MY TOP CINCO DE MAYO RECIPES

Happy Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May... today celebrates the American holiday commemorating the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. That's right- it is primarily an American tradition and one we celebrate with mucho gusto...  the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world happens in Los Angeles, in fact.

If you're celebrating at home, here are a few of my favorite recipes, just right for Cinco de Mayo or anytime you want a little South of the Border flavor. Make sure to scroll all the way down for my Taco Bar and Margarita Bar how-to!

TOP CINCO DE MAYO RECIPES

Slow Roasted Chipotle Pork is so easy and so good, it will become your favorite go-to when you want to entertain. Photo: Arden Photography Plating by Earthborn Pottery.

Slow Roasted Chipotle Pork is so easy and so good, it will become your favorite go-to when you want to entertain. Photo: Arden Photography Plating by Earthborn Pottery.

SLOW ROASTED CHIPOTLE PORK: This dish is very similar to a Mexican favorite called Carnitas. I simply roast the pork until it falls apart to use for tacos or sandwiches.  Get the recipe...

My recipe for Traditional Margaritas or Pomegranate Margaritas includes a large quantity version for big batch cocktails.

My recipe for Traditional Margaritas or Pomegranate Margaritas includes a large quantity version for big batch cocktails.

TRADITIONAL MARGARITAS: If you've never had a homemade margarita, try my recipe. It is so much better than any mix you might find and far fewer calories, too! Get the recipe...

POMEGRANATE MARGARITAS: Are so much better than a traditional margarita to me... but oh-so dangerous because they go down way too easy. Get the recipe...

My Pineapple Tomato Salsa is really one of my favorite recipes: put it on grilled fish, braised pork or chicken. Soooo good! Photo: Arden Photography Plating: Earthborn Pottery

My Pineapple Tomato Salsa is really one of my favorite recipes: put it on grilled fish, braised pork or chicken. Soooo good! Photo: Arden Photography Plating: Earthborn Pottery

PINEAPPLE TOMATO SALSA: I could eat this on just about anything! It is the perfect companion for spicy grilled fish or slow cooked chipotle pork. Get the recipe...

This salsa recipe will become your favorite for fast and easy summer entertaining. Add a cold beer and something off the grill and you're done.

This salsa recipe will become your favorite for fast and easy summer entertaining. Add a cold beer and something off the grill and you're done.

SPEEDY FOOD PROCESSOR SALSA: A few staples and pantry ingredients along with a food processor and you've got a quick and delicious salsa in a matter of moments. Get the recipe...

Creamy Guacamole

CREAMY GUACAMOLE: Guacamole is always a welcome addition to a party- Cinco de Mayo or any other day. This one is very creamy- made with the addition of cream cheese. Leave it out and this recipe is still fantastic but with the cream cheese, it's richer and creamier. Get the recipe... 

Want some Cinco de Mayo party ideas? Try one of these!

MAKE A TACO BAR: One of the easiest ways to entertain is to let folks make their own favorite taco. Set up the counter with some options for fillings and let them go!

Set up a taco bar at home with lots of toppings and condiments. It is one of the easiest entertaining solutions ever- and delicious, too!

Set up a taco bar at home with lots of toppings and condiments. It is one of the easiest entertaining solutions ever- and delicious, too!

Easy and fun: make a Margarita station with fresh fruit and a rimming station.

Easy and fun: make a Margarita station with fresh fruit and a rimming station.

HAPPY HOUR AT HOME WITH FRESH FRUIT MARGARITAS: Get the how to... fresh fruit allows guests to mix and match to make their own favorite. Rims include salt, salt and chipotle, sugar, and my favorite, a salt and sugar combo.

EASY ENTERTAINING: HOW TO SET UP A TACO BAR

One of my favorite ways to entertain is to set up a D-I-Y station or interactive bar and one of my favorites is a DIY Taco Bar. You can dress it down or make it more upscale- that all depends on your budget and your crowd. 

A taco bar is one of the easiest ways to serve your party guests! (Photo by Arden Photography)

A taco bar is one of the easiest ways to serve your party guests! (Photo by Arden Photography)

THE MENU

The centerpiece of my DIY taco bar is always my Slow Roasted Chipotle Pork recipe and/or, based on my budget, my Tequila Lime Tuna. They are both so good- inside a taco or on their own. Add a couple of salsas... I always have one mild, one spicy, and one spicy-sweet like my Pineapple Tomato Salsa for the perfect fresh toppings.

When building a taco bar, it is important to consider the flavor of everything you offer;  the flavors need to work well together. Your guests will love this easy to make, easy to serve menu and you can have fun at your own party!

My Slow-Roasted Chipotle Pork is always on my taco bar. Simply shred it using two forks and dress with a squeeze of lime, and a pinch of cilantro. Add a fresh salsa or slaw. (Photo by Arden Photography)

My Slow-Roasted Chipotle Pork is always on my taco bar. Simply shred it using two forks and dress with a squeeze of lime, and a pinch of cilantro. Add a fresh salsa or slaw. (Photo by Arden Photography)

If you have the budget for it, my Tequila Lime Tuna makes incredible tacos! (Photo by Arden Photography)

If you have the budget for it, my Tequila Lime Tuna makes incredible tacos! (Photo by Arden Photography)

Other options for your tacos are hamburger, chicken, shrimp, or steak. Provide two or three options so guests have a choice. Keep the meat warm in a warmer, slow cooker, or on the stove.

host a taco party taco bar set up
how to set up a taco bar for a party

SET UP

Start with a big basket of chips. Use two kinds if you can find them; I used corn and blue corn. Add sliced limes, cilantro, salsas, a hot Queso dip, creamy guacamole, pico de gallo, sliced jalapenos, lettuce, and cheese for the condiments. I like to warm the tortillas in a damp kitchen towel in the microwave. Or put them into the oven; wrap in foil with a damp paper towel inside to steam them slightly. I prefer corn tortillas. If your store doesn't have them, inquire at your favorite Mexican restaurant. (I always pick up tortilla chips from my favorite Mexican restaurant. Serve them warm and hit them with a pinch of salt... soooo much better than store bought chips!)

For a big crowd, there is no shame in using paper plates and napkins for serving to make clean up easy.  I like the square, white Chinet plates you can find at the grocery store. They are made in the USA from recycled material and are biodegradable for home composting. I LOVE that. Caspari makes pretty plates and napkins in all sorts of patterns and themes. Find at higher end gift or specialty stores.. The folks at SustyParty.com (they were on Shark Tank) make hip and environmentally friendly paper products that you can now find at Target. You can find a million different options of inexpensive paper products at the party store.

Pineapple tomato jalapeno salsa recipe Martie Duncan

Get my Pineapple Tomato Salsa recipe... And thank you to my great and oh-so-talented friend, Tena Payne of Earthborn Pottery for the beautiful bowl and serving pieces.

DRINKS AND COCKTAILS

You can have a taco party without margaritas... but why would you?

Pre-mix drinks ahead and put them in a dispenser or pitcher so guests can help themselves. No bartending duties. Offer options for non-drinkers and designated drivers, too. I love pomegranate juice on ice topped with club soda for fizz. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Here are my two favorite margarita recipes: CLASSIC MARGARITA RECIPE and POMEGRANATE MARGARITA RECIPE.  

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RECIPE: PINEAPPLE TOMATO SALSA

I love the sweet spiciness of this salsa... pineapple, tomato, and a onion and jalapeno for heat. I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to jalapenos. I always add 1/2 of the recommended amount. Taste. Then add more if I want to. You can't take it out if it is tooo hot! Sometimes, I make the recipe with half the jalapenos then split it into two bowls. I add the remaining jalapeno to one of the bowls and label that one HOT for my guests who like a lot of heat.

Pineapple Tomato Salsa is great on fish, grilled meat, pork, or even on its own. I always serve it with my  Slow-Roasted Chipotle Pork  or Tequila Lime Tuna recipe. (Photo by Arden Photography and bowl by Earthborn Pottery)

Pineapple Tomato Salsa is great on fish, grilled meat, pork, or even on its own. I always serve it with my Slow-Roasted Chipotle Pork or Tequila Lime Tuna recipe. (Photo by Arden Photography and bowl by Earthborn Pottery)

PINEAPPLE TOMATO SALSA

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 20 minutes    Cook Time: no cook recipe 

INGREDIENTS

3 cups fresh pineapple, diced very small

1 large ripe red tomato, seeded and diced very small          

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

¼ cup lime juice                       

½ cup red onion, diced very small

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced very small

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients and chill. Taste and add more jalapeno pepper if you like a spicy hot salsa. This has medium heat. Perfect condiment with fish, pork, and chicken. Let this sit out about 15 minutes before serving time.

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