Posts Tagged ‘Mexican food’

Cinco de Mayo Recipes

May 5, 2011

Thinking of ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?  Why not make a delicious meal for the family!  It’s always nice to gather together for a family lunch or dinner.  Although Cinco de Mayo may not seem like such a big holiday, it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate with a nice meal.  There are many different dishes to choose from, but the following are sure to be crowd-pleasers at your Cinco de Mayo gathering.

Do you want to get into the spirit of celebrating Cinco de Mayo but you want to make the meals from scratch? Follow these recipes for a Mexican appetizer, meal, side dish and, of course, dessert.Chickaritos (common Mexican appetizer)


  • 3 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 package (17-1/4 ounces) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed or pie pastry for double-crust 10-inch pie
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa


  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken, chilies, onions, cheese and seasonings.  Chill until serving.
  • Remove half of the pastry from refrigerator.  On a lightly floured surface, roll to a 12-in. x 9-in. rectangle.  Cut into nine small rectangles.  Place about 2 tablespoons of filling across the center of each rectangle.  Wet edges of pastry with water and roll pastry around filling.  Crimp ends with a fork to seal. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling.
  • Place seam side down on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Refrigerate until ready to heat. Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm with salsa and guacamole. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.

I could not find a corresponding video for chickaritos, so a cooking video featuring the appetizer would be the first of its kind.

Chicken or Beef Enchiladas (a common Mexican meal)


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 flour or corn tortillas
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cooked beef or chicken
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa


  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Saute onion and garlic until onion is tender.  Blend in flour.  Stir in broth, milk, chilies, salt and cumin.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.   Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.
  • Grease a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.  Spoon a little sauce in the center of each tortilla; spread to edges.  Place about 2 tablespoons meat down the center of each tortilla.  Combine cheeses; sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons on top of meat.  Roll up tortillas and place in baking dish, seam-side down.  Pour remaining sauce over.  Sprinkle with green onions and remaining cheese.  Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve with sour cream and salsa. Yield: 6 servings.

If you’d like to watch how enchiladas are made (the recipe is very similar), watch the following video, courtesy of Ray:

Cheesy Beans and Rice (Mexican Side Dish)


  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided


  • Cook rice according to package directions.  Transfer to a large bowl; add the beans.  In a nonstick skillet, saute onion in oil for 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, chili powder and salt.  Bring to a boil; remove from the heat.
  • In a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray, layer a third of the rice mixture, cheese and tomato mixture.  Repeat layers.   Layer with remaining rice mixture and tomato mixture.
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until heated through.  Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.

A cook at Food City TV makes the exact same dish, as you can see in the following video:

Sopaipillas (Mexican dessert)


  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • Honey


  • In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients; cut in shortening until crumbly.  Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until mixture holds together.
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Roll out to 1/4-in. thickness.  Cut with a 2-1/2-in. star cookie cutter or into 2-1/2-in. triangles.
  • In an electric skillet or deep fat fryer, heat oil to 375°.  Fry sopaipillas for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and puffed.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve immediately with honey. Yield: 1 dozen.

The following video, produced by MindPower009, shows a similar recipe for sopaipillas:

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican Civic holiday that commemorates the unlikely victory against the French.  Cinco de Mayo is mostly celebrated in the town of Puebla and in the United States.  It is not commonly celebrated all throughout Mexico, but in the United States the holiday has become a day to recognize Mexican heritage and pride. So take the time this Cinco de Mayo to enjoy the cultures of Mexico and have a delicious Mexican cuisine-inspired meal with the family!

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Joie Montoya

Cinco de Mayo: History and Misconceptions

May 3, 2010

So what’s the big deal about Cinco de Mayo?  Even the people of Mexico scratch their heads when they hear of the festivities taking place in the United States.  In order to understand the significance that Americans have placed on the fifth day of May, we must look to mid-19th century American and Mexican history.

Cinco de Mayo has many misconceptions, such as the history and the food. The origins of some "Mexican" food is also shrouded in mystery.The French began a period of occupation in Mexico following the end of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48 in which the United States emerged victorious.  Mexico plunged into economic despair, and a Civil War only worsened matters.  President Benito Juarez’s moratorium suspending payment of all foreign debt, issued on July 17, 1861, drew the ire of Mexico’s creditors, namely, England, Spain, and France, and the three European nations invaded Mexico to get the payments owed to them.  The English and Spanish eventually withdrew, but not the French, who wanted to establish an empire under Napoleon III and, possibly, challenge the rise of the United States.  The following year, on May 5, 1862, despite a well-equipped French army, the ill-equipped Mexican army defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla.

The United States and the state of Puebla in Mexico make Cinco de Mayo a day of celebration, which typically includes lots of Mexican food and alcohol.  What, then, constitutes Mexican food?  While certain beer and hard liquor companies have roots planted firmly in Mexican soil, you may be surprised to find out that a number of food items thought to originate from Mexico have, in fact, originated elsewhere.

“Taquito”, or “little taco”

  • Restaurant/location: El Indio in San Diego, California
  • Creator: Ralph Pesqueira Sr.
  • Year introduced: 1940

The “Chimichanga”, or “Thingamajig”

  • Restaurant/location: El Charro Cafe in Tucson, Arizona
  • Creator: Monica Flin (by accident)
  • Year introduced: 1922

“Fajitas”, or “Tacos al Carbon”

  • Restaurant/location: The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation in Houston, Texas
  • Creator: Head chef at Ninfa’s (name unknown)
  • Year popularized: 1973


  • A number of stories lay claim to the mixed drink’s origins.  Spurious at best, I will only list that the years the margarita was “invented”: 1934, 1936, 1941, 1948, and 1971.

Does the United States have any reason at all for celebrating Cinco de Mayo?  Even though the loss at the Battle of Puebla was a minor setback before France’s eventual occupation, the United States did ask the French to leave and they complied.  The U.S. state of California, with a long history tied to Mexico, celebrated Cinco de Mayo since the 1860s in support of Mexico’s resistance to French rule.  Many people probably would not even think about California taking on a supportive role as a reason to hold a celebration.  Besides the “Mexican” food that people eat on Cinco de Mayo, the most persistent misconception about Cinco de Mayo is that it is Mexican Independence Day, which is itself celebrated on September 16.  Despite so many misconceptions that surround Cinco de Mayo, the United States and the state of Puebla in Mexico will continue celebrating the commercialized holiday.

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Francis M. Unson