Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Mexican Plate Dinner #recipe by @LeslieKarst

When I don’t feel like fussing too much in the kitchen, but want a stick-to-the-ribs and flavorful meal, I often turn to Mexican-inflected food. And this is one of my go-to meals, because it’s simple, quick, and simply delicious.

Basically, it’s a kind of “Meat and Three,” with the three in this case being beans, salad, and tortillas. On this night I used pork, because it’s what I had in the freezer, and you can’t go wrong with pork, in my book. (Oink, oink!) But feel free to substitute roasted chicken thighs, pan-fried beef steak, or any protein you want: simply use the same spices and seasonings I use here, and it’ll go great with the meal.

Mexican Plate Dinner

(serves 2)


2 pork chops

vegetable oil for frying pork

1 can refried beans

cumin powder

chile powder

garlic powder

black pepper


½ cup grated cheddar cheese

chopped iceberg or Romain lettuce

½ can corn, drained

sliced avocado

olive oil

balsamic or other flavorful vinegar

flour or corn tortillas

salsa (optional)


Season the pork (or chicken or beef) generously with the cumin, chile powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. (I used about ½ teaspoon each of the cumin and chile powder on each chop).

Pan-fry the pork or steak to your desired doneness (or bake/roast the chicken thighs—in which case you’ll have to start the process a bit earlier).

While the meat is cooking, season the refried beans with 1 teaspoon cumin and ½ teaspoon chile powder, then set the pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Once the meat is cooked, set it aside to drain on a paper towel and let it rest, covered lightly with aluminum foil, while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Arrange the lettuce on half of a dinner plate, then scatter on the corn and top with sliced avocado and a little cheese. Drizzle salad with olive oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the tortillas in a cast iron skillet (or directly over a low gas flame, if you prefer, which is the way I learned to do it in Mexico—just make sure you watch them closely and flip them often so they don’t char!).

Spoon the heated beans onto one quarter of the plate and top with more cheese, then place the meat in the fourth quadrant. Add the tortilla to the plate and serve, accompanied by salsa and more cheese, if you like. (See photo at top.)

¡Buen provecho!

🌱 🐖 🌿

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. Putting this early education to good use, she now writes the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California.

An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

Leslie’s website
Leslie also blogs with Chicks on the Case
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Praise for Leslie's most recent Sally Solari mystery, the Lefty Award-nominated MURDER FROM SCRATCH:

“Karst seasons her writing with an accurate insider’s view of restaurant operation, as well as a tenderness in the way she treats family, death and Sally’s reactions to Evelyn’s blindness.”

Ellery Queen Magazine (featured pick)

All four Sally Solari Mysteries are available through AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Bookshop.


Dying for a TasteA Measure of Murder, and Murder from Scratch are also available as AUDIOBOOKS from Audible!


  1. I never thought about a corn salad. Your meal sounds tasty.

    1. I always keep a few cans of corn handy, as it makes a terrific addition to an otherwise-boring salad. (Try mixing mayo with a little cumin and chile powder and thinning with milk for a quick Mexican-inflected salad dressing.O

  2. That's my kind of dinner! We stock boneless chicken thighs in the freezer, and they quick-saute quite nicely.

    1. Good idea, Edith! I love thighs--the best part of the bird, to my mind.

  3. Excellent combination and seasonings.

    I made nachos for dinner last night. Snuck in Beyond Beef for the ground beef and mashed a can of pinto beans for the refired beans. (Trying to reduce our regular meat consumption. Going for more of a flexitarian approach.) The recipe I used was a bit skimpy with the cheese. But we wolfed it down anyway! Lots of seasoning. Very satisfying.

  4. I've become a big fan of Beyond Beef and Impossible meat--either as a ground beef substitute or as burgers. Amazing how good they taste!

  5. I love Mexican food and this is a recipe I will try. My two girls like it too. Thanks!

  6. Tacos & burritos are my go-to meal. Your meal looks like a natural one for us! Thank you for sharing the recipe. I'm getting into audio books so A Measure of Murder is going to be the first audio book I listen to.