Countdown to Cinco de Mayo: Unexpectedly Mexican

Coctel de Camarones

Pictured Recipe: Coctel de Camarones

Five authentically delicious, decidedly healthy suppers that go beyond the taco combo platter.

Take a look at the calendar—we’re just a few days away from Cinco de Mayo! That means this is a great week to, shall we say, pre-game by counting down to May 5 with five nights of easy Mexican dinners. Sorry to harsh on your margarita-mellow, but fat and calorie levels are sky-high on many Mexican-restaurant foods we love, like those?oversized platters of enchiladas or chimichangas slathered in cheese and sauces. So instead of ordering out, honor some of Mexico’s healthier traditions by making these bright, fresh, authentic recipes for quick dinners at home.

—Wendy Ruopp, Managing Editor

Download a mini cookbook with all the recipes for this healthy weekly dinner meal plan!

Watch: See how to make vegetarian taco salad


Monday: Stovetop Fideos

Pictured Recipe: Stovetop Fideos

Monday: Stovetop Fideos

For a meatless meal, try Stovetop Fideos, a version of a traditional dish that starts with toasted pasta (the fideos), throws in a market-basketful of vegetables and cooks it all together in one pot with a garlicky broth.


Tuesday: Coctel de Camarones

Pictured Recipe: Coctel de Camarones

Tuesday: Coctel de Camarones

Looking for something healthy to fill those big, beautiful margarita glasses? Make a lively and lovely Coctel de Camarones (that’s a Mexican take on shrimp cocktail). It has that “easy yet elegant” thing going on, so it’s great for entertaining too.


Wednesday: Chicken with Quick Mole Sauce

Another traditional Mexican dish is chicken with mole (rhymes with “Olé!”) sauce. Some moles have lengthy ingredient lists and can take hours to make. Chicken with Quick Mole Sauce is ready in 35 minutes and still full of rich, fascinating flavor.


Thursday: Homemade Chorizo Tortas

Pictured Recipe: Homemade Chorizo Tortas

Thursday: Homemade Chorizo Tortas

I like to mix things up and have a hot sandwich for dinner sometimes. A torta is the Mexican version of a panini—a pressed sandwich made with crusty bread that can have an endless array of fillings. For our Homemade Chorizo Tortas, we make our own chorizo-inspired filling by spicing up ground pork or turkey.


Friday: Steak Burritos

Pictured Recipe: Steak Burritos

Friday: Steak Burritos

Here’s a steak burrito you’ll be making more than once—it’s everything you want in a burrito and just about everything you need for dinner tonight. We’ve kept this home-style version a bit simpler to make and a whole lot healthier with brown rice, whole-wheat tortillas and a more reasonable serving size. We recommend wrapping it in foil—the traditional way to serve it—so you can pick the burrito up and eat it without it falling apart, peeling back the foil as you go. Serve with a cold beer and vinegar-dressed slaw.