By Jenny Stauffer

Happy Cinco De Mayo!  Next weekend we will be celebrating this day that commemorates the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War and celebrates Mexican heritage and pride.  Don’t y’all just love another reason to dish out some Mexican food? If you are grilling out with friends, joining a large fiesta, or just having a small family celebration, hopefully some of these recipes will fit the bill.

As always, if you have another recipe to share, please add your comment at the end of the blog!  More recipes can be found in our Food/Recipe section here.

Green Chile Wonton Cups

Another favorite recipe from the Raleigh Junior League cookbook!

1 pound Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup sour cream
½ cup black olives, chopped
2/3 cup chopped green chiles (canned, 4 oz)
½ cup minced green onions
1 tsp cumin or more to taste
1 tsp dried oregano, or more to taste
Wonton Wrappers

Preheat an oven to 350
Combine all ingredients except for wonton wrappers. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Spray a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray. Place one wrapper in each cup. Brush with oil or spray with cooking spray.
Bake empty wonton wrappers until crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Remove and place on a baking sheet.
Fill the cups with the filling and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes, or until filling is hot and bubbly.


Paella Salad

I made this for Supper Club a long time ago and we all loved it. It’s a little bit more Tex-Mex/Spanish in flavor, but it does feed a crowd! We enjoyed eating this warm. Add some cilantro for added color.

1 10 oz pkg yellow rice
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/3 pound shrimp, cooked and peeled
½ red pepper, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more if needed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T tarragon vinegar
1/8 tsp dry mustard
*chopped cilantro to garnish

Cook yellow rice according to according to directions. Add chicken, shrimp, peppers, scallion, and tomatoes and set aside. In a jar, combine olive oil, garlic, tarragon vinegar and dry mustard. Shake well until mixed. Pour over rice mixture. Serve roomtemperature or warm.


Cooking Light Grilled Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa

This is an easy weekend or weeknight meal .

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

1 cup chopped plum tomato (about 2)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado, peeled and finely chopped

1. To prepare chicken, combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss and let stand 3 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.
2. To prepare salsa, combine tomato and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl. Add avocado; stir gently to combine. Serve salsa over chicken.


Taco Stuffed Shells

If you are looking for a kid-friendly version of a fiesta, try this! If you aren’t sure about goat cheese, cream cheese would substitute fine. You can interchange ingredients, from the beans, to the corn, to the cheeses, to your liking. The idea of merging Italian and Mexican make it so fresh tasting, though!
This is a delish recipe! We gobbled it up.

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 pound ground beef
1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 cup tomato puree
1 cup corn (optional)
1 cup black beans
4 ounces goat cheese or cream cheese, salt and pepper to taste
1 cup salsa
1 pound large pasta shells, cooked
1 cup cheese, shredded


Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up, about 10 minutes.
Add the taco seasoning, tomato puree, corn, black beans and goat cheese and cook until the goat cheese has melted in, about 2-3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread the salsa into a large baking dish, stuff the shells with the beef mixture and place them in the salsa.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so, and sprinkle with cheese during last 10 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro, if desired.


Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

from Real Simple August 2004 and Paula Deen 2005

I made this when it first came out in the Real Simple Magazine. I think everyone else did, too, because Paula Deen featured it in her first cookbook! It is also delicious as a chunky dip! Simple is sometimes the best!
serves 4-6

■2 cups cooked corn, fresh or frozen ( fresh is best! ) about 4 ears
■1 – 2 avocado, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
■1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes halved
■1/2 finely diced red onion ( I use my small food processor)

■2 tablespoons olive oil
■1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
■1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
■1/4 cup chopped cilantro
■1/4 teaspoon salt
■1/8 teaspoon pepper
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a 2 cup measure or a small bowl.
Cook corn in boiling water for about 3 minutes.
Remove corn from the cob with a sharp knife.
Combine the corn, avocado, tomatoes, and onion in a large glass bowl.
Stir in dressing.