10 Festive Recipes for Cinco De Mayo

Spice up your week with festive cocktails and easy entrees, perfect for Cinco de Mayo.

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

1. Smoky Dove Cocktail

3/4 cup mezcal 
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice 
1/2 cup St-Germain elderflower liqueur 
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
3 tablespoons agave nectar 
1 small lime, cut into 4 wedges
grapefruit wheels, for garnish 

Combine first five ingredients in a large pitcher and mix well. Refrigerate until chilled. Pour over ice in highball glasses. Top with a squeeze of lime and garnish with a grapefruit wheel. Serves 4

Photo by Nicole Quinn

2. Salsa Fresca

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeño, chopped (Remove seeds, unless you want it hot!)
freshly ground pepper, to taste
pinch of sea salt,  to taste

1. Toss all ingredients together. Let marinate for at least half an hour, preferably several hours. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Give the salsa a light stir before serving with tortilla chips. Makes approximately 4 cups

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3. Easy Beef and Bean Enchiladas

Photos by Elise Poché

1/2 pound ground beef
1 – 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 (10-ounce) can refried beans
1/2 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce
1/2 – 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
chopped fresh cilantro, optional

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, brown ground beef sprinkled with taco seasoning until done (unless cooked in advance). If pre-cooked, reheat until warm.
3. Spread a strip of refried beans down the middle of each tortilla.
4. Top beans with seasoned meat.
5. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down in an 8-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
6. Pour enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro. Serves 4

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

4. Crunchy Taco Cups

1 pound lean ground beef 
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes
2 – 2 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
24 wonton wrappers (found in the produce refrigerator section)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
diced green onions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a skillet, brown ground beef until cooked through. Add in Rotel tomatoes, taco seasoning and black beans. 
3. Stack 2 wonton wrappers in a “star.” Press into muffin tin. 
4. Once meat mixture is done, scoop 1 – 2 spoonfuls into each wonton cup. Top with cheese. 
5. Bake 12 – 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and wonton edges are crispy. Garnish with green onion. Makes 12 individual cups

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

5. Shrimp Tacos with Mango Pineapple Salsa

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound large Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon chili powder 
1/2 teaspoon cumin
flour tortillas, warmed
Mango Pineapple Salsa (below)

sour cream, optional

1. Heat a pan with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to hot pan. (It should sizzle when you add it.) Season shrimp with salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Sauté 4 – 5 minutes or until opaque.  
2. Fill each tortilla with shrimp and Mango Pineapple Salsa. Drizzle with sour cream before serving, if desired. Serves 2 – 4

Mango Pineapple Salsa:
2 mangoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup pineapple, cut into small cubes
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped green onion
juice of 1 lime
honey, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. Toss with lime juice and honey. Season with salt and pepper.

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

6. Sheet Pan Fajitas

2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 each red, green and yellow bell peppers, cored and sliced into strips
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely diced garlic
8 small corn or flour tortillas
sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa and/or jalapeños, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro for toppings, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine dry seasonings. Set aside.
3. Place peppers, onion and chicken onto baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over pan and sprinkle garlic and seasoning mix over the top. Toss evenly to coat and then spread chicken and vegetables evenly across pan.
4. Roast, tossing once halfway through cooking, until veggies are tender and chicken has cooked through, about 18 – 25 minutes. Do not overcook or the chicken will become dry.
5. Wrap tortillas tightly in aluminum foil and warm in oven during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
6. Remove from oven and pile chicken and veggies on tortillas. Finish off with favorite toppings. Serves 4

Photo by Todd Douglas

7. Santa Fe Soup

2 pounds ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
2 packages of taco seasoning mix
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans
1 (10-ounce) can original Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies, undrained
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
2 (11-ounce) cans shoepeg corn, drained
1 – 2 cups water

1. Brown ground beef, turkey or chicken in a big stockpot, drain off fat.
2. Add onions and sauté until translucent and beginning to brown. Stir in ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning mix. Then add remaining ingredients.
3. Best if simmered for about 2 hours, but can be served as soon as it is all heated through. Serves 6 – 8

8. Chili Margarita Watermelon Salad

1 medium seedless watermelon
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped green or red onion
3/4 cup good quality tequila
3/4 cup agave syrup
juice from 3 limes
1/4 cup triple sec
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh red chili, or to taste

1. Cut the watermelon into bite-sized cubes and put in a large mixing bowl. Add the cilantro and onion and toss gently. Set aside.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a blender or cocktail shaker. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Toss the melon with the sauce and place in the fridge to chill before serving. Serves 6

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

9. The Pink Pineapple

Recipe from Playa at Sportsman Marina in Orange Beach

6 ounces Fresh Victor cactus and pomegranate juice*
3/4 ounce silver tequila
3/4 ounce vodka

Add ingredients to blender, adding ice until desired consistency. Garnish with a pineapple slice and serve. (Pineapple glass pictured is available in the Playa gift shop for $8)

* Fresh Victor is only available direct to bars. Playa says you can substitute equal parts of
Finest Call pomegranate and prickly pear syrups, available online.

Photos by Todd Douglas

10. Snazzy Grapefruit Margarita

3 cups ice
1 cup ruby red grapefruit juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup triple sec
1 cup tequila
4 teaspoons Cayenne Simple Syrup
4 teaspoons Citrus Simple Syrup
1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish
Kosher salt, for garnish (optional)

1. In a blender, combine all ingredients except for lime wedges and Kosher salt.
2. If desired, rub a lime wedge along the rim of each glass, then dip in Kosher salt. Pour margarita into glass, and garnish with lime wedge. Add ice, if desired. Serves approximately 4

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