Review by

Mexican Made Easy
(Clarkson Potter) ISBN 978-0307888266 0307888266

Mexican cooking is easy with these quick family meals and traditional Mexican dishes, adapted by Chef Marcela to use everyday ingredients. Many of the Mexican recipes are in response to requests on Facebook, Twitter and her Cooking with Chef Marcela blog.

Illustrated with appetizing photos, the cookbook features Mexican menus, recipes for Mexican breakfasts, brunch, everyday meals and Mexican drinks. Marcela Valladolid's recipes even include Mexican food for kids and Mexican street food, such as tacos and tortas (sandwiches).

Mexican cuisine

Marcela Valladolid introduces each of the 100 recipes with information about ingredients and traditional Mexican cuisine. For example, she explains that the recipe for stuffed poblanos with walnut sauce came from Puebla, created by nuns in honor of Mexico's first and only emperor, Augustin de Iturbide.

He was born in Valladolid (now called Morelia). Because the green, white and red colors of this Mexican dish are the colors of the Mexico flag, it is traditionally served on Independence Day. Chef Marcela simplifies the original recipe by decreasing the number of ingredients from 50 to 18.

Sidebars offer suggestions on how to use leftovers, e.g., make cauliflower cream soup or cauliflower gratin with leftovers from the roasted cauliflower with avocado cilantro dip recipe.

Cooking tips for Mexican food

Mexican cooking tips appear in recipe notes. In one, Marcela Valladolid explains that stale tortillas (left out overnight) are best for frying because they are less likely to break and they turn a crunchy, golden brown.

Eighty mouthwatering food photos by Jennifer Martine illustrate the Mexican dishes. Other photos of Marcela Valladolid show her cooking with her son, Fausto.

Substitutes for Mexican ingredients

The 224-page cookbook includes a list of Mexican menus for Cinco de Mayo, Dia del Nino, Day of the Dead celebrations and other Mexican holidays, as well as a taco stand menu and recipes for a Mexican grill party. Each menu provides page numbers for the recipes in Mexican Made Easy.

When Mexican ingredients are not readily available, Chef Marcela suggests substitutes, e.g., sour cream for Mexican crema, mozzarella cheese as a substitute for panela cheese (queso canasta) and graham wafers for Maria cookies.

Samples of easy Mexican recipes

Homemade queso fresco with jalapeno and cilantro. Shrimp-stuffed little chiles. Homemade flour tortillas. Slow-cooked carnitas tacos. Shredded chicken in peanut sauce tacos. Lentil and chorizo soup. Rib-eye steak with roasted garlic ancho butter. Mexican meatloaf with salsa glaze. Pork loin in green pipian (pumpkin seed sauce). Puerto Nuevo lobster. Chipotle plum BBQ ribs with Brussels sprout slaw. Roasted baby red potatoes with chipotle butter. Mexican chocolate pecan pie. Bananas tequila foster. Requeson (Mexican ricotta) cheesecake. Oven-roasted poblano and egg. Mexican chocolate date fritters. Pineapple vanilla agua fresca. Chocolate margarita.

Mexican Made Easy by Marcela Valladolid


  • Appetizers and Small Bites
  • Tacos and Tortas
  • Soups
  • Entrées
  • Sides and Salads
  • Salsas
  • Desserts
  • Breakfast and Brunch
  • Drinks
  • Menus


Marcela Valladolid is the Food Network host of Mexican Made Easy.

More Marcela Valladolid cookbooks

Fresh Mexico

More information about Mexico:

Riviera Nayarit Mexico Ecotours

Patzcuaro Mexico Vacation

Mexican Candy Shops, Markets and Dulcerias

Los Cabos and the Baja Peninsula

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