Marvel in Mexican

With Cinco de Mayo quickly approaching, many folks are looking for ways to incorporate delicious Mexican dishes into their cooking repertoire. This week, Four for $40 explores two breakfast dishes and two dinner dishes inspired by Mexican cuisine. At just under $40, this week’s grocery haul is sure to satisfy the craving for home-cooked Mexican food.

The first recipe is a delicious take on Machaca. At $5.99, Trader Joe’s cooked carnitas is a great way to save on cooking time. Shoppers can heat the fully cooked pork up in the microwave for three minutes. While that is cooking, the prep work can be done. 

Chop up ½ a bell pepper, 1 clove of garlic and ¼ of an onion. Throw the ingredients in a pan and sauté in some olive oil until just before the onion is translucent. Then, chefs can tear up the pork with two forks. Add the pork into the pan with the veggies, then crack an egg or two into the pan. Cook until the egg is set and remove from heat. Top with the salsa of one’s choice – in this case it was Trader Joe’s green tomatillo salsa. Serve with flour tortillas. This meal serves one person, but can be adjusted to create more servings and takes about 20 minutes to complete. 

The first dinner meal of the week is a fast and easy way to create a delicious grilled flavor. Trader Joe’s has a variety of marinated meat packets, and the Pollo Asado is a fast and easy buy to make a filling protein dinner. Folks can grill this or simply cook on the stove in a pan. This chicken is fully marinated, but chefs can feel free to add any additional desired spices. 

Pollo asado can be accompanied by rice, which is a pantry staple in many households. This meal included a tasty saffron-turmeric rice, and was cooked for 30 minutes in the rice cooker. Also included in the meal is Trader Joe’s Cuban style black beans. At $0.99 a can, this price can’t be beat. The beans can be heated on the stove or in a microwave safe bowl. Finally, for some greens, folks can add some spinach or lettuce for a light side salad. This salad was topped with bell peppers and radishes. Adding cilantro also makes an excellent garnish that provides some flavor.

The second breakfast is a quick and easy take on huevos rancheros. Many families keep corn tortillas in the refrigerator. Heat up two tortillas, and place on a plate when hot and crispy. Place an egg in hot oil and fry for a few minutes. A trick to getting a perfectly cooked fried egg is to cover the pan with a lid so that the steam rises and cooks the top of the egg. If the pan is big enough, one can cook two eggs at a time. If not, simply cook the second egg after the first one is finished. While the eggs are cooking, place Trader Joe’s refried pinto beans into a pot and heat thoroughly. Place the two tortillas, one overlapping the other, on a plate. Coat with a thick layer of the beans. Place the two eggs on top of each tortilla. Top with tomatillo salsa and hot sauce of one’s choice. This recipe yields one serving and takes 10 minutes to prepare. 

The final recipe is the piece de resistance – it’s hard to go wrong with stuffed bell pepper. This recipe used lean ground turkey seasoned with garlic salt, and Trader Joe’s Elote and Chile Lime seasonings as well as Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar, a delicious salsa that includes corn and black beans. 

Cook the ground turkey thoroughly, which usually takes about 15 minutes, although cooking time may vary. While the turkey is cooking, set a pot of quinoa, another pantry staple, to cook on the stove. Slice the bell peppers in half and place on a tray and make sure to preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the turkey is cooked, spoon the mixture into the bell peppers. Top with Trader Joe’s shredded Mexican cheese blend. Place into the oven and cook for 30 minutes. 

Take out the stuffed peppers, top with queso fresco and bake for another five minutes to melt the queso. Remove from the oven and plate. Add the quinoa to the plate and top with cherry tomatoes for an extra addition of antioxidants. Garnish with parsley or cilantro. Including prep time, this recipe takes a bit longer to cook, about an hour. However, the end result is an Instagram-worthy plate, ready for a Cinco de Mayo dinner.

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