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The Homesick Texan's Tex-Mex Pantry

James Beard Award-winning author Lisa Fain visited Food Network Kitchen to share some of her must-have ingredients for Tex-Mex cooking. Here are 10 pantry staples she always keeps on hand.

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Homesick Texan Lisa Fain's Pantry Staples

Packed with appealing dishes, Lisa Fain's The Homesick Texan's Family Table will have you sprinting to the kitchen to try your hand at crowd-pleasers like the Jalapeno Pimento Cheese and Banana Pudding with Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies. That's what we wanted to do after Lisa visited Food Network Kitchen to make her Chicken Spaghetti. To get started, we stocked up on some of her must-have ingredients. Here are 10 Tex-Mex staples the James Beard Award-winning author always keeps on hand.


From Food Network Kitchen

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"I use buttermilk a lot in baked goods," said Lisa. "It's low-fat but makes things soft and moist because it's acidic. It is also great in dressings (I like the tang). And I drink it — it's an old Southern thing. It's really delicious with day-old cornbread crumbled in the glass."

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Canned Tomatoes

"When tomatoes are in season, I use fresh. Otherwise, it's canned," said Lisa, who prefers the neutral flavor of regular tomatoes over the fire-roasted variety.

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"This is my favorite herb, though I know some people hate it," said Lisa, who favors the sweet tender stems at the top as well as the leaves. She adds them to pesto, salsa, eggs and enchiladas. "Always buy fresh," she said. "Dried has no flavor."

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