Celebrate May 5 with Mexican food

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Hola! My family loves ethnic food but Mexican holds a special place in our hearts. Let’s face it, it’s probably more Tex-Mex or Americanized Mexican food, but it’s still one of our family’s favorites. Every Sunday after church we head to El Vaquero to enjoy our favorite chips, beans, rice, burritos, enchiladas all covered in glorious cheese. (Cheese, that’s a story for next month). Mexican food has also been a highlight of our travels. I have been able to tag along on Paul’s last two business trips to Texas, where we really enjoyed the border flavors. The foodie, that’s me, researched to find good local places to enjoy Mexican flavors in Houston, San Antonio, Navasota, College Station and everywhere between. In January, we were able to spend a few days in Dallas, where we enjoyed the local flavors, eating maybe the best taco I have ever eaten…in a gas station. That’s right, a gas station!I admit to knowing next to nothing about Cinco de Mayo (The fifth of May) and along with most Americans it’s just another reason to enjoy Mexican food. I thought it was time to see what this holiday is all about. Latinamericanhistory.com has Seven Facts about Cinco de Mayo. A common misconception is that this is the Mexican Independence Day. It’s not. That is September 16…hey, another reason to go Mexican! The reason to celebrate this important Mexican holiday, is that it celebrates a most unlikely victory. It celebrates a victory of underdog Mexican soldiers with little training and inadequate weapons over the well armed and well trained French army. (Doesn’t this sound reminiscent of our own Revolutionary War?)In 1862 the French Army met the Mexicans in the town of Puebla on their way to the capital to collect a debt and the rest is history. Although losing the battle, the French Army regrouped, got reinforcements, took over Mexico City and then brought in the new Emperor of Mexico. This must be why it’s not that big a deal in Mexico. Although to Mexicans living in the United States, the celebrations are very important. The world’s largest Cinco de Mayo takes place in Los Angeles, California. Hundreds of thousands attend and is even bigger than the celebration in Puebla, Mexico. So, now you know what you are celebrating when you enjoy your chips, salsa and your favorite Mexican beverage on May 5.Here are tips to improve the health of your next Mexican meal.Go easy on chips and dips — Choose salsa over cheese dip. Take just a handful of chips. No refills.Skip the Crunchy Shells and other fried foods — They are delicious but high in fat and calories. If you must have a crunchy taco, skip the tortilla chips. Skip the fried chimichanga, taquitos, chalupas and chile rellenos. Choose soft tortillas, which are baked.Customize Your Order — Beans are full of fiber and a great choice. Choose black or pinto beans. Avoid refried beans, which are usually cooked with extra lard and cheese. Go light on cheese and sour cream or leave off. Add more veggies or a fresh salad.Don’t be afraid to ask — Check out traditional Mexican restaurants and their regional entrees that don’t involve frying at all. Ask if brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, low-fat cheese or steamed veggies are availableIt’s hard to beat local Mexican, but if you host your own fiesta this Cinco de Mayo, give some of these non-traditional Mexican flavors a try. Avocado Ice Cream       http://www.eatingwell.com/ You might be turning up your nose at this and it’s not a dairy product but it is really awesome! Give it a try. 1 1/2 cups water1 1/3 cups sugar1/4 cup lime juice1/3 cup tequilaLime zest for garnish 1      1/2 cups avocado puree (see Tip), from about 3 ripe large avocados After making avocado puree, add water, sugar, lime juice and tequila to the food processor with 1 1/2 cups of the puree; pulse until well combined. Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour or overnight.Transfer the avocado mixture to the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. If desired, place the ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving. Garnish with lime zest, if desired. Nutrition Per 8–1/2-cup serving : 224 Calories; 7 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 38 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 5 mg Sodium; 225 mg Potassium; 2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving; Exchanges: 2 1/2 other carbohydrates, 1 fatMake Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 1 up to 1 day in advance. Store ice cream, airtight, in the freezer for up to 1 week. | Equipment: Ice cream makerTip: To make avocado puree, peel and pit 3 ripe large avocados and process in a food processor until smooth. Measure out 1 1/2 cups for the ice cream. Reserve any extra for another use.Mexican Meatball Soup                                          Marcela Valladolid at www.foodnetwork.com  1 tablespoon vegetable oil1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)1/3 cup uncooked long-grain rice2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro1 pound ground sirloin beefSalt and freshly ground black pepper1 carrot, cut into rounds (about 3/4 cup)1 serrano chile, whole1 Yukon gold potato, skin on, diced (about 1 cup)2 tablespoons tomato paste8 cups vegetable stock2 zucchini, diced (about 1 cup)  In a heavy large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly.In a medium bowl, mix together the onion, rice, cilantro, ground meat, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Using wet hands, shape the meat mixture into 20 to 22 (1-inch) meatballs.Combine the carrots, serrano chile, potato, tomato paste, and vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and zucchini and simmer on low heat until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper, to taste. 6-8 servings   Five Layer Mexican Dip      2007, Ellie Krieger www.foodnetwork.com  2 teaspoons olive oil1 medium onion, diced2 cloves garlic, minced1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed1 Tbsp. minced chipotle pepper in adobo4 tablespoons lime juice1/4 teaspoon ground cumin1 tablespoon water1/2 teaspoon salt2 cups fresh or 10 oz. corn kernels1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves2 ripe avocados4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeno pepper, optional3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.Put half of the onion mixture into a food processor with the black beans, chipotle pepper, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, cumin, water and salt. Puree until smooth. Set aside.Add the corn to the skillet with the remaining onion mixture and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro leaves.In a small bowl mash the avocado with the remaining lime juice. In a medium bowl toss together the tomatoes, scallion and jalapeno, if using. Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.Spread the black bean dip into the bottom of an 8 by 8 glass baking or serving dish. Top with the corn mixture, spreading it out to form a single layer over the beans, repeat with the avocado, then the tomatoes. Top with cheese. Serve with baked chips.  Serves 12 with ½ c serving. Per Serving:Calories 140; Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 2 g, Mono Fat 3 g, Poly Fat 0.7 g) ; Protein 5g; Carb 16 g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 6mg; Sodium 245 mglast_img


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