An Easy Cinco de Mayo Fiesta
Making a simple Mexican inspired meal is a great way to celebrate the day, without fighting restaurant crowds.
Thursday is Cinco de Mayo, the commemoration of the Mexican army’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. Although the holiday is not widely celebrated in Mexico, it is certainly a great reason to whip up your own fiesta here.
Restaurants are too crowded for me on Cinco de Mayo, so I turn to my own kitchen for dinner. Family-pleasing quesadillas, black beans and a cool glass of sangria fit the bill for a week night Cinco celebration.
The humble quesadilla is easy for a quick dinner. Quesadillas do not need to be limited to the kid staple of melted cheese in a tortilla. You can use your imagination and fill the tortillas with just about anything. One trick when making a hearty quesadilla is to layer the goodies between the cheeses. When cheese is touching both the top and the bottom tortilla, everything sticks together perfectly.
My simple weeknight trick is to use rotisserie chicken from the grocery store in my quesadillas. My favorite is Dierbergs traditionally seasoned rotisserie chicken. All the ingredients for the quesadillas are approximate. Add or substitute according to your preferences.
I used to serve all Mexican food with the typical can of refried beans. After a quick internet search one day, I came up with the perfect compliment to any Mexican or Cuban meal. The black bean recipe is adapted from “Best Black Beans” on allrecipes.com.
Not Just for Kids Quesadillas
- 16 6 inch diameter flour tortillas (sometimes called fajita size)
- 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
- ½ rotisserie chicken
- 6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
- 6 medium mushrooms, chopped
- 6 green onions, bottoms removed and white and green parts sliced thin
- ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle
- Olive oil, optional, for brushing tortillas
- Salsa (optional, for serving)
- Sour cream (optional, for serving)
- Preheat the oven to 400.
Remove chicken meat from the skin and bones. Coarsely chop the chicken and set aside.
Lay 8 tortillas on a large baking sheet. Spread 1/8 cup cheese on each tortilla. Evenly distribute the chicken, bacon, mushrooms, green onions and cilantro on each tortillas. Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle on each tortilla. Top each with another 1/8 cup of cheese. Lay the remaining 8 tortillas on the quesadillas.
Brush the top of each quesadilla with olive oil, if using.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the quesadillas from the oven. Carefully flip each quesadilla over and brush the new top with olive oil (if using). Return the tray to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the quesadillas are toasted to a light golden color.
Cut into wedges, garnish with additional chopped cilantro and serve with black beans.
Super Easy Best Black Beans Ever (adapted from Allrecipes.com, “Easy Black Beans”)
- 1 can whole black beans
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle (more or less to taste)
Combine ingredients in a small pan. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes
- 1 cup spiced rum, chilled
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 750 ml bottle dry red wine, chilled
- 2 cups orange juice, chilled
- 2 oranges, sliced into rounds
Mix rum, sugar, wine and orange juice in a large pitcher. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add orange slices to the pitcher, reserving 8 slices to float on each glass for serving.
Chill the mixture for at least two hours to blend the flavors.
To serve, pour into glasses and top each glass with a remaining orange slice.