Cook Up A Fiesta With Delicious Mexican-Inspired Recipes
By Janet Tharpe

Cook Up A Fiesta With Delicious Mexican-Inspired Recipes
Cheesy Mexican Manicotti

Who's ready for a fiesta?! Cinco de Mayo may have the country especially excited about polishing up their maracas and squeezing limes, but I'm here to tell you that a quick and easy Mexican dinner can be delicious year-round! Why limit yourself to just one night a year?

Laura Yoder has pieced together a few of her favorite ingredients and turned it into her go-to Mexican meal: Mexican Manicotti My Way! Stuffing the delicious flavors of Mexico into prepared manicotti shells makes for a simple any-time meal. "I was undecided on what to fix for supper," says Laura. "I was teetering between Mexican and Italian so I decided to experiment and this is what I came up with. I must say....I did good!"

Our Honorary Kitchen Crew gal Debbie Wright prepared Laura's Mexican Manicotti in her own kitchen and had raves about the dish and Laura alike! "Oh my goodness, this dish is fabulous! Laura was right when she said she did good!" exclaims Debbie. "The meat and bean mixture inside the pasta is perfect, and the creamy cheese and sour cream is the ideal touch on top. I served this with corn, but as an afterthought thought Spanish rice would also be great with this. It smells great, looks great and makes a lot, too - perfect for a large get-together!"

Another economic fiesta-flavored fave comes from Stefen Thompson who turned his family's traditional taco night into inspiration for a sensational (and easy!) Chicken Tortilla Soup. "Every Tuesday night is taco night at my house," says Stefen. "[We were] getting tired of tacos, so I came up with this soup! Putting together my favorite tortilla soup [recipe] and my own... Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!" Not only is the soup delightfully creamy and rich, it's also a snap to throw together. Stefen smartly starts with prepared can soups, then adds tons of fresh ingredients and aromatic seasoning. This one is meal-worthy all on its own, or serve it up in a small bowl as a savory first course.

Naturally, every great Mexican meal needs great authentic salsa! Thanks to Juliann Esquivel, we'll never be at a loss for it again. "This salsa dates back to my great grandmother's time," says Juliann of her Mexican Red Table Salsa. "This sauce has been passed down for generations. It is timeless and delicious. It's always been on my table next to the salt and pepper."

Now for dessert, try Edie Ogborn's creative, sweet take on tacos! "I came up with this recipe 21-years ago," says Edie of her Chocolate Tacos, a dish that fast became a favorite with her daughter. "My recipe is quite different, and my family loves it for a special day... At our restaurant it was a dessert people loved to get for a newbie knowing it was a special dish they had never had." Well, I tell you, I sure felt special when I got to sit down with a plate full of these frilly, whipped cream topped treats for the first time! With a sugary cream cheese filling and a chocolate-coated taco shell, Edie's dessert tacos combine the best of savory and sweet. Kids of all ages are destined to fall in love with these darlings.

There you have it, a homemade fiesta fit for families of all shapes and sizes! Simple recipes like this make fun meals a snap, so be prepared: a party may break out on a moment's notice! (I keep a spare set of maracas in my handbag at all times, just in case.) Ole!

  • Comments

  • 1-5 of 25
  • user
    Melissa Sperka MelissasSouthernStyleKitchen - May 1, 2012
    Janet, you are so witty! :) Great!
  • user
    Jane McMillan-Whittaker janenov46 - May 1, 2012
    She sure is.
    Congrats everyone for being on Janet's notebook this wee.
    Special hugs to my friend julie, who I can tell you, the girl can cook.
    I had the pleasure of tasting some of her cooking first hand during our JAP get together in March. Her team with Connie Ottman blew the judges away with her mango papaya dessert.
  • user
    Polly Anna Polly - May 1, 2012
    Just for you...

    View photo
  • user
    Jane McMillan-Whittaker janenov46 - May 1, 2012
    ♫♫ strains of the Mexican Hat Dance playing ♫♫
  • user
    Deb Edwards debs22 - May 1, 2012
    Thankyou Janet for this page. I've recently logged onto the website and I love it. I love the interactivity of it, like we're all one big family. And oh my how I love love love to cook. Problem is, I have no one for whom to cook right now but that's okay. I'll be sharpening my skills.