Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Luncheon

We had a Cinco de Mayo Luncheon at work today. Overall, the food was pretty good. For my part, I made four items: Chunky Guacamole, Tex-Mex Macaroni & Cheese, Taco-Stuffed Pasta Shells and Baked Crescent Churros.

Chunky Guacamole

  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ of a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados, seeded, peeled, and coarsely mashed
  • Tortilla chips
  1. In a bowl combine tomatoes, red onion, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Gently stir in avacados. Cover the surface with plastic wrap. Chill for up to 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips. Makes 2 cups (sixteen 2-tablespoon servings).

Tex-Mex Macaroni & Cheese

  • 3 cups uncooked gluten-free brown rice penne
  • 1 can (18 oz) Progresso™ Traditional chicken cheese enchilada flavor soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free shredded Mexican cheese blend
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 2-quart casserole with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.
  2. Meanwhile, in 3-quart saucepan, heat soup and milk to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in cheeses until melted. Stir in pasta. Spoon into casserole
  3. Bake uncovered 20 minutes or until edges are bubbly. Refrigerate leftovers.

Taco-Stuffed Pasta Shells

  • 10 oz uncooked jumbo pasta shells, cooked, drained
  • 1 1/2 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 pouch (8 oz) Old El Paso™ roasted tomato Mexican cooking sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (10 oz)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Cook and drain pasta shells as directed on box.
  2. Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked. Add cooking sauce and salt; mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the cheese; stir well.
  3. Using about 1 heaping tablespoon beef mixture in each, fill cooked pasta shells; place in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup tomatoes and chopped cilantro over filled shells. Top evenly with remaining 2 cups cheese.
  4. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Baked Crescent Churros

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated Crescent Dough Sheet
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate into 4 rectangles. Press each to 6x4-inch rectangle, pressing perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut into 4 rectangles. Press each to 6x4-inch rectangle.
  3. Brush tops of 2 rectangles with melted butter; sprinkle with about half of the sugar mixture. Top each with remaining rectangle; press edges lightly. Brush tops with melted butter.
  4. With sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut each rectangle stack lengthwise into 6 strips. Twist each strip 3 times; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Brush tops with any remaining melted butter; sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture.
Generally, I'm not an avocado fan, but the Guacamole turned out much better than I expected. The Tex-Mex Mac & Cheese turned out well, but I think it could've used a little bit more spice. I over-cooked the Taco-Stuffed Shells, but when I warmed them up, I turned them over so that the overly-brown cheese was on the bottom. Last, but not least, I thought that the Baked Crescent Churros were okay. I guess there's no real way to duplicate what I tried out at the San Diego Zoo many moons ago.

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