Building Your Mexican Food Pantry

"You always seem to be throwing together some sort of Mexican dish when I'm here." A new-ish friend of mine made this observation recently when she came over, and it struck me as an odd thing to notice.  Doesn't everyone make Mexican-ish food when they don't want to think about what to cook?

I asked my friend and she gave me an emphatic, "No, that's not what people do!"  When I asked why not, she said she didn't think she ever had the correct ingredients on hand.

Hmmm. This is an easily corrected problem because the most common things I use have a very long shelf-life and live in the spice rack or in the refrigerator.

Spice drawer supplies

Whenever possible, I buy Badia brand spices because they are about half the cost of other brands and given my consumption of these products, I am definitely price-sensitive. The must-have spices are:

  • Bay Leaves
  • Chili Powder
  • Chipolte chili powder (optional for extra heat)
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder

Most of these spices kick up the taste of your guacamole and add extra zing to soups, meats, and marinades.


Sauce Selection

Speaking of marinades, the Goya brands are fabulous for your flank/skirt steaks, chicken, or pork. Keep these assorted bottles in your pantry until opening and then in the fridge. I usually have multiple bottles of each of these products for back up!  This is your shopping list:

Odds & Ends

In order to make your own salsa, or chilaquilas, you would have to buy assorted fresh ingredients (definitely worth the trip to the store), but on any given day, you should always, always, ALWAYS have the following on hand:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Corn salsa (Trader Joes is the best and yes, I am dangerously low on my supply!!)
  • Avocados
  • Garlic
  • Lime
  • Mexican cheese (also on my shopping list!)
  • Tortilla chips (not pictured)

Of course it helps to have cilantro, but it's optional in a pinch. When you have all of the above and you're hungry for lunch, a tasty bite is just a few steps away. Just this week I turned a leftover short rib into this taco...As they say down South, "that dog will hunt!"

Stock up my friends!!!