Here's another post that will hopefully give you some ideas for easy meals at home: Quick Lunch with Homemade Half and Half Tortillas.
I make improvised meals like this all the time -- they're fast, delicious, and very easy on the wallet 🙂
It's always best to let the fridge dictate the initial idea, so feel free to use what you have available. Here's what I started with:
So in the above pic I've got:
half bag of Masa Harina What is Masa Harina?
awesome refried beans
leftover bacon drippings
a mushy avocado
And here's what I ended up with:
A quick, simple meal that is far superior to the Mexican take-out options in my area. Tough to beat that right?
These Half and Half Tortillas are becoming more popular lately. They're a combo of Masa Harina and traditional flour -- the flour gives makes them heartier while the Masa Harina helps them retain that delicious corn flavor.
They're super easy to make so I whipped up a few for this lunch.
In general, flour tortillas will prefer some real deal lard, but I've found that you can get away with just about any fat (see Flour Tortillas made with Bacon Drippings or Flour Tortillas made with Olive Oil).
I had some leftover bacon drippings in the fridge so that's what I used for this batch:
1/2 cup Masa Harina
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon fat (bacon drippings)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup warm water (plus more to combine)
Start by combining the flour, Masa Harina, and salt in a mixing bowl:
Add the single tablespoon of fat. I like to disintegrate the fat into the mixture using my fingers.
Add 1/3 cup warm water and combine it as much as you can, then dumping it onto a work surface.
See those crumbly bits? That means it needs a bit more water to combine.
Simply add a few sprinkles of warm water as you knead it together. Eventually it will form a cohesive dough:
You should be able to handle it without it sticking to your hands. If it's sticky then simply add a sprinkling of Masa Harina to dry it out.
Conversely, if it's still crumbly then keep adding splashes of warm water.
Traditional flour tortillas benefit from letting the dough rest for a bit, but with these half-and-half tortillas you can get away with making the tortillas right away.
Pull off a golf ball sized chunk of dough and roll it between your hands. Then surround it with plastic -- I like to use a Ziploc with the top cut off.
You can use a tortilla press to flatten them if you've got one.
But here I'm using a flat-bottomed casserole dish and that works just as well.
As with most homemade tortillas, I like these best when they are ultra-thin.
You'll need a perfectly flat dish to get the tortillas thin, or you can always use a rolling pin to give them a final pass.
You'll know if you've got the consistency of the dough right when you peel off the Ziploc:
If it sticks to the plastic then the dough is probably still a little too wet. And if it crumbles or disintegrates then it's a bit dry.
These tortillas need about 45-60 seconds per side over medium heat to fully cook.
I'm still in the habit of using the quick flip method, where you flip the tortilla after 5-10 seconds and then cook each side for 45-60 seconds.
This initial blast will seal in some heat and help the insides cook quicker -- I find this method also makes it more likely that your tortillas will puff up when cooking.
Ideally you'll have light brown spots forming on the underside of the tortilla within 45-60 seconds.
If it's taking minutes to get light brown spots to form, then you'll need to raise the heat.
Conversely, if you're getting dark brown spots quickly then your heat is too high. A tad over medium heat is the sweet spot on my stove.
You'll get 5-7 tortillas from this recipe. Feel free to double it for larger groups. Or if you only need a couple tortillas then feel free to store some leftover dough in the fridge -- it will keep for a few days.
Once the tortillas were cooked I started gathering the other fixings. I diced up half an avocado and tossed it with some lime juice and salt:
I also had some of these refried beans in the fridge. These beans bring me so many quick meals, so if you're new to them please give 'em a go!
Beans heat up fast so I usually just put them on the cooked tortillas and give 'em some time in the skillet.
I also added a smidge of bacon drippings to the skillet. This will give the cooked tortillas a slight crisp, but this step is optional.
Then I topped each of these beauties with:
And they were just what Dr. Lunch prescribed -- fast, delicious, and super easy on the wallet!
I like adding avocado to these lately as the fat from the avocado keeps me full. If you're using avocado be sure to toss it with salt and lime juice as it will give you a massive upgrade 🙂
But again, feel free to get creative with the final toppings as this meal is willing to accommodate your fridge.
Okay, let me know if you have any questions about making this Quick Lunch with Homemade Half and Half Tortillas.
It's a great technique to keep in mind and it can lead to all sorts of easy, delicious meals.
Quick Lunch with Homemade Half and Half Tortillas
For the Half and Half Tortillas:
- 1/2 cup Masa Harina
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon fat (I used bacon drippings)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup warm water (plus more to combine)
For the fixings (optional):
- 1 cup refried beans
- 1 avocado
- cheese (I used Queso Fresco)
- freshly chopped cilantro
- pickled jalapenos
- Start by combining 1/2 cup Masa Harina, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl. Add a single tablespoon of fat (I used bacon drippings). I like to disintegrate the fat into the mixture using my fingers. Add 1/3 cup warm water and combine it as much as you can.
- Dump this mixture onto a work surface and add splashes of warm water until you can knead it into a cohesive dough. If the dough is still crumbly then it needs more water. Conversely, if the dough is sticking to your hands then it's too wet -- simply give it a sprinkling of Masa Harina to dry it out. Once you've got a cohesive ball of dough that you can handle without sticking then it's done.
- Pull off a golfball sized chunk of dough and roll it between your hands. Surround the dough ball with plastic -- I like to use a Ziploc bag with the top cut off. Flatten the dough ball with any flat-bottomed dish -- I used a casserole dish for this batch. I like homemade tortillas best when they are ultra-thin -- if it's hard to accomplish that with a casserole dish then feel free to give them a final pass with a rolling pin. Tip: pushing down in a side-to-side motion can flatten them further.
- Preheat a skillet or comal to mediumish heat -- a tad over medium heat is the sweet spot on my stove. Peel the plastic off the flattened tortilla and add the tortilla to the skillet. Give it a quick flip after 5-10 seconds, then cook each side for 45-60 seconds or until light brown spots are forming on the underside of the tortilla.
- Notes: you'll know if you've got the consistency of the dough right when you go to peel off the plastic from the flattened tortilla. If the tortilla is sticking to the plastic then the dough is too wet -- simply add a sprinkling of masa harina to the dough to dry it out a bit. Conversely, if the dough is still crumbly then it needs a bit more water. It also might take a sacrifice to get the temp of the stove right. Ideally you'll have light brown spots forming on the underside of the tortilla within 45-60 seconds. If it's taking minutes to get brown spots then you'll need to raise the heat. If you're getting dark brown spots quickly then the heat is too high.
- As one tortilla cooks, pinch off another ball of dough and flatten it. You are welcome to cook multiple tortillas at a time if you have a large skillet or comal, or you can just cook them one at a time. You'll get 5-7 tortillas from this recipe.
- Once the tortillas are cooked you can set them aside as you gather the other fixings. For this batch that meant dicing up some avocado and tossing it with lime juice and salt, dicing up Pickled Jalapenos, rinsing and chopping cilantro, crumbling Queso Fresco, and slicing up a lime.
- I usually re-heat the tortillas right before serving. For this batch I put a smidge of bacon drippings in the skillet and dredged the tortillas in the melted fat (optional), then topped with a thin layer of refried beans. This will heat up the beans as well.
- Now it's time to load up your Half and Half Tortillas! For this batch each tortilla got a thin layer of refried beans, pickled jalapenos, diced avocado bits, crumbled Queso Fresco, freshly chopped cilantro, and a final squeeze of lime. Serve immediately.
- Note: if you only need a few tortillas, feel free to store the leftover dough in the fridge for a few days. You'll be able to pinch off a ball of dough anytime you're craving a freshly cooked tortilla 🙂
Want to see the latest post? It's these Creamy Chipotle Chicken Tostadas: