Janet's Notebook
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!

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Carol Martin - Jun 9, 2012
I love mexican food and my family would be so happy to get some new ideas and recipes .
Dee Stillwell - May 9, 2012
and besides that..its the nice thing about making homemade food..we can control what we put in it..salt, fat,sugar and just sub for better ingredients that suit ur diet needs.
BTW, welcome to the newbys..we have alot of fun here and even love getting together in person. We did in FL in Mar and had a blast..Juliann and Sherri were part of the group. Next year, NOLA..here we come! YEA!
Blondie Pussycat - May 9, 2012
@carolyn~good luck with that one. I'm doing good just to remember to write dowm the measurements of ingredients! I guess since I don't have to follow a low sodium diet, I never think about it! You might private message Lynn Socko. She's a great cook on here and she has to follow a strict low sodium diet. Not only that she is a sweetie-pie! :)
Carolyn Purcell - May 7, 2012
I'd like to see the nutritional analysis for each recipe, to see sodium and sugar content. Guessing just doesn't work!
Joeanna Henson - May 6, 2012
I tried the Italian red meat sauce. Very good. Afriend of mine has told me about putting halfnhalf in the sauce. it cuts the acid taste and I like it. I have even used milk. It doesn't take much. Just a few table spoons depending on amount of sauce. Try it.
Sherri Williams - May 6, 2012
All these recipes are awesome. Congrats to you all! Juliann, we love you and your recipes!!! sw☺
Blondie Pussycat - May 5, 2012
@Alma~Welcome to this great site! The more you participate, the more fun you will have on here. Most of the members are friendly and fun! :)
Blondie Pussycat - May 5, 2012
@RobynGrogan~I cook for one most of the time. I put leftovers in the freezer for a day when cooking is out of the question. I love to cook, so the fact that I live alone is not gonna kill the joy I have in the kitchen. You Go Girl! :)
Dee Stillwell - May 5, 2012
That was so nice of ur sweetie...what an awesome birthday present! It sounds like u had a blast. Happy Birthday.
Norma DeRemer - May 4, 2012
Another great Janet's Notebook. I want to take this time to thank everyone for my Birthday Wishes. I just got back from NY City. My sweetheart took me there for my Birthday. I had such a wonderful time in the Big Apple. Saw all the sights, road a buggy in Central Park, saw a Broadway Show, ate so much good food, almost ran into Donald Trump's Son while visiting the tower's. LOL, met up with Spider Man on Time Square. I couldn't have had a better present than this one. Will have lot's of memories for many years. Thanks again girls. (((Hugs))) Norma DeRemer
joanne copeland - May 4, 2012
I'm looking for a recipe for a chocolate syrup that freezes hard when poured over ice cream. Like hershey's shell toopping.The only thing wrong with the store bought,is it tastes waxy. ANYONE??

Richard Preator - May 4, 2012
Hi Eddie, You are so right, my wife was really impressed, she kept saying "This is really good" over and over.
Eddie Jordan - May 4, 2012
Hi Richard, This Mexican Manicotti IS to die for. At worship service we have pot luck every 3rd Sunday and this is what I'm making
Richard Preator - May 4, 2012
I made the Mexican Manicotti for supper last night and it was delicious! My wife loved it and we had it for lunch today too! Thanks for the recipe!
Eddie Jordan - May 2, 2012
Greetings Kitchen Crew, I want to say you do a FANTASTIC job picking the recipes every week. There are so many recipes to go through, I would like to be in your Kitchen JUST to smell the aroma of the food that is being prepared. (GOD BLESS ) you all and have a Blesses day.