tracks, take heart in Cristina Ferrare's shortcut take on the Mexican casserole. It really is just four steps: Pour jarred enchilada sauce over tortillas to soften them; spread refried beans, rotisserie chicken and cheese on each; roll up and place in a baking dish; and bake. (A sour cream -- enchilada sauce topping is optional -- or you could just save some enchilada sauce and pour it over the filled tortillas.)
Get the recipe: Chicken Enchiladas
The only problem with what's essentially an ooey-gooey Mexican grilled cheese sandwich is that it's often not much more interesting than two tortillas held together with some melted Monterey Jack. Add-ins like chicken and steak taste delicious but can take longer to cook than bang-for-your-buck ingredients like earthy shiitake mushrooms
, which are ready in less than five minutes, or inexpensive but filling shrimp
, which might just be the quickest-cooking protein on the planet. Even speedier are chicken sausage
and smoked turkey
. Since they're ready to eat, you can just layer them in with the cheese; as it melts, they'll warm up.
Click through the slideshow below to find even more great recipes for Mexican food.