Your Cinco de Mayo Menu

No matter what your background, Cinco de Mayo is a fun day to celebrate! Honor Mexican heritage by throwing a party featuring tasty authentic dishes. To get things started, we asked four chefs to share their favorites. So put away the plain salsa and chips -- whether you’re into seafood, steak or veggies -- we’ve got some great Cinco de Mayo recipes to spice up your meal!

Guacamole Sliders

Created by: Chef Arturo McLeod, Benjamin Steakhouse, White Plains, New York

Ingredients

Guacamole
1 Hass avocado
1 small red onion, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon cilantro
Salt, pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno (optional)

Directions

1. Cut avocado in half, remove pit and, with a tablespoon, scoop the avocado out of its peel into a bow. Immediately add lemon juice (this prevents the avocado from blackening).

2. Add chopped onions, tomato, cilantro, salt, pepper and jalapeno (if desired) and mix with a fork to retain some of the chunkiness of the avocado.

3. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Sliders
8 rolls, split and lightly toasted
1 pound ground beef
1 red onion, sliced
1 medium tomato, sliced
8 slices cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Pre-heat grill. Make eight 3-inch beef patties, adding salt and pepper to taste. 

2. Grill beef patties three to five minutes per side, depending on your preferred temperature. Place a slice of cheese on each patty during the last minute of grilling. 

3. Arrange bottoms of rolls on plate. Place a patty on each roll and add a slice of onion and tomato per burger.

4. Scoop approximately 1 tablespoon of guacamole per slider, then cover with the bun top. Pinch each with a toothpick and serve. 

Mini Carne Asada Steak Tacos

Created by Stephanie Allen, co-founder, Dream Dinners 

Ingredients 

Steak and Marinade

Place a bag with six 4-oz top sirloin steaks inside a stable container and fold edges over. Add:

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons sliced jalapeno peppers

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons lime juice

Salsa

1/2 cup fire-roasted tomatoes (you can make your own by tossing several halved plum tomatoes with olive oil and kosher salt, spreading them on a baking sheet and cooking in a 400 F oven for 40 minutes)

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon lime juice

Rub

2 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning

1 teaspoon dried cilantro

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Other Ingredients

2 bags flour tortillas

2 bags low-fat refried beans

Directions

1. Remove steaks from marinade and sprinkle with half of the rub.

2. Grill or broil on medium high for three to five minutes, flip and sprinkle second side with remaining rub, continue cooking two to three minutes (until desired doneness).

3. Let steaks rest five minutes, then cut across the grain into thin strips. Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in foil and place on grill or in oven for three to five minutes. Place refried beans in small saucepan and heat for three to five minutes.

4. Place sliced steak and refried beans in warm tortillas; top with salsa.

Roasted Red Pepper and “Cheese” Taquitos

Created by: Jenny Engel, co-owner of Spork Foods, a vegan food company in LA

Ingredients:

1 roasted red pepper (from jar), seeded

1/2 brown onion, sliced into thin strips

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese

1 package corn tortillas (12 count)

2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil (refined coconut or safflower) 

Directions

1. Slice roasted red pepper into thin strips. Place in a mixing bowl and add onion, oregano, cumin, sea salt, chipotle and lime juice. Set aside.

2. Place shredded vegan cheese in a bowl and set aside. Using tongs, heat each tortilla over an open flame for about five seconds on each side, to make them pliable. 

3. Place 2 tablespoons filling mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese in center of each tortilla, in a line. Roll into a long taquito (or cigar) shape.  

4. Over medium heat, add oil to a skillet over medium heat and add oil. Cook taquitos seam side down, until golden brown, about three to four minutes.  Flip and continue to cook on the other side for an additional four to five minutes. 

5. Serve taquitos warm, along with your favorite salsa, guacamole or other dips. 

Shrimp Margarita

Created by: Ben Lillard, chef, La Cocina Mexican Grill and Bar in Seacrest Beach, Florida

Ingredients 

Shrimp

1 pound medium shrimp (deveined, peeled and diced)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

11/4 cups jarred salsa

3 tablespoons ketchup

1 cup homemade Pico de Gallo (recipe below)

2 ripe avocados (peeled and seeded)

White rice

Pico de Gallo

3/4 cup diced tomato

1/4 cup diced yellow onion

1/2 minced jalapeno

1 1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

1. Sauté diced shrimp over medium high heat for one to two minutes until shrimp is firm and pink. Season with salt and pepper.

2. In a mixing bowl, add shrimp to your favorite salsa, ketchup and the fresh chopped Pico de Gallo. Dice two avocados and mix in. Serve in a martini glass on a bed of white rice. 

3. Mix together pico de gallo ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste.

Get Lost in a Good Book: Your Spring Reading List

Warmer weather means more time to relax in the sun with a good book -- and there are some fantastic must-read books about to hit the stores (or your tablet). Here are some of the most eagerly anticipated new releases of the spring/summer season -- just in time to plan your spring or summer getaway reading! 

Fiction

The One and Only, by Emily Giffin: If you loved her novels about love and marriage, be prepared to be blown away by this tale of a woman from a small college-football town whose life is turned upside down by a tragedy. 

Your Perfect Life, by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke: These two childhood friends joined forces to write a book about -- what else? -- two childhood friends.  But this story has a Freaky Friday twist: BFFs Casey and Rachel wake up after a college reunion to discover that they’ve switched bodies! 

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, by Diana Gabaldon: The latest in Gabaldon’s

Outlander time-traveling series follows the saga of the Fraser family as their destinies cross between Revolutionary War-era Pennsylvania and twentieth-century Scotland. Family secrets and a kidnapped son add to the intrigue. 

Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King: The King of thrillers is at it again with a story that rings all too true in these troubled times: A loner who committed mass murder years earlier threatens to strike again, leading a cop to come out of retirement and hunt the killer down before it’s too late. 

More must-read books: The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank, The Arsonist by Sue Miller, The Transcriptionist, by Amy Rowland, and Cold Cold Heart, by Tami Hoag. 

Nonfiction

My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut, by Hannah Hart. What began as a goofy joke for a friend -- making a fake cooking video while drinking wine -- turned Hart into an overnight celeb. Now she offers her cooking tips, favorite recipes and, of course, the right cocktails for every dish.

New Life, No Instructions, by Gail Caldwell:  Need a dose of inspiration? You’ll find it in Caldwell’s memoir of grief and hope. After a series of losses -- her mother, her best friend, her dog and her mobility -- she underwent a surgery that brought back not only her ability to walk, but also to believe in herself and in her future.

Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest, by Jen Doll: Just in time for wedding season!  Doll recalls a lifetime’s worth of invitations, buffets and cocktail dresses as she sums up the whole bridal experience and what it says about relationships today. 

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, by Molly Wizenberg: Think of it as a Food Network reality show in hardcover. Newlywed Wizenberg supported her husband’s dream of owning a pizzeria -- never realizing how the work and stress of running a restaurant would affect their relationship.

More must-read books: Listen to the Squawking Chicken, by Elaine Lui, Everybody’s Got Something, by Robin Roberts, and a new memoir by Hillary Rodham Clinton.