Life is now faster and busier than it had ever been. The long working hours and the many responsibilities that often pile up sometimes leave many people with no time to eat a proper lunch, let alone find the time to cook it in the first place. Some people, unfortunately, end up not eating anything until later in the day, which may result in some unpleasant health problems.
However, this can pretty much be avoided by homemade snacks. They are great for getting a little energy boost in the middle of the day. They do not require much time or many ingredients to make, in addition to being much better and healthier than store-bought ones. Those are typically stuffed with artificial additives that do not do any good to the human body.
In this article, we are going to show you how to make five of the best, quickest and tastiest snacks to consume in between an early breakfast and a late lunch. They all have tortillas as a base ingredient and use just a few accessible other ones. So, let’s hop into it.
If you are not familiar with them, which we highly doubt, tortillas are a type of thin circular flatbread that comes from Mexico and goes all the way back to 500 BC. They then became popular in all of the Americas, and from there they spread out to the rest of the world. Nowadays, tortillas are a global food consumed all over the world and used in many different kinds of dishes.
Originally, tortillas used to be made from corn. When they were introduced to the Europeans, they started making them from wheat, but now they can also be made from other grains such as oats or rice.
In Mexico, tortillas are used as a base for so many famous Mexican dishes. They are also used with a large variety of fillings to make snacks, such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas, some of which we will demonstrate in a bit.
Besides those, the rest of the snacks mentioned in this article use tortillas too. You can find them, the tortillas, not the snacks, in grocery stores and supermarkets. So if you are short on time, you can just buy them. But if you have some free 30 minutes, it is much better if you make them yourself, for they usually turn out healthier and softer and have a way better texture.
So, you have decided to make them yourself? Perfect. Let’s get to it.
To make around 12 medium to small-sized tortillas, you are going to need:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup of hot water
Start off by adding all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Whisk them well, then add the softened unsalted butter and blend it with the flour and the other ingredients better using your hand. Start adding the hot water gradually while mixing and be careful not to burn your hand. Continue mixing until the dough starts forming.
If the dough is too sticky, you will have to use more flour. If it is too dry and rough, add some extra water. When you feel the dough has reached some reasonable consistency, not too sticky or too dry, make it into a ball and transfer it to your clean counter.
Knead the dough with your hands for five minutes. By the end of this duration, the dough ball should be softer and quite elastic. Cut the dough into 10 to 12 small pieces, cup your hand around each piece and roll it so it turns into a smooth ball.
From the size of the balls, you can anticipate the size of the tortillas. If you want to make them larger, make the balls bigger and vice versa.
Next, bring a large tray, brush it with some vegetable oil and then move the dough balls to it. Make sure to leave spaces between the balls so they do not stick to one another. Now cover the tray with a clean kitchen towel and let the balls rest for 20 minutes.
Preheat a large nonstick pan on medium heat. Once the dough balls have rested, sprinkle some flour on your counter, take one ball and pat it with your fingers first, then roll it out using a wooden dough roller.
Roll in one direction, then rotate the tortilla and roll in the other direction to keep its circular shape. Turn the tortilla on both sides and keep rolling until it becomes very thin and a little transparent.
Place the tortilla in the preheated pan without using any oil and let it cook on one side for around 20 to 30 seconds. During this time, your tortilla will start bubbling from the top and turn golden on the bottom. Flip it and let it cook on the other side for another 20 to 30 seconds.
Remove the tortilla from the pan and place it on a large plate. Cover it with a dry kitchen towel to make sure it stays warm and soft.
Repeat the same process with the rest of the dough balls and place the tortillas on top of one another when you are done. Leave them stacked in the kitchen towel, for this will keep them warm and soft.
When they have fully cooled, you can store the tortillas in a plastic bag or a zip container. They can stay around three days at room temperature, up to a week in the fridge and a few weeks when stored in the freezer. This means you can make a whole bunch of them and store them to save you on busy days.
Now that we have some really delicious homemade tortillas, let’s use them to make some even more delicious snacks.
1. Chicken Mushroom Quesadillas
Quesadillas are a great, mouthwatering and easy-to-make Mexican dish that, besides tortillas, have loads of cheddar or mozzarella cheese (or both) as another main ingredient. That is actually why they are called quesadillas, as they are full of melting queso, or cheese.
The type of quesadillas we are making here uses chicken and mushrooms as a filling. If you only have one of those, that is fine. You are still going to get a tasty snack anyways. If you do not have any of those, you can use whatever filling you have.
Likewise, using only one type of cheese will do, but using two will give your quesadillas a more delicate, creamy taste.
- 2 tortillas
- 125 grams of chicken breast pieces
- 125 grams of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup of mozzarella
- 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
Place a large cooking pan on medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil or olive oil. When the oil is heated, add the sliced onions and the two minced cloves of garlic to the pan. Stir them until translucent, then add the chicken.
Stir-fry the chicken until it starts to turn white and solidifies, then add the mushrooms. Cook until they turn brown. Add a little bit of salt and black. Mix all the ingredients well, then remove the filling from the pan.
Wash and dry the pan, then place it again on medium-high heat. Add some vegetable oil, then place one tortilla in the pan. Add a decent amount of mozzarella and cheddar cheese, then add another decent amount of the chicken and mushroom mix. Top them with more mozzarella and cheddar.
Fold the tortilla in half and leave it enough on one side until it turns golden, then flip it on the other side. Keep flipping until both sides turn crispy and golden and the cheese melts. Remove the tortilla from the pan and do the same thing with the other tortilla.
Cut your tortillas each into four slices and let them cool for a few minutes before serving with any dip of your choice.
2. Baked Tortilla Chips
They are pretty unhealthy, yes.
But most of us love chips and Doritos so much that we find it hard not to snack on them, especially when binge-watching a new show on a Friday night to forget about and repair all that previous work week had ruined.
But with tortillas, you can make much better and healthier chips in just a fraction of time and this is our next recipe.
Before we get started, you need to preheat your oven to 200°C.
All you need for this recipe is basically five to six tortillas—well, or as many as you want if you plan to watch the entire season in one night— and a little bit of vegetable oil. The tortillas you are going to use in this recipe, however, should be small so you can cut them into small triangles, not big, out-of-shape ones.
Stack the tortillas on top of one another. Use a sharp knife to slice them from the middle out into small triangles. Spray the triangles with olive oil or vegetable oil and rub them with your hands so that both sides of each triangle are covered with oil.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large oven tray and add the tortilla widgets in one layer. Put the tray on the middle rack of your preheated oven and let the widgets bake for about 12 minutes or until they turn golden.
Take your tortilla chips out of the oven and season them with a little bit of salt before serving. You can consume them with some ketchup or any dip you have.
3. Cheesy Egg Burritos
Burritos are rolled tortillas stuffed with savoury fillings. They are one of the very famous Mexican dishes that can be used both as a main dish or a snack.
For our third recipe, we are making an egg burrito, which you can have for breakfast or to get a little energy booster in the middle of the day. This recipe can be as simple as having just eggs or as complicated as adding some leftover minced meat, avocado, vegetables, pastirma, salsa or cheese.
Yet, as we are only making quick healthy snacks here, we are going to stick with the simple cheesy egg burrito. So here is your one-serving recipe.
- 1 tortilla
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup of white or cheddar cheese
- Salt and black pepper
In a bowl, crack the eggs and use a fork to whisk them well. Add some salt and black pepper to your desire and put them aside.
Place a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon or a cube of butter and let it melt. Lower the heat, then add the eggs. Use a fork or a spatula to scramble the eggs.
Keep scrambling the eggs for 10 seconds, then add the cheese. Remove the pan from the heat and keep blending the eggs well with the cheese. This will ensure the cheesy eggs stay softened and creamy.
Spread your tortilla on the counter, then place the cheesy eggs in the middle. Roll the tortilla and tuck both ends in as you go. You can consume your burrito right away or if you want, you can make it a little bit crispy.
To do that, add a little bit of butter or drizzle some vegetable oil in a frying pan placed on medium-high heat. When the pan is heated, place your burrito on one side and leave it until it turns golden and crispy. Flip and do the same on the other side, and here you have it, a tasty, crispy, creamy, cheesy egg burrito.
4. Tuna Salad Pinwheels
Pinwheels—no, not those famous children’s toys—are another tortilla-based Mexican dish that can be made in no time, yet it still makes a tasty filling snack to help you finish this task that never seems to end.
So pinwheels are basically a filled roll but sliced into bite-sized parts. For this two-serving recipe, we are using a tuna salad as a filling, but again, you can use any leftovers you have.
- 2 tortillas
- 1 water-packed tuna can
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
- 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cup of coloured bell pepper pieces
- 1 tablespoon of light mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper
In a large mixing bowl, place all the ingredients, minus the tortillas of course, and mix them well with a spoon. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper and mix the ingredients again.
Spread one tortilla on your counter and spread half the amount of the tuna salad on it. Roll the tortilla and make sure it is tight. Do the same with the other tortillas. When you are done, let them chill in the fridge for about an hour.
Take the tortillas out and, with a sharp knife, slice them into three-centimetre pieces. Move your tuna pinwheels to a flat platter and serve with pickles.
5. Black Bean Cheese Taquitos
You might tell from their name that taquitos have something to do with tacos. They might be little tacos if you remember that Spanish grammatical rule. But actually they are not. Taquitos, in fact, are more like burritos despite their name.
Taquitos are rolled tortillas with no tucked-in ends. They are also thinner than burritos, which means they usually have less filling and like with all the other tortilla-based Mexican dishes, you can make taquitos with any filling of your choice.
The standard way to make taquitos is to fry them. You can still only stir-fry or bake them if you want to make them healthier. Here is what you need in order to make five servings of black bean cheese taquitos.
- 5 tortillas
- 1 can of black beans
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cup of coloured bell pepper pieces
- 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup of corn
- Salt, black pepper and paprika
Drain the black beans from all the water and add them to a large mixing bowl along with the chopped vegetables and the shredded cheddar cheese. Sprinkle a little bit of salt, black pepper, and paprika, then mix the ingredients well with a spatula.
Spread one tortilla, add a small amount of the beans and vegetables mixture, then roll the tortilla. Using a mix of water and flour to seal the edges of your tortilla. Repeat the same thing with the rest of the tortillas.
The next step is totally up to you. If you want to fry the taquitos, which, as we said, is the standard way to make them, fill a frying pan to a quarter with vegetable oil, heat it and then fry your taquitos on both sides until they turn golden and crispy. Take them out and place them on a paper towel or a rack to drain any excess oil.
If you want more of a healthy snack, you can spray your taquitos with some vegetable oil, put them in an oven tray, and then bake them on the middle rack of a preheated oven. When they turn golden, take them out.
Let the taquitos cool for a few minutes before serving with any dipping sauce of your choice.
Tortillas are great for making a large meal or an on-the-go snack. Whether you decide to roll, fold, or cut them, they go with all kinds of savoury and sweet fillings, and each will have a different yet still a nice and profound taste.