Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with spicy feast

Holiday on May 5 is a good reason to enjoy south-of-the-border cuisine throughout the day

Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday commemorating the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, will be celebrated Wednesday.

Take a few minutes to commemorate the occasion by preparing a festive meal with touches of Mexican cuisine. Whip up a spicy entree or a fun appetizer, or try your hand at a south-of-the-border-inspired dessert.

Mexican cuisine was significantly impacted by the Spanish, who introduced new foods to the culture.

Today, Mexican cuisine is known for its varied flavors and variety of spices and ingredients. Foods can be sweet or spicy, with varying degrees of heat.

The cuisine is based on a few staples, among them corn and beans, as well as onions, rice, squash and peppers. Herbs and spices such as chili powder, oregano, cilantro, cinnamon and cocoa also play an important role.

Today, Mexican foods are widespread. It’s rare to see a snack table without chips and salsa or guacamole. Casual dining menus often include tacos, burritos and other Mexican entrees.

A tasty taco spice mix can be made at home. Just combine one tablespoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes and dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and one teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper. Store in an airtight container.

Following are a few recipes for Mexican foods from delish.com.


Keto Taquitos


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 cups shredded chicken

2/3 cup red enchilada sauce

4 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

Kosher salt

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Sour cream, optional


In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook about three minutes, until slightly soft. Add garlic and spices and cook one to two minutes, until fragrant. Add chicken and enchilada sauce, then bring mixture to a simmer. Stir in cilantro, season with salt and remove from heat.

To make taquito shells, mix cheeses in a medium bowls. Divide mixture into twelve 3-1/2-inch piles on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 375-degree oven about 10 minutes, until cheese is melty and slightly golden around the edges. Let cool two to four minutes, then peel shells off parchment. 

Place a small pile of chicken on each shell and roll tightly. Repeat until all taquitos are made.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with sour cream, for dipping.

Makes 12 servings.




Shrimp Enchiladas


For filling:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño, seeds removed and minced

1 pound shrimp, shells removed, deveined and chopped

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For sauce:

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

1-1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1 4.5-ounce can green chilis

1 teaspoon cumin

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For assembly:

8 medium flour tortillas

1-1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish

Pico de gallo, for serving


In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook one minute, until fragrant. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeño and cook seven minutes, until softened. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook five minutes, until shrimp is pink and cooked through.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, then whisk in flour and cook one minute, until fragrant. Whisk in milk and sour cream until no lumps remain. Add green chilis and cumin and season with salt and pepper. Simmer about five minutes, until thickened slightly. 

Spread a thin layer of sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spoon about 1/3 cup shrimp mixture into the middle of a tortilla, then sprinkle with cheese. Roll tortilla and place, seam side down, in baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour sauce over enchiladas, then top with remaining cheese. 

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. Garnish with cilantro and serve with pico de gallo.

Makes four servings.



Keto Cheese Taco Cups


2 cups shredded cheddar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground beef

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Sour cream, for serving

Diced avocado, for serving

Freshly chopped cilantro, for serving

Chopped tomatoes, for serving


Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, then spoon about two tablespoons cheddar cheese in piles a few inches apart. Bake in a 375-degree oven about six minutes, until bubbly and edges begin to turn golden. Let cool on baking sheet for a minute.

Grease the bottom of a muffin tin with cooking spray, then carefully pick up melted cheese slices and place on bottom of the tin. Fit with an inverted muffin tin and let cool 10 minutes. If you don’t have a second muffin tin, use your hands to mold the cheese around the inverted tin. 

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in garlic, then add ground beef, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Cook about six minutes, until beef is no longer pink, then drain fat. 

Return meat to skillet and season with chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. 

Transfer cheese cups to a serving platter. Fill with cooked ground beef and top with sour cream, avocado, cilantro and tomatoes.

Makes 12 cups.



Taco Dip Stuffed Bread


1 large loaf crusty bread, such as ciabatta or baguette

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound ground beef 

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons taco seasoning

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 16-ounce can refried beans

1 4.5-ounce can chopped green chilis

1 8-ounce block cream cheese

1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes, quartered

Freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish

Tortilla chips, for serving  


Slice off top of bread about one inch from the top. Hollow out center and tear bread into large pieces. Place hollowed bread on a large baking sheet, scatter bread chunks around it and drizzle with one tablespoon oil. 

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm remaining tablespoon oil. Add ground beef and cook about six minutes, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink. Drain fat. 

Return skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook one minute, until fragrant. Season with taco seasoning, salt and pepper. Add refried beans and green chilis. Add cream cheese and pepper jack and stir until melted. 

Spoon mixture into hollowed bread. Top with cheddar. Bake in a 400-degree oven about 20 minutes, until bread is toasted and cheese is melty. 

Top with tomatoes and cilantro and serve with toasted bread and chips.

Makes 10 servings.




Easy Homemade Churros


For churros:

1 cup water

6 tablespoons butter

2 tabsp. granulated sugar

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

Vegetable oil, for frying

Cinnamon sugar

For dipping sauce:

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Place water, butter and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then add vanilla. Turn off heat and add flour and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon about 30 minutes, until thickened. Let cool 10 minutes. 

Using a hand mixer, beat eggs into cooled mixture, one at a time, until combined. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip. 

In a large pot over medium heat, add enough oil to come halfway up the sides. Heat to 375 degrees. Holding the piping bag a few inches above the oil, carefully pipe churros into six-inch long ropes. Use kitchen scissors to cut the dough from piping bag. 

Fry four to five minutes, until golden, turning as necessary. Fry three to four churros at a time and let oil come back to 375 degrees beween batches. Remove churros with a slotted spoon or tongs and immediately roll in cinnamon sugar, then place on a cooling rack. 

Place chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and let sit two minutes. Add cinnamon and salt and whisk to combine. 

Serve churros with chocolate dipping sauce.

Makes 16 churros.




Mexican Street Corn Nachos


2 tablespoons butter

4 cups corn, fresh or frozen

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup heavy/whipping cream, half and half or milk

8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1 14-ounce bag tortilla chips

1/4 cup cotija or feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons crema or sour cream

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Cayenne to taste

1 lime, cut into wedges


Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat, then add corn and let it sit until it starts to char a bit. Mix and let it start to char a bit again before removing from heat and mix in the mayonnaise.

Mix cornstarch into the cream, bring just to a simmer, reduce the heat and mix in the cheese until it melts.

Place nachos on a serving dish, pour on the cheese, top with the corn, cotija, creme, cilantro and cayenne, then drizzle lime juice over the top.

Makes eight servings.




Extra-Cheesy Chilaquiles


2 11-ounce jars salsa verde

2 cups chicken broth

1 bag shredded Mexican cheese

1 bag tortilla chips

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 eggs

Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Sour cream, for garnish


In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine one jar salsa and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook two minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring until melted. If it won’t combine into a smooth sauce, that’s fine.

Place tortilla chips in an oven-safe dish and pour sauce on top. Sprinkle a handful of cheese on top, then bake in a 325-degree  oven for eight to 10 minutes.

Halfway through cooking, heat oil in a sauté pan and cook the eggs, two at a time, until the whites have set but the yolk is still runny. Slide the eggs onto the cooked tortilla mixture. 

Spoon additional salsa on top. Garnish with cilantro and sour cream.

Makes four to six servings.





Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login