Get a homemade, fresh-tasting meal on the table without having to chop 15 different ingredients, or dirty a bunch of pots and pans.
By Lynn AndrianiOprah.com
The Healthy, One-Pot Dinner Version of Nachos
Credit: Lynn Andriani
Black beans, corn, avocado, shredded Monterey Jack, cumin and ancho chili are great on tortilla chips, but this easy dish shows just how versatile these ingredients can be. Quinoa is the base for this healthy meal—it cooks in the same pan as the beans and corn, along with diced red bell pepper and tomato. The spices add depth, and you garnish the somewhat spicy mixture with cooling dollops of sour cream, sliced avocado and shredded cheese.
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.
Dinner Spuds with a Kick But No Kaboodle
Credit: Alison Gootee
Baked potatoes for supper are a throwback everyone loves—that is, everyone but the cook, since the meal can entail prepping a staggering number of fixings. The beauty of this Mexican take on the meal? The additions are scaled back yet rich with flavor. While sweet potatoes bake, you cook garlic, chipotle chilies and black beans on the stove. Stir in some lime zest and juice, then spoon the beans into the split potatoes, topping each with sour cream and cilantro.
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.
A Mexican-Italian Casserole with 2 Smart Shortcuts
Credit: Alison Gootee
The multi-step affair that is lasagna gets a weeknight makeover with this smart (and delicious) recipe. Like most Mexican twists on the cheesy, baked dish, it calls for tortillas instead of lasagna noodles. Instead of using ground beef, though, you stir in already-cooked rotisserie chicken. And while many recipes for this crowd-pleasing supper serve, well, a crowd, this one is perfectly suited for four, which means everything cooks more quickly.
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.)
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 andsmoked turkey. Since they're ready to eat, you can just layer them in with the cheese; as it melts, they'll warm up.
6 Small Upgrades To Tacos That Will Blow Your Mind
Shift Your Salsa
It's hard to imagine a taco without a chunky, tomato-based sauce, yet too often we don't give much thought to the red (or green) stuff. Making your own salsa can be as simple as chopping tomato, onion and some jalapeño -- and making minor tweaks to the formula can yield massive results in the flavor department. Try adding tomatillos (<a href="http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Chipotle-Tomatillo-Salsa-and-Avocado-Recipe" target="_blank">this recipe uses them exclusively</a>) or, as chef Alex Stupak, author of <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Tacos-Recipes-Provocations-Alex-Stupak/dp/0553447297?tag=thehuffingtop-20" target="_blank">Tacos: Recipes and Provocations</a></i>, suggests, use roasted onion, for a subtly sweet flavor.