26 Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

cinco

Mexican food is always a hit at our house.  I’ve shared a lot of our favorites here on the blog over the years. These are recipes we come back to time and time again.   Whether authentic or some of our favorite “Americanized” versions, it always seems to hit the spot! Plus, there are so many delicious sides you can serve with Mexican inspired meals. And the great thing about many of these recipes is they are so easy and quick to put together. That makes weeknight meals a breeze.  A bit of homemade salsa and fresh guacamole, and it’s perfect.

So in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, here are 26 of our favorite Mexican inspired recipes for you to enjoy. Whether you are planning to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or not, you’ll love these meals!

 

15 minute Sausage and Corn Quesadillas with Azteca tortillasSausage and Corn Quesadillas

Salsa Verde Steak Slow Cooker RecipeSalsa Verde Steak 

bbqchickenfajitas_thumb.jpgBarbeque Chicken Fajitas

beanandcheeseenchiladasdone2_thumb.jpgBean and Cheese Enchiladas

beef and black bean taco casserole doneBeef and Black Bean Taco Bake

Black bean and corn chicken taco bake done

Black Bean and Corn Chicken Taco Bake

 

sloppy chicken tacos done

Sloppy Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos

Slow Cooker Creamy Jalapeno Chicken TacosCreamy Jalapeno Chicken Tacos

smokychipotlechickentacosdone_thumb.jpgSmoky Chipotle Chicken Tacos

taco soup new picTaco Soup

Quick and easy Chipotle Style Chicken Burrito Bowls

Quick and Easy Chipotle Burrito Bowls

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce and White CheeseChicken Enchiladas

Chuck Roast Enchiladas www.eatathomecooksChuck Roast Enchiladas

black bean tacos done close

Crisp Black Bean Tacos with Feta & Lime

crockpot beef fajitasCrockpot Beef Fajitas

Crockpot Chicken FajitasCrockpot Chicken Fajitas

pork-carnitasPork Carnitas

Shreddedbeeftacos1-1024x678Shredded Taco Beef

grilled chicken and cream cheese enchiladas done

Grilled Chicken & Cream Cheese Enchiladas

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Dressing

mexican beans and rice done closeMexican Beans & Rice

Chipotle Chili Chicken NachosChipotle Chile Chicken Nachos

mexican-veg-on-cornbread

Mexican Vegetables on Cornbread

White Queso SoupWhite Queso Soup

oven baked chicken tacosOven Baked Chicken Tacos

McCormick Tacos with Chipotle and Garlic

15 Minute Tacos with Chipotle and Garlic

If you love easy meals like this, check out our Weekly Meal Plans and save several hours of planning and a lot of money each week on groceries. Click here.

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Perfect Pasta Salad {plus tips I’ve learned}

4 Tips for Making Perfect Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a great dish to bring to a party, family get-together or for summer entertaining. It makes a great side, and if you are like me, you can make a meal out of it. It’s also so versatile, that you can add just about anything to it. However, for years…I just couldn’t get it right. After much trial and error, I have come up with what I think is the Perfect Pasta Salad!

Perfect Pasta Salad Bowl EAH

 

  • First tip, it’s important to cook your pasta al dente (it should say on the box how many minutes this is, I like to use rotini pasta and it’s usually 7 minutes). This will prevent the pasta from getting too mushy/soggy because the pasta will soak up some of the dressing as it sits.
  • Second, and this is where I often went wrong, you need equal amounts of pasta to vegetables/add-ins. I like to chop my main veggies fairly uniform (“bite” size), like cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, etc. My other ingredients that I use less of because of the strong flavor, such as onions and peppers, are chopped smaller. By add-ins, I am talking about not only vegetables, but also cheese, meats (pepperoni, ham, chicken), etc.
  • Third,  the dressing…everyone has their favorite and how much they like, but too much or too little can turn your perfect pasta salad into a “ehhh, it’s okay” pasta salad. My rule of thumb is 4:4:14 cups cooked pasta, 4 cups veggies/add-ins, 1 cup dressing. Even when I make a large batch for a cook-out or party, I stick with my ratios. See, math does come in handy sometimes! The pasta and veggies will soak up some of the dressing, so if you make this the night before, you may need to add a little more dressing the next day. This is a good starting point, and you can adjust to suit your taste buds.
  • Finally, and this is just a suggestion because they are not always readily available, but I highly recommend adding fresh herbs. My favorites to use are basil or cilantro.

Pasta Salad Ingredients EAH

I am particularly fond of the above ingredients for my pasta salad. However, I usually add peppers and I always add some kind of cheese, which somehow did not make the picture! I usually use feta, but feel free to add whatever is your favorite.

Perfect Pasta Salad {plus tips I've learned}
This pasta salad is the perfect side or light meal. Great for parties, cookouts, and more.
Ingredients
  • 8 oz dry pasta (will yield about 4 cups when cooked)
  • 4 cups desired vegetables/add-ins (such as cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, fresh herbs, cheese)
  • 1 cup dressing (such as House Italian, Oil & Vinegar, etc.)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on package for al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  2. Place drained pasta in a large bowl, adding vegetables and desired add-ins.
  3. Add dressing, salt, pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Place in fridge to chill or serve immediately.

P.S. Want to save $60 and 2 hours each week on grocery shopping? Click herehttp://eatathomecooks.com/MealPlans429

Kim is a contributing writer for Eat at Home and author of food & family blog, Makin’ it Mo’Betta. She blogs about her adventures in the kitchen, incorporating life as mom to teen and tween girls, as well as a young son with nut allergies, and wife to a diabetic husband. Life is never dull!

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Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Salt and Pepper Dressing – an easy, whole food side dish

Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Salt and Pepper Dressing

 

This side dish is so easy and it’s a great way to use up the vegetables in your fridge.  You can use just about any vegetable you want, although I do recommend sticking with tomatoes.  They add some juice that creates its own dressing.

The ingredients in this are super simple.  It’s really more method than recipe.

I made this on a night that we needed to pack our dinner for a soccer game.  The green beans needed to be used, but we weren’t going to be home to eat them hot.  I blanched the beans, added the tomatoes, threw on a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar.

I think the tomatoes would be great paired with broccoli or cauliflower or zucchini or yellow squash.  You can add fresh herbs too, if you’ve got them.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – April 27

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Pineapple Crisp with Whipped Coconut Cream

I have had a dry spell in creating recipes lately.  And then there have been recipes that I made and the photos didn’t turn out, which is super frustrating.

But I did come up with a good one this weekend.  I can’t wait to share this recipe with you!

Pineapple Crisp with Whipped Coconut Cream

One good thing about this dessert is that it is fairly healthy, as dessert goes anyway.  There’s only 1/4 cup of maple syrup (or honey) in the crisp.  And the coconut creams is sweetened, but it is non-dairy, if that’s important to someone in your family.

2.  Soccer team party

Thursday night, Mia had another soccer game and one of the families invited everyone back to their house for a meal.  They served Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad (so good!) and the rest of us chipped in with dessert, cut fruit, drinks etc.

I loved that this busy family opened their home to all of us.  It was welcoming and relaxed and a great time to get to know each other better.  The girls ate, talked and laughed together on the deck and the parents visited around the kitchen table and spilled into the living room.  It made me realize that having people over doesn’t need to be complicated.

I’m encouraged to host more gatherings at our house.  Now to follow through with that idea…

3.  Question – Cooked beets at Costco???

While shopping at Costco the other day, I noticed packs of cooked, vacuum packed beets in the refrigerator section.  The label said something like, “ready for anything”.  That’s great, but my imagination isn’t that good!

How  would you use cooked, cold beets?  Warm them up for a side dish?  Add to a salad?  Do you like them? Inquiring minds want to know!

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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Quick Mediterranean Pasta Skillet

When we were first living together, my husband and I started making “clean out the veggie drawer pasta” once a week. It’s exactly what it sounds like: once a week, anything that was left in the drawer went into our dinner. Some weeks it was unexpectedly awesome – some weeks not so much. Over time, it evolved into a few different go-to dinners.

MedPastaSkillet

This variation of the pasta is my personal favorite. I’ll still make substitutions depending on what we have on hand – chicken instead of ham or peas instead of tomatoes make frequent appearances – but these are always what I hope to find in the drawer when we start prepping dinner.

MedPastaIngredients

I love how fast this comes together. I usually start my chopping right after I dump the pasta into the water and then by the time I’m ready to add the pasta to the skillet, it’s done cooking. Paired with a salad and a loaf of crusty bread, it’s an awesome, quick meal.

Quick Mediterranean Pasta Skillet

Serves: 4 Servings

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large ham steak, diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • ⅓ cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, julienned
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and ham and cook until onion is translucent and ham is browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds more, until fragrant. Add in the tomatoes and sliced olives and cook another 1-2 minutes, until the tomatoes start to give up their juice.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to combine. Add more olive oil as needed to coat. Stir in Parmesan cheese, top with basil and serve.

Kate is a home cook and new mom  from New Jersey. In addition to sharing recipes with Eat at Home readers, she blogs her cooking adventures at Kate’s Recipe Box. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading or tending to her garden.

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15 Slow Cooker Sandwiches

Sandwiches are the classic “I need to feed my family–quick!” kind of meals. But quick and easy doesn’t have to mean PBJ or BLTs night after night. There are lots of delicious things to serve between two slices of bread.  These fifteen different sandwiches you can throw into your slow cooker and forget about until dinner time are life savers for us during the summer–or any busy time of the year! There’s enough variety that even if we ate sandwiches for a week straight, we’d probably not be tired of of them.

slowcookersandwiches

The slow cooker is such a time saver. And when it’s hot–not having to heat up the kitchen is a huge bonus. And thanks to the slow cooker, you get to enjoy big, juicy flavorful sandwiches without slaving over the stove or grill for hours on hot or busy days.  That’s my kind of dinner!

 

Slow-Cooker-Hawaiian-BBQ-Chicken-SandwichesHawaiian BBQ Sandwiches

JerkChickenJerk Chicken Sandwiches

beef shwarma in the slow cookerBeef Shwarma

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and Peppers Sub SandwichesItalian Sausage and Pepper Subs

Slow Cooker Pork and Gravy SandwichesPork and Gravy Sandwiches

ChickenBaconRanchChicken Bacon & Ranch Sandwiches

chicken philly sandwiches in the slow cookerChicken Philly Sandwiches

slow cooker beef gyrosBeef Gyros

french dip sandwiches in the slow cooker done

French Dip Sandwiches

african pulled beef sandwich doneAfrican Pulled Beef Sandwiches

pizza steak sandwiches donePizza Steak Sandwiches

bbq chicken sandwiches in slow cooker doneBBQ Chicken Sandwiches

italian beef sandwiches doneItalian Beef Sandwiches

BBQ Peach PorkBBQ Peach Pulled Pork

ChickenCordonBleu2Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches

 

 

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How to Adapt Your Meal Plans for Sports Season

Dinner during sports season

Sports season –  I’m not actually sure that it’s just a season.  I think it’s the norm.  It seems we’re always juggling things for soccer or volley ball.  I know many of you are in the trenches too with various sports.  It’s fun, and there are a lot of benefits for our kids, but there are trade offs too.

Family dinner is often the big loser during sports season.  It gets trampled under a schedule that has enough cleats to punch holes in the best laid dinner plans.

How to handle it?  Here are my top tips to keep the family eating together (at least most of the time) and avoid the drive-thru.

1.  Make a plan for the off nights

Be very intentional about planning meals together when you can get everyone gathered around the table.  And if having everyone there seems impossible (and with various teen schedules, it really is nearly impossible) go for as many family members as you can.

The way this works in our family is that if I’m home around dinner time, I will make dinner.  There may be two of us at the table or five of us.  Sometimes the kids bring a friend too.  I tend to cook for 6-8 people, no matter how many will be eating that night.  Leftovers get eaten up for lunches and late night boy snacks over the next couple of days.

We also aim to have at least one meal a week with all of us – and that includes our daughter and her husband.  This one takes some planning for all of us, but it’s so worth it.

Dinner gets harder on nights when I’m out to drive a child to a game or practice.  But there are strategies for that too:

2.  Use a slow cooker

If you’ll be home at a reasonable time to eat dinner, grab the slow cooker and fill it up early in the day.  Here’s a list I wrote a few years ago that categorizes slow cooker recipes for 5-10 minute prep, cook all day, and minimal sides required.

The key is to choose a recipe that works for your day.  If you’re looking for a big list of slow cooker recipes that can cook all day, check out this one.

22 Slow Cooker Recipes that can cook all day

And since that list is old, I think I need to do an update post for each of those categories with even more recipes.

3.  15 Minute Meal

If you’ll be home in time to eat, plus have 15 minutes to spare ahead of time, try a 15 minute recipe.  You really can get dinner on the table in just 15 minutes.  Here’s a list of 15 minute recipes.  Scroll down on the page to find the recipe links.

15 Minute Meals for Back to School

4.  Pack it

There’s no shame in eating on the sidelines or in your car.  I have a reputation on our kids’ soccer teams of showing up for games with a picnic.  It’s never fancy, but I never regret packing it either.  What I do regret is a run through the fast food place when I haven’t taken the time to pack a meal.  That’s expensive, doesn’t taste great, and not good for us either.

This week we had three soccer games.  I made packable food for all three, although two were so early we didn’t really need to do it.  No worries though.  Having a meal all done like that, meant that other family members at home were able to eat as well.

Here’s what we had this week:

  • Egg salad sandwiches (made with Greek yogurt), carrots and celery sticks
  • Pasta Salad with grilled chicken
  • Hummus Wraps, Green Bean and Tomato Salad (recipe coming soon)

Here’s a post with a few tips and ideas for packable meals that aren’t sandwiches.

P.S. Would you like a menu of easy meals, along with a color-coded grocery list all done for you? One of our Weekly Meal Plan members shared that she saves at least 2 hours each week by using the meal plans.  She also saves a minimum of $60 each week on food!  Find out how you can become a member by clicking here. Find your perfect Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plan here.

 

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – April 20

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Dinner to go

We had three soccer games this week, which threw a wrench in dinner plans.  I’m sharing a post tomorrow about how to alter your meal plans during sports season.

IMG_5799

 

One of our meals was egg salad.  We have plenty of eggs, thanks to Jim’s sister and her husband.  Well – thanks to their chickens, anyway!  I used part mayo and part Greek yogurt to make the egg salad, which turned out great.

2.  Costco

We live just 5 or so minutes from Costco.  The more I shop there, the more I love it.  Their produce is especially nice.  This week I bought oranges, spinach, patty pan squashes, green beans, and grape tomatoes.  The oranges and spinach get used in our morning green smoothies.  The tomatoes are fantastic eaten in a salad or roasted with other veggies.  I haven’t tried the squash yet, but I’m looking forward to roasting them alongside some pork chops.

3.  Orange Carrot Ginger Juice

IMG_5796

 

When Jim gave me the Vitamix for Christmas, I really wondered how much use it would get.  Answer – a lot!  We use it every morning for green smoothies.  And lately, I’ve been making orange, carrot, ginger juice in the afternoon.

A little apple or orange juice, 1 orange, 1 carrot, a piece of fresh ginger and some ice all go in the blender.  It tastes sunny and healthy.  The ginger gives it a little flavor kick that helps ward off the afternoon sleepy feeling.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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Quick and Easy Chipotle Burrito Bowls

Quick and easy Chipotle Style Chicken Burrito Bowls

 

This is one of our new family favorites.  It’s quick to make, can be made ahead of time and customizable to different tastes.

I originally created this for another site that I wrote for.  Since then, I’ve made the process a lot easier.

The main short cut is using rotisserie chicken (or other chicken you’ve cooked).  I keep cooked chicken in the freezer for quick meals like this one.  It cuts the prep time down a lot when you start with cooked chicken vs raw.

This one recipe is a compilation of several:

  • Cilantro Lime Rice
  • Black Beans
  • Corn Salsa
  • Salsa
  • Chipotle Chicken
  • Guacamole

The black beans, corn salsa, chipotle chicken and guacamole come together really quick, but making all of these homemade still takes a while.  If you work quick though, you can finish in about 30 minutes.

However, you’ve got a lot of options here.  You don’t need to make each item homemade.  Here are some ideas for speeding things up:

  • If you’re in a hurry try Minute brown rice instead of long grain.
  • Use store-bought salsa
  • Use store-bought guacamole
  • Skip one or more of the items
  • Use pre-shredded cheese (we like Monterey Jack, but cheddar is good too)

The recipes for Homemade Salsa and Guacamole are already on the site, so I won’t repeat them here.

Let’s start with the Cilantro Lime Rice.

Quick and Easy Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry rice (white or brown)
  • water
  • 2 Tbs. lime juice
  • handful chopped cilantro
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice in water according to the package directions.
  2. Add 2 Tbs. lime juice, cilantro and salt to finished rice.
  3. Serve as first layer in burrito bowls.

Quick and Easy Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 cans black beans, undrained
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ⅛ tsp. allspice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat.
  3. Serve in burrito bowls, tortillas or as side dish.

Quick and Easy Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients
  • 16 oz frozen corn
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ - 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
  • handful chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Place corn in colander and under cool water to thaw.
  2. Pour into bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. Serve with burrito bowls.

Quick and Easy Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2-3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 2 tsp. Chipotle Chili Powder
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in microwave safe bowl.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Heat in microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring and adding time as needed until hot.

P.S. Would you like a menu of easy meals like this one, along with a color-coded grocery list all done for you?  Find your perfect Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plan here. 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches

This was almost the dinner that wasn’t. I had picked up the ingredients with the intention of making chicken Cordon Bleu for dinner – and then realized that I wouldn’t be home in enough time to do the prepping and cooking necessary. Slow cooker to the rescue!

These are obviously less fancy than “real” chicken Cordon Bleu, but the flavor profile is the same and using the slow cooker makes it immensely easier for a busy night – a win-win! We gobbled these sandwiches up.

ChickenCordonBleu2

Here’s what you’ll need:

ChickenCordonBleuSandwiches1

Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ lb. deli ham, diced
  • 8 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 2 tsp. Herbes de Provence (or a mixture of rosemary, thyme and oregano)
  • 11/2 cups honey mustard dressing, divided
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken on the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with ham and spices. Pour 1 cup of the dressing over. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5.
  2. Remove chicken, shred and return to the slow cooker. Stir in shreded cheese and additional dressing. Cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve on rolls.

P.S. One of our Weekly Meal Plan members share that she saves at least 2 hours each week by using the meal plans.  She also saves a minimum of $60 each week on food!  Find out how you can become a member by clicking here.

Kate is a home cook and new mom  from New Jersey. In addition to sharing recipes with Eat at Home readers, she blogs her cooking adventures at Kate’s Recipe Box. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading or tending to her garden.

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