Monday, May 5, 2014

What did you eat for Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo 2014
It's Cinco de Mayo everyone! This year I decided to make some chicken and veggie quesadillas with avocado, salsa, and horchata.

Before I start talking about the food I'm going to have a little holiday-related rant, so feel free to skip the text under the cut and move on to the photos.

Is it just me, or is everyone's facebook feed blowing up with Cinco de Mayo related arguments? I read a lot of posts from people who were upset that this holiday has become an excuse for Americans to get drunk and wear sombrero's, but that can also be said for Saint Patrick's Day and other holidays as well. I'm pretty easy going when it comes to these things, so I don't take offense to these things, but it is worrisome that a lot of people don't know what Cinco de Mayo originally celebrated.

Here's a super short summarized version of the events that occurred on Cinco de Mayo. If you want to read more check out this article.
Basically, after being unable to recoup their war debts, the French Army came to Mexico. Although the odds were not in Mexico's favor, with the French army being quite large and easily outnumbering the Mexican forces two-to-one, the Mexican forces miraculously won. Not only was this an unlikely triumph, but up until that point the French army was considered to be very powerful and had not been beaten for half a century.

Sorry for the history lesson, the teacher in me just couldn't resist. (I used to teach my daycare Spanish classes about this holiday.) 


This year I wanted to make something savory to eat, and although I wouldn't say these are 100% Mexican cuisine, they were really delicious.

First I made some quesadillas, just like my recipe posted HERE, but I added something different.
Admittedly, I wasn't a big fan of avacado as a kid, I think it was the texture that bothered me, but now I absolutely love it. Why am I not putting this in all my food ever?

Other than the avacado, these quesadillas were filled with cheese, corn, onion, bits of rainbow bell peppers, a hint of garlic, cumin, and paprika. Tonight I went with the stove top method (Discussed here.) so the outside shell was crisp and flaky, while the insides were filled with delicious melty cheese.

Chicken Quesadillas Recipe

 Ingredients: (For two round Quesadillas sliced into four pieces each, 8 total)
  • Chicken breast, about 2-3 "chicken fingers" worth (You can skip a step by using precooked, leftover, chicken or turkey)
  • Tablespoons of Taco seasoning  (I make use my own blend)
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Various Diced Veggies (If frozen, thaw before cooking)                        
                - Corn
                - Bell Peppers
                - Onion
                - Diced Avocado
  • 4 Large Tortillas (You can also use burrito wrappers or flatbread)
  • 1 Cup of shredded Cheese (I used 'Taco blend')
  • Salsa
  • Sour Cream
  1. If your chicken is raw, dice it up into small pieces and add it to a non-stick pan. (Make sure they are all a similar size so they will cook at the same rate.) Turn the burner to medium-high heat and stir your chicken as needed. Continue until fully cooked (If your chicken has already been cooked, you can skip this step.) 
  2. Add your diced veggies and taco seasoning to the non-stick pan with your (now) cooked chicken. Stir over medium high heat until everything is combined and hot.
  3. Once everything has been combined, and seasoned to your liking, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. To cook this you can use a few different methods:
  • Oven method: Turn your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and allow it to preheat. Take a cookie sheet, pizza pan, or pizza stone, and use it as a platform to build your quesadillas. Start with one of your tortillas (or burrito wrappers), and add half the shredded cheese. Then add some of your seasoned chicken and veggie mixture. Spread the chicken mixture over the entire tortilla, top it with the remaining cheese, and the last tortilla/burrito wrapper. Repeat for your second set of tortillas/burrito wrappers. Bake for 8-10 minutes, and then remove from oven, flip the quesadilla over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes on the opposite side. Remove from the oven, and slice it into four pieces using a pizza cutter. This method is healthier, but less crispy. 
  • Stove-top Method: Take a large non-stick pan and add enough cooking oil to completely cover the bottom. Turn on the burner and warm the oil up over medium-high heat. (We are basically frying the tortilla to make it crispy.) Once the oil has become hot, add your first tortilla/burrito wrapper to the pan and sprinkle the first half of the shredded cheese mixture on top. While the cheese starts melting, add your seasoned chicken and veggie blend and spread it out over the entire tortilla/burrito. Top the mixture with the remaining cheese and tortilla/burrito wrapper. Use a fork or a spoon to press the edges of your tortilla together, the melted cheese on both layers will help seal the quesadillas shut. Check the bottom tortilla to make sure that it is browned and crispy, then use a large spatula to flip the quesadilla over and cook the other side. (This can take some practice.)  Once both sides are browned and crispy, remove from heat and slice into four pieces with a pizza cutter. Repeat the same steps for your second set of tortillas/burrito wrappers. (Add more cooking oil as needed.)  Serve with a dollop of sour cream or salsa and enjoy!

Then to finish things off, I made another batch of Horchata.

Hopefully this post has been (a little) informative, if not for the little history lesson, than for the yummy recipes. Let me know if you plan on giving this one a try.
© Maria Smith
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