Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's Cinco de Mayo!

The fifth of May. Last year I explained the holiday incorrectly, so I'll quote Kalyn's article for the sake of accuracy:

Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of a historic battle on May 5, 1862, in which Mexican troops prevented French armies from taking control of Mexico.

Regardless of the whys and the whos, today is a great opportunity to enjoy some of Mexico's delicious cuisine, at a restaurant or even home-cooked meals inspired by Hispanic flavors.

My background is more Caribbean-inspired. I was taught while living in Key West by local Cuban-Americans along with a dear friend of mine who is Puerto Rican by birth and raised in Columbia. Some of my favorite dishes to make at home are sweet-spicy combinations with a side of beans and rice.

Remember that, for those of us who are insulin-challenged, beans are very, very good for us! As long as they're on our plates, we can have some brown rice to go with them, or enjoy a flour tortilla. Just be sure to keep portions in check.

Here are some yummy meal ideas for your Cinco de Mayo celebration:

- Huevos Rancheros. Everyone loves breakfast for dinner--why not enjoy this little twist tonight?

- Chicken Enchilada Casserole. Easy and satisfying for the whole family.

- Quick & Easy Tortilla Soup. This one comes together quickly and makes a great accompaniment to a salad.

- Nachos are easy to make at home and make for a tasty and economical dinner.

- Or you could bask in nacho-fry heaven with a plate of Frachos.

- A fajita/taco buffet is an easy to serve a crowd--perfect for families with picky eaters. Just fry up some ground beef (or turkey) with some chili powder and a little tomato sauce, grill, bake or fry a few chicken breasts to slice up, and put them out with flour tortillas, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, onions--whatever your crew loves. Let them build their own!

- Tostadas. A tostada is a corn tortilla that's been fried crisp, lays flat and is topped with various accoutrements. Simple and delicious!

All of those things, and many more, are delicious. But, as I mentioned above, my favorite way to enjoy Hispanic meal nights at home tend toward island flavors. And hey, we're allowed some leeway here, aren't we? If you're like me, try these:

- Carribbean Pork Chops with Orange-Ginger Glaze, Black Beans and Saffron Brown Rice is a favorite of mine.

- Does your family love hamburgers? Try my Caribbean Jerk Burgers with a side of sweet potato fries.

- Picadillo, Pink Beans and Rice. Picadillo is a Cuban ground beef dish--very economical and delicious to boot!

- Grilled Jerk Chicken with Nectarine Salsa. A delicious, summery combination.

So there you have it. Plenty of dinner ideas for Cinco de Mayo or anytime.


Coffee and Vanilla said...

Very nice recipes, yummm! Thank you for sharing.

Amanda said...

It's absolutely my pleasure! Thanks for commenting! :)

JMom said...

Oh, I thought I was all set for having enchilada casserole but I just saw the pork chops with black beans and rice and now I'm torn which one to make!!! :)

These are all great suggestions. Thanks!

Amanda said...

@JMom--whatever you choose, enjoy! I'd love to hear what you finally decided on and how your family liked it.

Sam said...

They all look great, I especially like the sound of huevos rancheros for breakfast!

Kathy said...

We can get a variety of decent low-carb tortillas out here - not sure if you can where you live, but they are worth checking out if so (though admittedly the prices are not as great as for regular corn or flour tortillas).

Amanda said...

Sam--I looove huevos rancheros. Such a nice change from the everyday breakfast!

Kathy--I also find some lo-carb tortillas and wraps here. For regular tacos, etc., I actually use a lo-carb lavash bread--the flavor is nice and 3 carbs per half lavash (which is a huge rectangle). They work nicely as a flour tortilla replacement. Definitely a great option for those of us requiring that particular element!

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