The Perfect Cinco de Mayo Dinner

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about your celebration!
Cinco de Mayo is not just a popular holiday in Mexico, but also in the United States. The holiday marks the anniversary of the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Many Americans confuse Cinco de Mayo with the Mexican Independence Day. A totally separate holiday, Mexican Independence Day, or “Grito de Dolores” is celebrated on September 16th each year.

If you are planning on celebrating this traditional Mexican holiday, you must serve the perfect meal! With this refreshing Mexican menu, and a few cocktails, your Cinco de Mayo party is sure to be a hit that fills everyone’s bellies!

Appetizer:

Authentic Mexican “Guac”

Delicious, basic, and fresh, serve this guacamole recipe by Food with chips, and satisfy all of your guest’s cravings for Mexican!

Ingredients:Ixtapa Mexican Grill and Cantina

5 large Hass avocadoes (black in color, slightly soft to the press)

2 large limes, juice of

1 medium white onion (diced)

3⁄4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro (chopped finely)

1 large tomato (Diced-make sure it isn’t overly ripe)

salt

finely chopped fresh jalapeno (optional)

Directions:

Slice avocados in half. Discard the seed. Scoop out of shell with a spoon. Place in bowl. Add juice of one fresh lime immediately to prevent browning. Use a fork and mash to desired consistency. Add chopped onions, tomato, and cilantro. Stir gently to mix ingredients. Add juice of second lime and then salt to taste. Stir just slightly, until incorporated. Add jalapeño to taste. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips for a dip, or use with your favorite Mexican dish. A side note: this is to make a chunky, yet creamy guacamole. Some people prefer to use a food processor with all the ingredients to make for a VERY creamy dip.

Dinner:

Enchilada Casserole

This delicious twist on the classic enchilada from Taste of Home will have you and your guests craving more!

Ingredients:Ixtapa Mexican Grill and Cantina

1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)

1 large onion, chopped

2 cups salsa

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup reduced-fat Italian salad dressing

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 6 flour tortillas (8 inches)

3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 medium tomato, chopped

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Directions:

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the salsa, beans, dressing, taco seasoning and cumin. Place three tortillas in an 11×7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with half of the meat mixture, sour cream and cheese. Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes; top with lettuce, tomato and cilantro. Yield: 8 servings.

Dessert:

Avocado Lime Cheesecake

Easy to prepare, this delicious cheesecake from AllRecipes has great Mexican flare, all while reminding you that summer is just around the corner!

Ingredients:Ixtapa Mexican Grill and Cantina

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup white sugar

1 1/2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 (8 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

Directions:

Heat cream in a small saucepan until small bubbles appear around edges. Remove from heat and stir sugar into cream until it dissolves. Transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool. Combine avocado and cream cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add lime juice and process until smooth; whisk into the cooled cream mixture. Fill an ice cream maker with the avocado mixture, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions for making ice cream. Spoon avocado mixture into the prepared pie crust; smooth surface with a spatula. Freeze until solid, at least 2 hours. Let cheesecake sit at room temperature until slightly softened yet firm enough to slice before serving, 10 to 15 minutes.

For more great Mexican food ideas, tips and tricks, be sure to check out our blog, or visit us at Ixtapa Mexican Grill & Cantina in Acton, Groton, Lexington, Lunenburg, and Woburn MA. If you don’t feel like cooking, be sure to visit us to celebrate Cinco de Mayo all weekend long, from May 1st-5th.