Alejandro Meza-Aguilar/HIGHLANDER

School is starting and as time passes, we have to keep conscious of time and nutrition. You can only run on packets of ramen, caffeine and shear stress from hectic schedules for a short amount of time. When it comes to cooking there is the need of time, affordability, simplicity and obviously taste. This recipe will be under $7, yield four servings and can be personalized.

This recipe is part of my heritage and culture. In Mexico, we mainly focus on a few ingredients that are staples to our diet: maize, onions, peppers and tomatoes. Zilkia Janer’s text “Latino Food Culture” states that Mesoamerican (present-day Mexico and Central America) agriculture is made up of beans, chilies, vanilla, chocolate, tomatoes, avocados, squash and numerous fruits and vegetables.

A University of Notre Dame study states that few Mexican dishes can be identified as authentic without the presence of tortillas; it is the staple grain of maize that makes this possible. It’s in many dishes in Mexican culture from tamales to the tortillas used for traditional tacos. 

In my family, chilaquiles were made due to the affordability of the dish and the ease. It touched upon the need for getting veggies, protein and also has a great taste. It was my favorite dish growing up and it always gave me the comfort of remembering my hometown of Mexicali.

The ingredients are basic and easy to find in any grocery store:

1 can of enchilida sauce

1 bag of corn chips (plain would be best but any corn chips will do)

1 bag of fajita mix

1 bag of tofu (or any type of tofu if you have a soy allergy — you can use chickpea flour as a vegan egg replacement)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

Start off by letting the fajita mix simmer on low heat and cook evenly until the onions start to unfits and cook for about five to ten minutes.

Dry out the tofu. Mash it with a fork. Then let it simmer with the fajita mix veggies.

(For the chickpea flour, use one of chickpea flour to 3/4 cups of water. Whisk it and pour it into the pan. Occasionally move it with the spatula to ensure it gets all evenly cooked.)

Then put in the chips into the mix along with the enchilada sauce and season it. Let the ingredients simmer for 15 minutes in a medium heat. 

Enjoy your chilaquiles.