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53 Make-Ahead Mexican Recipes

Zesty, south-of-the border flavor is yours for the taking…even on your busiest nights. Just try one of these convenient Mexican dishes that you can prep, assemble or cook ahead of time, and dinner is ready when you are. Deliciosa!

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Black Bean Turkey Enchiladas

My best friend and I created this recipe together because we wanted a meal that’s easy to prepare, affordable and nutritious. We both have hectic schedules, so when we’re feeling crunched for time, it’s a relief to have these wholesome enchiladas waiting for us in the freezer. —Holly Baber, Seattle, Washington
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Texas-Style Lasagna

With its spicy flavor, this dish is a real crowd-pleaser. It's great with side servings of picante sauce, guacamole and tortilla chips.— Effie Gish, Fort Worth, Texas
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Mexican Pork & Pinto Beans

We've lived in Arizona for decades, so Mexican-style cooking has become the same as "Arizona-style cooking" for us. Nothing tastes better than chili-spiced pork with tortillas. —Anne Fatout, Phoenix, Arizona
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Spicy Bean and Beef Pie

My daughter helped me come up with this recipe when we wanted a one-dish meal that was different than a casserole. This pie slices nicely and is a fun and filling dish. —Debra Dohy, Massillon, Ohio
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Avocado Salsa

I was planning a party and thought it might be fun to try a different kind of avocado salsa. This recipe was an absolute success. Scoop it up with chips, spoon it over chicken or steak, or eat it on its own! —Susan Vandermeer, Ogden, Utah
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Hacienda Hash Browns

I use a clear glass dish to show off my hash brown bake. The bold pepper, cilantro, cumin and garlic make this potato-egg casserole extraordinary. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
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Jalapeno Popper Corn Cupcakes

Cream cheese frosting may seem like an unlikely partner for a jalapeno and cornmeal cupcake, but we guarantee the treats are sure to please! —Tina Bellows, Racine, Wisconsin
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Slow-Cooked Chicken Enchilada Soup

This soup delivers a big bowl of fresh comfort—just ask my husband. Toppings like avocado, sour cream and tortilla strips are a must. —Heather Sewell, Harrisonville, Missouri
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Tangy Turkey Tostadas

I'm a health fitness specialist and personal trainer, so I know how important it is to make smart food choices to fuel my day. These fast and filling tostadas are packed with lean protein, fiber and a good dose of veggies. Have them any night of the week. —Julie Huntington, Memphis, Tennessee
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German Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

I first tried tres leches cake while in Ecuador several years ago. Since then, I’ve changed it up by adding some of my favorite ingredients, namely chocolate and coconut. This version also has a splash of rum for an adults-only treat. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas
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Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

Here's a kid-friendly dish so flavorful and fun, nobody is likely to guess that it's also lower in fat. It's a great family supper for busy weeknights! —Anne Thomsen, Westchester, Ohio
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Cinnamon-Spiced Pumpkin Flan

I love pumpkin and decided to add it to a traditional recipe for flan. It's an interesting change of pace from the usual holiday pie. —Alisha Rodrigues, Tetonia, Idaho
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Buenos Dias Breakfast

I love the way the tortilla strips puff up when this is baked. It's a protein-rich, no-fuss recipe that everyone in my family enjoys, even the meat-lovers. —Barbara Burge, Los Gatos, California
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Chipotle Beef Chili

I love spicy food, so I think this chili really hits the spot. If you are sensitive to chili peppers, start out with one or two chipotles and go up from there. —Steven Schend, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Spicy Shredded Chicken

I love Mexican food, but not the high calorie count that often comes with it. This easy dish is healthy, delicious and a definite crowd pleaser! I like to serve the chicken with warm tortillas, rice, beans and salsa. For an equally awesome dish, you can substitute beef or pork for the chicken. —Heather Walker, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

I've made quite a few tacos in my day, but you can't beat the tender filling made in a slow cooker. These are by far the best pork tacos we've had—and we've tried plenty. Make the mango salsa from scratch if you have time! Yum. —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas
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Black Bean Turkey Chili

This busy-day chili is packed with flavor. We make it ahead and freeze some to eat later. —Marisela Segovia, Miami, Florida
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Mexican Cabbage Roll Soup

I love sharing our humble and hearty soup made with beef, cabbage and green chiles. A blast of cilantro gives it a sunshiny finish. —Michelle Beal, Powell, Tennessee
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Cheddar Beef Enchiladas

I created these enchiladas to satisfy several picky eaters in our house. They were an instant hit and are now requested at least once a week. I especially like that we can enjoy this meal twice by freezing half for a later (and busier) day. —Stacy Cizek, Conrad, Iowa
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Slow-Cooker Carnitas

We shared these flavor-packed tacos with friends from church who came over to help us move. They're so good, I put them on my blog, manilaspoon.com! The slow cooker makes this recipe extra easy, and I love that whenever I make it, I'm reminded of the wonderful people back in Michigan. —Abigail Raines, Hamden, Connecticut
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Mexican Ice Cream Sundaes

This dessert makes an impressive presentation. The flour tortillas take on a subtle flavor sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, and they make a pleasing combination with cornflakes. Everybody loves ice cream for dessert. —Milbert Fichter Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Fiesta Chicken

Chili powder and picante sauce add just the right dash to this hearty main dish. It's a snap to assemble since it uses convenience foods. —Teresa Peterson, Kasson, Minnesota
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Southwest Breakfast Tart

Give your breakfast crowd a stick-to-the-ribs jump start on Christmas morning with this cheesy tart. It’s packed with sausage, plenty of heat, holiday color and hearty Tex-Mex flavor. —Pamela Shank, Parkersburg, West Virginia
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Chili Tortilla Bake

A homestyle Tex-Mex casserole is all it takes to gather the whole family around the dinner table. With its popular flavors and bubbly cheese topping, there is never a need to worry about leftovers. —Celine Weldy, Cave Creek, Arizona
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Shortcut Tres Leches Cake

My mom's favorite cake is tres leches, a butter cake soaked in three kinds of milk. I developed a no-fuss version that’s rich and tender. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Low & Slow Pork Verde

My family loves this versatile pork dish. We like to have it over a serving of cheesy grits, but it also goes well with rice or potatoes. Leftovers make an excellent starter for white chili. —Val Ruble, Ava, Missouri
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Steak with Citrus Salsa

A lime juice marinade really perks up these grilled steaks, and the snappy, light citrus salsa is a super change from the usual heavy steak sauce. I brighten up winter meals by broiling the meat and serving it this way. —Kathleen Smith, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Southwest Chicken Barley Chowder

Mashed squash helps make this chowder creamy but not heavy, and it's a favorite way to get barley on the table. My kids even ask for leftovers for lunch. —Pamela Cleghorn, Campbellsburg, Indiana
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Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cakes

These spiced balls are a yummy twist on a traditional favorite. Sometimes I add mini chocolate chips to the dough and, after baking, dip the cooled cookies in melted almond bark. —Joanne Valkema, Freeport, Illinois
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Skillet Beef Tamales

I found something similar to this years ago and have recently added my own spin. Here’s the outcome: an easy, cheesy meal your family can't get enough of. We don't have to tell them it's healthy. —Deborah Williams, Peoria, Arizona
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Overnight Ham and Egg Casserole

I love how easy it is to assemble this savory egg casserole. Putting it together the night before really frees up my time the next morning. —Jennifer Howell, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Cheesy Mexican Chicken Alfredo

Cheesy Mexican Chicken Alfredo

I was hosting a baby shower and wanted to serve something everyone would enjoy. I created this recipe on a whim, so I was totally surprised that it turned out to be such a hit. —Tia Woodley, Stockbridge, Georgia
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Chiles Rellenos Souffle

After we spent the night at our friends’ house in Arizona, we awoke to the tantalizing aroma of an egg souffle. It brings back wonderful memories. —Pat Coyne, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Spicy Sweet Potato & Chickpea Soup

I love hearty, healthy entree soups, and a bowl of this southwestern sweet potato-soup really satisfies. I add a can of chickpeas for protein, making it ideal for an easy dinner. And it reheats and even freezes beautifully, so I often make a double batch. —Jennifer Fisher, Austin, Texas
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Zippy Chicken Enchiladas

Leftover chicken gets an awesome makeover in this rich and creamy casserole. This colorful dish is loaded with flavor. It's a nice change of pace from beef enchiladas. —Julie Moutray, Wichita, Kansas
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Southwestern Pork Chops

This recipe came out of necessity! I love to cook but hate to grocery shop, and one day I found myself with nothing but some pork chops, canned black beans and canned tomatoes. This is the dish I came up with, and my husband loved it.—Vicki L. Blaine, Plymouth, Michigan
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Easy Ropa Vieja Stew

Use your slow cooker for this meaty Cuban classic, which offers bold flavors without a lot of hands-on time. —Denise Nyland, Panama City, Florida
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Chiles Rellenos Quiche

To me, nothing sparks up a meal more than the smoky flavor of roasted green chiles. This is a quick and easy recipe, and I usually have the ingredients on hand, so when I don’t know what to fix for dinner, I make this quiche. —Linda Miritello, Mesa, Arizona
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Mexican Smothered Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are a juicier, less expensive alternative to boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They're used to perfection in this Mexican-inspired dish. —Jeanne Trudell, Del Norte, Colorado
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Fiesta Beef & Noodle Skillet

Fiesta Beef & Noodle Skillet

Tacos and pasta come together in this zesty dish my family demands. It's cheesy, a tad spicy, and you can ring that dinner bell in no time. —Amber Willard, Slinger, WI
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Not-Fried Ice Cream Cake

We created this ice cream cake to mimic the popular dessert in many Mexican restaurants without the deep frying. It’s a no-fuss treat that feeds a crowd, and it’s conveniently made ahead. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Brunch Buddies Enchiladas

In our women's group, we take turns making brunch. I was tired of the same casseroles so I invented this Mexican-style bake. The recipe requests keep coming. —Julia Huntington, Cheyenne, Wyoming
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Sassy Salsa Meat Loaves

We still can’t settle on our favorite salsa, but, honestly, why bother? There are so many fantastic options! We love trying them all in this twist on classic meat loaf. You can make these loaves ahead, and they’ll last for a few days—perfect for meat loaf sandwiches topped with a little Monterey Jack cheese. —Tasha Tully, Owings Mills, Maryland
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Chipotle Pulled Chicken

At our house, low-and-slow recipes have to have kid and husband appeal, plus good marks for nutrition. This chipotle chicken wins in both categories. Use leftovers for zippy barbecue pizzas or burritos. —Tamra Parker, Manlius, New York
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Mexican Sausage & Cornbread Strata

The beauty of my Mexican strata is that you can change it depending on the veggies you have on hand. I make mine most often with corn and pico de gallo. —Lisa Huff, Wilton, Connecticut
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Spicy Turkey Tacos

So easy, so healthy and so good—I love these whenever I'm in the mood for a little Mexican food. With a hint of cinnamon, these tacos have an unusual blend of seasonings that's exotic and mouthwatering. —Kendra Doss, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Cherry Biscochitos

I discovered the wonderful anise flavor of biscochitos, which are traditional cookies of New Mexico. I created my own version with maraschino cherries and fresh cranberries. —Mary Shivers, Ada, Oklahoma
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Pork, Bean & Rice Burritos

The combination of spices is key to this slow-cooked pork—it's my family's favorite burrito filling. The aroma that fills the air as the pork slowly simmers is like a Mexican restaurant. A perfect recipe for tailgate parties. —Valonda Seward, Coarsegold, California
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Green Chile Chicken Chili

The prep work for this chili is easy thanks to several pantry staples. It’s loaded with shredded chicken and beans. The spicy heat can be tamed a bit with cool sour cream. —Fred Lockwood, Plano, Texas
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Southwest Sausage Bake

This layered tortilla dish is not only delicious, but it's a real timesaver because it's put together the night before. The tomato slices provide a nice touch of color. I like to serve this crowd-pleasing casserole with muffins and fresh fruit. —Barbara Waddel, Lincoln, Nebraska
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Fiesta Turkey Tortilla Soup

I'm always thankful when I can pull such a delicious soup together in under 30 minutes. —Amy McFadden, Chelsea, Alabama
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Chicken Burritos

This mouthwatering chicken burrito recipe makes enough for two casseroles, so you can enjoy one today and freeze the other for a busy weeknight. They're super to have on hand for quick meals or to take to potlucks. —Sonya Nightingale, Burley, Idaho.
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Mexican Chocolate Sugar Crisps

Mexican Chocolate Sugar Crisps

My grandma loved these so much, she would hide them from my grandpa! I think of her every time I make a batch. Like Mexican spice? Try stirring in a little chili powder. —Michele Lovio, Thousand Oaks, California

Amy Glander
Amy is a book editor at Taste of Home where she gets to pour her passions for food and storytelling into trade and series cookbooks. When she’s not writing or editing, you’ll find her antiquing, cooking and baking from her favorite vintage cookbooks and exploring Milwaukee’s urban beauty with her digital SLR in hand.
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