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Family Meals Matter: Cinco de Mayo

Staff Report • May 5, 2014 at 1:09 PM



Not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day in September, Cinco de Mayo (May 5) actually commemorates the Battle of Puebla. Observed primarily in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

Since food is an integral component of heritage and culture, we're celebrating with family meal recipes inspired by the flavors and traditions of our neighbors to the south. Focus on traditional ingredients and preparation methods, and your whole family will enjoy healthy and balanced traditional Mexican meals. If you want to learn more about various Mexican food traditions, and the traditions of other cultures, check out A Celebration of Culture, a food guide for educators.

Start your celebration with a featured family meal of Mini Chile Relleno Casseroles, Tangy Jalapeno Chicken and Strawberries with Cream. Other dishes to disfrutar (enjoy) this week include Corn con Carne, Quick Spanish Rice, Cheese Enchiladas with Easy Mole Sauce and Flan with Fruit.




Total preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Actual cooking time: 15 to 30 minutes

Number of servings: 4 (215 calories/serving)


2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles, drained and patted dry

3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed and patted dry

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

6 large egg whites

4 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat eight 6-ounce or four 10-ounce heatproof ramekins with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.

2. Equally divide green chiles, corn and scallions among the ramekins. Top each with cheese. Whisk milk, egg whites, eggs and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the ramekins.

3. Bake the mini casseroles until the tops begin to brown and the eggs are set, about 25 minutes for 6-ounce ramekins and about 35 minutes for 10-ounce ramekins.

Cook's notes: Heatproof ramekins are a cook's best friend — we use them all the time to hold ingredients while cooking. You can buy them at most grocery stores.

Rinse the canned chiles in water and omit the added salt to reduce the sodium in these casseroles.

(Source: EatingWell)




Total preparation time: 1 1/2 hours

Actual cooking time: less than 15 minutes

Number of servings: 6 (115 calories/serving)


1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast

1/4 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 fresh jalapeno, sliced


1. Make the marinade. Mix lime juice, oil, vinegar, cumin and salt in a small bowl. Stir in jalapeno.

2. Place chicken in a dish. Pour marinade over chicken, covering all sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning once. More flavor if left overnight.

3. Grill or pan fry chicken until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side.

4. Once cooled a bit, thinly slice crosswise and serve.

5. Can serve chicken warm or cool.

(Source: Monica Montes for Dairy Council of California)




Total preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Actual cooking time: no cooking required

Number of servings: 6 (108 calories/serving)


3 cups fresh sliced strawberries

1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup (4 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup powdered sugar

6 tablespoons fat-free whipped topping

1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar (a pinch)


1. Slice the strawberries and place in individual cups.

2. Blend in bowl the yogurt, condensed milk, powder sugar. Whip to mix well. You want a creamy (not whipped) consistency.

3. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar on each strawberry dish (1/8 tsp).

4. Pour evenly over 6 strawberries dishes as a topping.

5. Add non-fat whip cream to top of each dish.

6. Serve cold and fresh for best result.

(Source: Monica Montes for Dairy Council of California)


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