5 Fiesta Dishes for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo party hat, sombrero, cinco de mayo recipes, mexican recipes, dish dish, mexican dishes, dishdishOh my goodness!   Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner – another reason to host a party.  We are sharing 5 Fiesta Dishes for Cinco de Mayo!  While it has become a larger celebration in the U.S. than in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo commemorates a significant victory of the Mexican Army over the French in 1862.  In the United States it is mostly a celebration of Mexican culture – marked with parades, mariachi music, parties, and of course lots of good food!

When I was growing up, we had some dear friends who owned and operated a couple of Mexican restaurants and made the best Mexican food I had ever tasted – tamales, enchiladas, guacamole, fresh tortillas, and one of my favorites – sweet empanadas! While they shared techniques and helped us make some of these dishes for ourselves (my family still loves having home-made tortillas!), I always enjoyed when they would make empanadas for holidays or fiestas.  So I finally embarked on an adventure today to make some for myself and see if I could recreate the flavor and experience from so many years ago.

Start with the sweet pastry dough, which comes together in just moments with a food processor or stand mixer, and yet isn’t difficult with a hand mixer, either.  It does need time to chill for a couple of hours, though, before it’s ready to handle and turn into yummy sweet pastries.

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Today I used some cherry pie filling for mine.  But this recipe includes directions for both homemade cherry or apple filling.  And my friend used to fill hers with apricot preserves (or even pick a preserve based on its color to match a party theme) – making this dessert even easier to put together!

Empanadas are made by cutting the dough into circles, placing the filling in the middle, and then folding the circle in half (similar to a calzone – but much smaller) and crimping the edges.  This is not too difficult to do by hand – especially if you use a fork to crimp the edges after lightly wetting them with a bit of water.  However, easiest yet is to use a tool like the ones pictured here – use one side to cut out the circle, and the other side to fold and crimp it after filling (be sure to dip it in a light coating of flour first, so the dough doesn’t stick to it).

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Finally they are ready to go into the oven and bake for a few minutes; after baking, add a little extra sweetness by either drizzling with a light glaze or sprinkling powdered sugar over the tops before serving warm.  Mmm!  My mouth is watering already.  Not sure I’ll finish the article before scarfing one down – oh, wait, sticky fingers are bad for typing!

And if you’re trying to behave and not eat too much sugar, choose to make them a bit smaller and then just one won’t ruin your good efforts!

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Now, as promised, some other Fiesta Dishes for Cinco de Mayo:

1.    Turkey Nachos Supreme

2.    Guacamole

3.    Baked Steak Burritos

4.    Chicken, Avocado, and Queso Fresco Tostada

 Do you have some favorite fiesta or Mexican dishes that you enjoy making (or just eating, or both) either for Cinco de Mayo or any day of the week?  Leave us a comment with some of your favorites and other ideas.

And remember, with your free account, you can start organizing all of your favorite recipes (whether from papers in a drawer or folder, torn-out magazine pages, Grandma’s recipe box, or your favorite foodie website) here at Dish Dish in one place in your own online cookbook; de-clutter the kitchen and find your recipes easily where you can edit them, add photos, create shopping lists, share with friends, and more.  We look forward to seeing your favorites on here soon!

3 Basic Recipes with Coconut Oil

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If you have not used coconut oil before, one of the first things to be aware of is that coconut oil becomes a solid (or turns into a shortening type consistency) when at room temperature or below.  Above about 78 degrees or so, it will return to liquid form.  I point this out so you will not be alarmed or confused by its appearance at room temperature.  The nice thing about this, though, is that the oil can be easily used in baking to replace butter and margarine (either substitute it for only half of the butter called for or if substituting for the whole amount, add about a teaspoon of liquid for better consistency in batter).

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The coconut oil works well in our popcorn popper, as a substitute for half of the oil/butter we usually put in the popper.  The added flavor is actually very enjoyable!  Then recently I added it to a berry muffin recipe, using it in place of half of the margarine called for; it was a terrific replacement, adding a nice hint of coconut  flavor to the fruit muffins.  Coconut oil is also great for stir-frying!

So here are 3 basic recipes with coconut oil, to get you started using it and see what you think.   Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Sautéed Curried Cabbage – a spicy curried vegetable side dish fried up in coconut oil.

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 Teriyaki Bowl – Stir-fry this delicious meal in coconut oil for a quick healthy dish.

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And finally, a dessert, of course – Lemon Coconut Poundcake – Mmmm!

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With benefits like helping our bodies fight off yeast, fungus and candida; boosting thyroid function, increasing metabolism and energy; improving cholesterol ratio levels; and helping the body burn energy more efficiently, adding a tablespoon or two of organic coconut oil to our diets each day seems to be a delicious way to help improve our health.  So, here’s to you and yours!

And remember you can save any of these recipes and add your favorite recipes to your own online cookbook with Dish Dish when you set up your free account!  Remember to share us with a friend, too.

*Unrefined coconut oil has a mild coconut flavor and scent; refined coconut oil has no coconut scent or flavor and also withstands higher temperatures, but can also have trans-fats in it due to the refining process.

Spring Recipes Cooking with Fresh Asparagus

asparagus bunch, cooking healthy, asparagus recipes, family recipes, online cookbookIt’s spring and time for refreshing recipes with fresh asparagus.  The world is slowly but surely turning green outside my window.  Perhaps the green outside makes you hungry for fresh spring vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, spring onions, and radishes.

Do you love asparagus or hate it?  It seems most people have strong feelings one way or another.  As a young person, I absolutely detested it!  (Not that I had experienced fresh stalks of crisp asparagus cooked just right, mind you.) Then when I was a teenager, we lived next door to a family with a very large asparagus patch.  In exchange for helping in their garden, we received part of the crop – oh, joy! I thought.  Not exactly the reward I was hoping for in exchange for hard work.

But the first time my mom cooked up a tender batch of that fresh asparagus, seasoned simply with a little butter and some salt and pepper, I could hardly believe my taste buds!  It was heavenly, and an asparagus lover was born.

Of course, wouldn’t you know that my family is not so partial to the vegetable, so I do not serve it very often.  But I came across this idea for cooking just a few stalks quickly and easily and knew this would be a great way for me to enjoy some fresh asparagus, even though my family would turn up their noses.

So, if you find yourself in this same dilemma (or are only cooking for one most of the time), try this easy recipe (and scroll further down for family-size recipes).

Microwave – Quick Fresh Asparagus

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Or if you just want a little asparagus for yourself, try steaming up a small bunch in the microwave.  Wrap a small bundle of stems (after washing and removing tough ends) in a damp paper towel; place on a plate and microwave on high for 3 minutes.  When it looks bright green and is just tender, it’s ready to eat.  If it’s still a little tough when checked with a fork, heat for one more minute in the microwave.  Add a little salt, pepper, and melted butter or olive oil, if desired, and enjoy!

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Maybe your family loves asparagus, though, and you are looking for some fun unique ways to prepare dishes this spring.  If so, here are a variety of options for you.


Lemony Saute Asparagus

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Baked Fusilli with Asparagus

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Stir Fried Chicken and Asparagus with Cashews

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Prosciutto Asparagus Spirals

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Bobby Flay’s Asparagus Salad

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With so many delicious and varying asparagus dish ideas, which ones will you try this spring?  Do you have other favorites or ideas you could share in a comment below?  We’d love to hear from you!

Remember you can save all your favorite recipes from Dish Dish, your overflowing recipe drawer, Facebook or around the web in your own online cookbook with your free account – add recipes, edit them, create shopping lists or menus, add photos and notes, print with decorative templates, and use our Recipe Import Tool (pro users only)!