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Cinco de Mayo sensations
LOVIN FROM THE OVEN
If youre anything like me, you cant believe May is already here. But just because April flew by in the blink of an eye doesnt mean you need to start panicking.
In fact, nows the perfect time to party, because not only is May here, but with it comes Cinco de Mayo.
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexicos independence day (that is actually September 16). Rather, it celebrates the Mexican victory against the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. And while the Mexican state of Puebla celebrates it most vigorously, its a holiday thats become bigger north of the border here in the U.S. than south of it.
Regardless, reason to celebrate is reason to celebrate, so break out your sombreros, crank the mariachi and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these tasty Mexi-inspired snacks. Youll quickly become the life of your fiesta!
Lets start with an easy one.
Simple Jalapeno Poppers
While jalapeno poppers are often thought of as breaded and fried, they dont have to be! This extremely simple recipe calls for just three ingredients: Jalapenos, cream cheese and bacon.
First, cut 10 jalapeno peppers (or more depending on how big the fiesta youre throwing is) lengthwise, removing the seeds, stems, etc. Next, stuff each with about two teaspoons of cream cheese. Finally, wrap them each with a strip of bacon, using a toothpick to keep it in place.
Next, coat your oven rack with some non-stick spray, olive oil, whatever works for you. Bake the peppers directly on the rack at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the bacon gets crispy.
Thats it. Told you it was simple. Pull them out and enjoy!
Also, if you find cream cheese alone isnt quite enough, mix it up and season the cheese before you stuff it with anything from ranch or Mexican seasonings to cilantro and lime juice.
Now of course, chips and salsa are a staple. And while you can pick up your favorite brand of tortilla chips and salsa at the store, consider making your own dipping counterparts, beginning with the salsa.
Avocado Mango Salsa
Another simple recipe, this chunky salsa will add some sweet and spice to your gathering.
Dice a large avocado and place it in a serving bowl, mixing in the juice from a fresh lime. Next mix in a diced large mango, a small chopped red onion, a seeded and chopped habanero pepper and a tablespoon of fresh chopped cilantro. Salt it to your taste and serve it up! This recipe makes about eight servings, so scale accordingly.
But salsas not the only thing good for dipping.
Seven-layer Taco Dip
This is another easy way to please your amigos. In a medium bowl, blend together a can of refried beans and a package of taco seasoning (or your own blend). Spread this mixture into the bottom of a large serving dish or platter. Next, mix together a 16-ounce package of sour cream with an 8-ounce package of cream cheese, spreading this layer over the beans.
For the third layer, make your own salsa like the one above and add it in, or simple buy a 16-ounce jar and pour it over. Now, add layers of chopped tomato, green bell pepper, green oinions and lettuce over the top, finishing with a layer of cheddar cheese over that. Toss on some sliced black olives and call it bueno!
Quesadillas are another tradition Mexican favorite that doesnt have to be the same old thing. Try these if youre feeling a little more adventurous this Cinco de Mayo.
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Quesadillas
Cook about 2 pounds of asparagus in an oiled skillet over medium heat until its tender and lightly browned. Season it with salt, pepper and even some cayenne for a little kick.
Next, take your tortillas (about 15 10-inchers) and spread one side of each with herbed goat cheese. Next, layer on the asparagus and some fresh cilantro and fold the tortilla over, brushing the outsides with some olive oil. Place the oiled, uncooked quesadillas in a skillet and cook them for about three minutes over medium-low heat. Once theyre lightly browned, cut them in half and garnish them to serve.
With all this food, youre probably getting thirsty. If you want to go beyond the Corona (try Dos Equis!! Youll thank me later!) and the tub of margarita mix, heres how to make your own margaritas, on the rocks of course, that will leave everyone ready to celebrate.
Margaritas on the Rocks
This recipe will serve up about eight tasty beverages.
First, salt the rims of your glasses, filling them with ice.
Next, blend together two cups of sweet and sour, a cup of triple sec, two cups of tequilla (preferably gold; 1-1/2 cups if you want to go a little lighter on the alcohol) and 1/3-cup Grand Marnier.
Pour it all into the glasses and squeeze some fresh lime juice into each.
Now that youve whipped the together all the fixings for a fabulous fiesta, sit back, grab a bite to eat and toast your margarita to Cinco de Mayo!
These recipes and more like them can be found online at www.allrecipes.com.