This week is Cinco de Mayo, so I wanted to cook some Mexican-style dishes in honor of the holiday. I don’t generally cook a ton of Mexican/Southwestern food on a regular basis. The occasional taco salad or homemade enchiladas are about all that are in my repertoire.
A couple of months ago, I did tackle fish tacos. Check out my previous post for Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos which is a Cooking Light recipe…it was delicious and healthy! But back to this week’s culinary journey…
So this week, I wanted to be a little adventurous but also cook dishes that I really love. I scoured my usual recipe resources and I’m hoping that I found some great options to inspire anyone when looking for something to cook for the festivities.
Gather your friends together and start celebrating!
Recipe #1: Chorizo, Bean and Cheese Nachos
First up is a dish that could be an appetizer for a group or a full meal, which I did last night. This is a serious loaded nacho dish that literally made me go back for more. Full of flavor, super spicy (can you say 5 jalapenos?!), and tons of cheese. I was sold before I even started.
This recipe is courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, which I found on the Food Network‘s website. I was immediately drawn to the dish when I began my Cinco de Mayo recipe search. I think it was my desire to cook with chorizo again. I used it a couple of weeks ago in my Paella dish and thought it be fun to see this ingredient in a totally new light.
Let’s take a moment…doesn’t that look amazing?! It tasted even better. These nachos are layered with a cooked pinto beans, chorizo, shallots (that’s what I had on hand, but the recipe calls for onions), about a thousand jalapenos bits (approximately), and lots of pepper jack and sharp cheddar cheese. Finishing with a drizzle of lime sour cream completes this dish and cools your mouth down in the process.
If you like nachos and are looking for a special version that will impress all of your friends and family, then look no further. These are a real winner!
Click here for the recipe and step by step instructions.
Recipe #2: Quesadilla Heaven
First of all, I have to give a huge thanks to Tortilla Land. I received some tortillas from them to try out, which inspired my Cinco de Mayo cooking week. Since I would be working with this new ingredient, I wanted to make a dish where you could really taste the tortilla. I love quesadillas, so it seemed like a great fit, since the tortillas aren’t covered in sauce or hidden.
After cooking with these tortillas I cannot say enough good things about them. No, I was not contacted to give a glowing review for Tortilla Land, I just cooked with them and thought they were excellent. The flour tortillas are about as close to homemade as you can get. They come packaged to you uncooked, so cooking them is half the fun as you watch the air pockets grow when heated up and get nice and brown in only a few seconds. The quality of the tortillas is wonderful as well.
Since I wanted to test out this ingredient, I knew I needed to find some quesadilla recipes that I could count on. America’s Test Kitchen is the perfect place, because they test their recipes repeatedly until they are perfected. I found 3 quesadilla recipes I wanted to try:
This is the standard cheese quesadilla
This is a quesadilla filled with cheddar cheese, crispy bacon strips and scallions.
This quesadilla is filled with pepper jack cheese and a black bean and corn mixture that comes together easily.
I fed these 3 dishes to my family and they were all a hit. If I had to make one a winner though, it would hands down be the Black Bean Quesadillas. They were filling, flavorful, and weren’t overly rich like some mainly cheese-filled quesadillas can be. Once again, Cooks Illustrated hit it out of the park! Plus they all came together really quickly, especially considering I was making three different kinds of tortillas at once. They went really well with Recipe #1’s Loaded Nachos (above).
My family also really loved the quesadillas. They had a little more texture and were heartier than typical flour tortillas you buy. Plus you knew they were fresh because you just cooked them yourself. Click here to find where you can purchase Tortilla Land tortillas in your area…they will be a staple in my refrigerator from now on.
If you want these awesome quesadilla recipes and step by step instructions, click here.