I love food. I’ve always had a huge appetite, so I’ve always had to watch the kind of food that I eat as I eat so much of it! As such, I felt compelled to share one of my staple recipes that can feed a family with a variety of twists on the base recipe and most kids above toddler stage will enjoy a milder version of it, while you can easily spice it up for those inclined.
There are 3 big reasons why I love making Mexican food at home:
- I can make a delicious snack or meal that is really healthy, high in protein and vitamins, yet relatively low in calories.
- It is very inexpensive
- I can make a pretty big quantity of it, but change it up throughout the week so we don’t get bored with it.
The healthy part
Two of my main ingredients are beans and onions – both superfoods. And the other ingredients: tomatoes, chilis, peppers and lettuce aren’t far behind.
Note that this is, “making Mexican food at home”. Its really not that easy to get a low calorie, healthy Mexican dish at a restaurant simply because of the over-reliance on saturated fats, salt, cheese and preservatives.
The inexpensive part
My method of this quick Mexican bean dip is relatively cheap. I get all the base ingredients at Aldi. I’m loving Aldi as they are bringing tons of organic choices to us common folk at really low prices. The base ingredients shown here only total about $6.50.
Once we have the bean dip down, we can make nachos, tacos, tostadas and burritos from there. They’ll require a few more ingredients such as chips, lettuce, tortillas and cheese, but we’ll work our way up to that. To make this easily digestible (pun intended), I’m just going to walk you through Stage 1 of the recipe for now.
** Stage 2 (next week) will takes us through healthy and delicious versions of tacos and burritos and will include a (not so healthy) guilty pleasure that I call my Nearly-World-Famous DeathStar Mexican Pizza!
First let’s take a look at Stage 1: entry level bean dip
It’s important to get this staple down correctly, so that Stage 2 falls in place seamlessly.
The can of refried beans, onion and 2 cans of Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilis are the base ingredients. I’ll assume that you have parsley laying around – I use that in place of fresh cilantro most often.
And what you see pictured above is the correct ratio for the bean dip – 2 cans of the Tomatoes & Green Chilis to 1 can of refried beans with one finely diced onion. Add a couple table spoons of parsley or cilantro, mix it well, and you’re good to go.
I also usually add pickled jalapeño and some chipotle peppers as I like spicy food, but that’s personal taste.
I’ll mention that at the end of summer, I typically make my own fresh salsa when fruits and vegetables are at their best — but its a lot more expensive. Its also worth noting that all of these canned ingredients shown here are all “whole”… as in no preservatives and cost a little over a dollar each.
At this point, we have a delicious entry level bean dip that will satisfy every vegetarian, vegan and carnivore alike.
What can you do with this?
If you want to maintain the super-healthy aspect of it, simply chop up a head of romaine lettuce, then add the bean dip and 4-6 ounces of guacamole and you have fairly low calorie and satisfying taco salad.
Or… You can toast up some all-natural corn tortillas from Whole Foods and apply a later of bean dip, then finely diced lettuce, top it with shredded cheese and you have a healthy vegetarian tostada!
Or.. if you’re like me and feel that BALANCED diet means mixing in a guilty pleasure, buy your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy!
I usually mix up a batch of this bean dip about once/month for my daughter and I. It doesn’t last long enough to tire of, and it certainly stretches out the food budget.
Next week I’ll show how to take this to Stage 2: HEALTHY, but amazingly delicious NON-vegetarian tacos and burritos AND the big bonus – my Nearly-World-Famous DeathStar Mexican Pizza!
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