My mother-in-law is from Mexico City and over the years she has instilled in me a deep love for Mexican food—and saving money. So when May 5 rolls around I spice things up and show my friends from north of the border what Mexican food is really about with these easy Cinco de Mayo dishes. All of my budget-friendly Mexican recipes are fresh, light and tasty (and best of all inexpensive) to work into our party menu. Here are a few winners that will be on our table:
Chilaquiles Casserole: Our version of this enchilada-style chilaquiles casserole is packed with nutritious beans and vegetables. Canned prepared enchilada sauce has great flavor and keeps the prep time quick. It can vary in heat level so find one that suits your taste. If you want to eliminate the heat altogether, try a green enchilada sauce (which is often milder than red) or substitute two 8-ounce cans of plain tomato sauce.
Crispy Turkey Tostadas: Shredded leftover turkey tops homemade tostadas in this Tex-Mex favorite. Making your own tostada shells from fresh corn tortillas is easier than you might think—crisp them up in the oven while you prepare the toppings. Choose either regular petite diced tomatoes or those with added jalapeños, depending on your inclination for spicy food. Serve with black beans, rice and extra salsa or hot sauce on the side.
Easy Fiesta Beans: An easy, tasty way to jazz up canned refried and pinto beans for the perfect side to accompany any Tex-Mex meal. Opt for fat-free refried beans and no-salt-added pinto beans to keep this dish as healthy as possible.
Calabacitas: Enjoy this traditional Southwestern dish of sautéed summer squash, onions and peppers as a side or as a vegetarian filling for tacos.
Salsa Rojo: Here’s a homemade version of the tomato salsa served at taco stands and burrito joints everywhere. Try it with all your favorite Mexican foods—it even works as enchilada sauce.