If you couldn’t tell, I lean toward Mexican cuisine.  As a matter of fact, when I first read Dr. Atkin’s book, it was difficult NOT making a face with many of his suggestions (like blue cheese) because I had never tried it and didn’t know anyone who did (I did try it and hated it lol).  I love Mexican food and grew up (and out) on it.  I’ve been watching Rick Bayless’ Mexico: One Plate At A Time lately (though his daughter drives me crazy but that’s just be being bitchy).  Well, here are some fantastic spice pastes that can be made just about anywhere in the country (I think).  There are so many times when I sat back, thinking, “I don’t want chicken AGAIN”!  I truly believe the key to not only frugal but healthy eating is utilizing different spices (and these I will definitely be trying these) and cooking techniques.  Can you imagine eating boiled chicken every day? ~shiver~

Recado Para Bistec

1 2.5-inch Stick Cinnamon
2 Heads garlic; roasted
1/4 c Black peppercorns
1 ts Cumin seeds
salt; to taste
2 tb Whole allspice
20 Yucatecan oregano leaves; OR 1.5-tb dried, crushed oregano

And here’s the video for how to prepare this:



Achiote Seasoning Paste

2 tablespoons achiote (annato) seeds
2 teaspoons allspice preferably fresh ground
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 generous teaspoon table salt

And here’s the video for how to prepare this:


As you can see from the links (the link for the recipe is for tacos and the video is for fish), this paste can be used for a wide variety of foods.  According to this page substitutions for achiote seeds are Substitutions: pinch of paprika (for color not flavor); an equal amount of saffron; yellow food coloring OR hot paprika OR equal parts turmeric and paprika but I would suggest for the first time you make this recipe, see if you can find the real deal.