Cinco de Mayo 2011 is today and it seems to be a holiday that is growing in popularity every year, especially among foodie blogger’s, they are now jumping on the band wagon as well. Recently in the past week I have seen several of them creating some very interesting "Mexican" dishes.
Having worked in a management role for a Mexican theme restaurant company in Louisiana and Mississippi during the time period from 1995 to 1998, Cinco de Mayo was always one of our busiest days of the year, and we made every effort to capitalize on that fact. Typically we would hire a band, offer dollar margarita specials, dollar Coronita specials, and dollar taco specials. We would have activities such as tortilla tossing contests, pinatas for the children, and many more fun things for our patrons to do as a way of keeping them in the establishment longer, and of course to spend more money, and make us all rich! Actually, the only people getting richer were the servers and bartenders with the extra tips earned, and the owners. The managers worked extra hours that week and still got their same pay, no change there, just lack of sleep and long hours on the feet! Ouch!
Here in Wake Forest our favorite Mexican restaurant is Las Margaritas, they offer a great setting with wonderful Mexican fare, and some of the best margaritas. One of our cousins from Houston visited several years ago and said that Las Margaritas was just as good as some of the best Mexican restaurants in her area, and that really means something coming from an area that has some of the best southwest and Mexican fare in the US of A.
No new recipes here, just my list of thirteen recipes that have been added to the "Mexican" category over the three years that CCR has been on the web.
Saturday, May 7, 2011 marks the three year anniversary of the CCR blog!
You can see where it all started by reading my very first post Welcome to Cajun Chef Ryan and my Blog!
To celebrate both Cinco de Mayo and the CCR third birthday I put together this list of thirteen Mexican and southwest influenced dishes that have been shared over the years! Ole!
This is another crock pot slow cooker recipe that is sure to please any chili fan! Quick and easy to prepare, just add the ingredients to the crock pot and in about six to eight hours on medium heat you are ready to eat. I used a pint of my Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce for this recipe, and if you have the time or have some on hand this is a great sauce, if not, then 2 cups of other tomato sauce will suffice…I guess!
Each week I have taken on a new slow cooker bean dish and this time around we used two pounds of pinto beans to create a vegetarian chili, and loosely based on one inspired from the the book American Whole foods Cuisine, by Nikkie & David Goldbeck, and found on page 43 from the short-order cooking chapter in the hardcover, 1983 edition, this chili recipe also fits in with the Eat To Live dietary guidelines with no oil, fat, or sugar added.
Guacamole is one of those base master type recipes that can have endless variations, and indeed I was able to create one that fits in with the Eat To Live diet. Meaning, no added fats or oils, and no added salt. In fact, we all agreed that this batch was one of the best tasting guacamole’s I had ever made.
Lately I have been on a trend of making my own breads, snacks, and now with this recipe I made my own tortillas for this enchilada recipe. Eventually when the jar of store bought mayonnaise runs out I will start making my own mayo in small 2-cup batches, besides saving a lot on the grocery bill, I also know what ingredients are in my preparations. No more partially hydrogenated fat for us! The pan of baked enchiladas shown on the left are some of the extra that did not fit in our other baking dish, these looked great on their own!
This recipe has chipotle peppers in adobo sauce as part of the marinade with the yogurt, giving it a southwest flavor, but the addition of yogurt also gives this chicken an Indian and middle-eastern flair as well. Each kabob served with a bed of basmati rice and a couple grilled pineapple rings.
This salsa recipe is actually more like a cross between pico de gallo and salsa in that it is quite thicker than your normal salsa, but wetter than your typical pico. I love chunky salsa and the addition of the green chilies adds a small touch of mild heat that otherwise was not there before. Still, my favorite part of the recipe is the cilantro; I can never seem to get enough cilantro.
This version of taco dip includes Frito Lay brand bean dip, mayonnaise, sour cream, taco or Southwest seasoning (I used my own Finger Lickin’ Rub spice), guacamole, shredded Mexican four-cheese mix, diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, and fresh chopped chives. Therefore, if all the ingredients were considered a separate layer then you could call this a twelve-layer dip, but I will keep the numbers out on this one. What I would call physical layers in this dip is actually much less than that and more like half that amount. Enough on the layer debate, lets get to the recipe now.
No matter the time of day, eggs have an appeal that transcends all meals and just about every occasion. We enjoyed a batch of salsa and avocado laden scrambled eggs with shredded cheddar cheese, quartered new red potatoes, and a sprinkling of chopped green onions.
Another slow cooker recipe and this version is a broth variety of the ubiquitous chicken tortilla soup. Boneless skinless chicken thighs, chicken stock diced tomatoes, green chilies, cumin and onions start the recipe off on the low setting for 6 to 8 hours. Then the seasoning adjusted with salt and pepper. Once ladled into bowls the soup ends up garnished with thin corn tortilla strips, diced avocado, shredded Monterey jack cheese and fresh chopped cilantro to finish.
While I cut and de-seeded the jalapeno’s Ben peeled the shrimp and I let the cream cheese soften up a bit. Once the shrimp were done I tossed a little of my “Finger Lickin’ Rub” spice mix on them and let em sit for a bit to marinate. What follows is a very close version of the poppers that Julius made on that fantastic day, and recreated just one day later in our kitchen.
The recipe has become a family favorite since we first made it in 2001 when Monique bought a copy of the Weight Watchers Magazine Six O’Clock Solutions cookbook. Found on page 49, this recipe for chicken enchiladas is quick, easy and for those who follow the Weight Watchers points system each one is only 6 points. The original recipe calls for 8 servings; however, with doubling it I was able to actually yield 20 enchiladas, so the points per enchilada will actually be a bit less than stated. Essentially this changes the recipe from 2.5 ounces of chicken per enchilada to just 2 ounces each.
One of my all time favorite American Southwest dishes is the sublime chilies stuffed with jack cheese surrounded by the light and fluffy batter then fried and typically served with a cheese or tomato sauce. My variation is an easy casserole and served with a warm Salsa Verde, or a green tomatillo sauce.
We really wanted something quick and easy last night so I whipped up some of these Vegetable Quesadilla’s for the three of us. Only about 30 minutes from prep to sitting at the dinner table too, this is a really quick and easy way to enjoy the southwest favorite. I stuffed some extra vegetable filling into these three that I made, but the recipe is written to yield 4 servings.