5 Fast-Food-Inspired Meals You Should Make at Home
By Victoria Freixa
Let’s be real—we all find ourselves succumbing to the temptation of an affordable, delicious, and nearly toxic drive-thru meal now and again. And if you’re not one of those people then you’re not human. Okay fine, you’re probably human… but you’re also the exception. It’s a shared guilty pleasure amongst the majority. And why not? It’s easy, it’s satisfying, and it’s cheap.
I have to give a “shout-out” to my boy from the barrio, Estevan (he’s actually a Wall Street guy from Orange County, but a Mexican-American with some spice). He gave me the idea for this article when he mentioned that he had recreated one of his favorite fast food meals at home, and just like that, I had my dinner planned out. And why not share his wisdom and inspire you fine folks to make a fun meal at home and skip the whole “… does your order look right on the screen?” bit.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular Mexican fast food inspired meals that will undoubtedly satisfy your naughty cravings but spare you all the guilt.
1/ CHORIZO BREAKFAST BURRITO
Let’s kick it off with some breakfast, since it is the most important meal of the day. And you can’t have a list of Mexican fast food and not include burritos—that would be unforgivable. So, I chose a Mexican breakfast classic: chorizo breakfast burrito. It’s incredibly simple and absurdly underrated.
It’s as simple as throwing that chorizo on the skillet with some eggs and wrapping it in a tortilla. But while you’re at it, make it your own. Suggestion: add potatoes! Flavorful chorizo, seasoned potatoes, fluffy eggs, rolled in a tortilla is my idea of a ‘breakfast of champions.’ With hot sauce, of course.
2/ MEXICAN PIZZA
No matter how delicious Mexican pizzas are, that term just doesn’t sound right. The words “Mexican” and “pizza” almost contradict each other, but believe it or not, they’re an old Oaxacan favorite originally called Tlayudas (that sounds more like it). Lightly fried tortillas, topped with beans, meat, cheese, and salsa. The look? Pizza. The ingredients? As Mexican as it gets.
Places like Taco Bell sell these mini pizza wannabes by the dozen and it’s no surprise why they’re so popular, but let’s be honest, they’re not setting the bar very high. The concept is great, but the execution is hardly top-notch. I say we step up the Mexican pizza game at home and fancy-it-up. Fresh homemade ingredients and fun variations of toppings will inspire a “Mamma mia!” out of the toughest of critics.
3/ GRILLED FISH TACOS
I think we can all admit to having our own personal love affair with tacos. They’re Mexico’s most adored import and loved by even the pickiest of eaters. And what’s not to love, their variations are endless—carne asada, chicken, shrimp, and the list goes on. But while tacos are a common homemade treat, it’s rare to hear of an at-home fish taco night.
Although fish tacos are a summertime favorite amongst most taco lovers, admittedly, they require a bit more work than the easy-peasy beef or chicken taco. But the extra work will be well worth it when it comes to chow time. Whether you choose to grill your white fish first, or fry it, just top it with your favorite salsa, crema, or slaw and it’s go time!
4/ LOADED NACHOS
Nachos are probably the simplest way to recreate a fast food meal with the least amount of effort or innovation. This is especially true if most of your ingredients come pre-made (we promise this doesn’t totally defeat the purpose of cooking at home). There is something to be said about picking the right nacho toppings and warming them up to perfection.
The simplicity of your loaded nacho recipe is entirely up to you. You can go as simple as buying a rotisserie chicken from the store, shredding it up and tossing it on some tortilla chips with beans, cheese, and store-bought salsa and you’re still a hero. Or you can go full chef-mode and grill some carne asada, make some homemade guacamole, and fry up some tortilla chips if you’re aiming to reach super hero status.
5/ BURRITO BOWL
Places like Chipotle have catapulted this impossibly easy meal into our hearts and Mexican food-filled lives. As a result, rice bowls of all kinds have become an American staple—with different variations of bowl joints popping up all over the place. While they’re typically fast and easy, there’s nothing like a homemade bowl prepared with fresh ingredients and cooked with love.
The ingredients are the usual Mexican suspects. Rice, beans, meat? Check, check, check! And like the rest of the meals on this list, there’s tons of room for creativity. Get crazy with your toppings, get imaginative with your choice of meat, get funky with your seasonings, and get wild with your… hmm, bowl size? That last one isn’t as important, but you get the idea! The point is to find inspiration in your ‘can’t-live-without’ fast food meals, cut out the middle man, and make them your own kind of “finger-lickin’ good.”