Just because we can’t leave our homes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fiesta — it’ll just have to be in quarantine. Cinco de Mayo is a holiday to commemorate Mexico’s victory in the Battle of Puebla, and is often recognized across the United States as a celebration of Mexican culture. Even though you can’t spend the day with friends, that shouldn’t stop you from cranking up some mariachi music and getting into the spirit. Here’s how you can celebrate Cinco de Mayo from home.
Before any preparation for the occasion, be sure to get in the spirit by creating your own Cinco de Mayo playlist or finding one online. Next, search some festive and easy DIY decorations on Pinterest to spice up your home. Now you’re ready to get in the kitchen and whip up some delicious Mexican foods. There are a plethora of authentic and Mexican-inspired meals to choose from, but to make life simpler, we chose a few of our favorites below.
Kick off the festivities with this classic appetizer. Not only is it simple, but it’s fun to make! Homemade guacamole is a perfect fit for dipping chips or as a side dish with entrees. Click this link for step-by-step directions on how to achieve this delicious staple.
Straight from Distraction’s food director, Elizabeth Pozzuoli, these fácil and flavorful quesadillas are a must-have at your quarantine fiesta. I mean, who doesn’t love hot and bubbly cheese? These are a true crowd pleaser and only take about 20 minutes to make. They’re so simple that they might even become part of your quarantine snack rotation.
- 1 pack mexican style shredded cheese
- 1 pack cheddar jack shredded cheese
- 4 chicken breasts of baked chicken (see recipe below)
- 10 flour tortillas
- Add caramelized onions for flavor (optional)
Step 1: Cut Chicken into Small Cubes or Shreds.
See recipe below on how to prepare baked chicken.
Step 2: Assemble the Quesadilla.
Put together a handful of chicken, the shredded cheeses, and some caramelized onions in a flour tortilla. Then, fold the stuffed tortilla in half.
Step 3: Heat the Quesadilla.
Coat a grill pan in olive oil and place the quesadilla over medium heat. Wait for the cheese to almost melt before flipping. Then, let it sit for 2 minutes and remove it from the pan.
Step 4: Enjoy!
This baked chicken recipe is the first step in the chicken quesadilla recipe above. This moist and tender chicken makes for a mouthwatering meal, and only takes 35 minutes to prepare. Eat it on its own, add it to your quesadilla or enjoy it with a side of arroz y frijoles. Yum!
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pound to even thickness and brined in saltwater
- 1 tablespoon melted butter or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika (suggestion: smoked paprika gives a more delicious flavor)
Step 1: Preheat the Oven to 450°F.
Step 2: Brine the Chicken.
To brine your chicken breasts, fill a large bowl with 1 quart of warm water and 1/4 cup of kosher salt. Stir to combine until most of the salt is absorbed. Add the chicken breasts and let them sit in the mixture to brine for 15 minutesor cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Remove the chicken breasts from the brine, rinse them with cold water, then pat them dry with paper towels.
Step 3: Season the Chicken.
Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a large baking dish. Brush each breast on both sides (turning once) evenly with the melted butter or olive oil. In a separate small bowl, whisk the salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika until combined. Then, sprinkle the mixture evenly over the chicken on both sides.
Step 4: Bake.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and is no longer pink. The cook time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts, so try to use a cooking thermometer to know when it is fully cooked. (Pro tip: the thickest part of the breast should be 165°F)
Step 5: Rest the Chicken.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove the pan from the oven and transfer the chicken to a clean plate that is loosely tented with aluminum foil. Let the chicken rest for at least 5-10 minutes.
Step 6: Serve.
Serve warm or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to three days. (Fun fact: you can freeze the chicken for up to three months)
Fajitas are a classic and delicioustex-mex dish. They are typically prepared with grilled strips of skirt steak, onions and bell peppers — all served sizzling hot alongside some flour tortillas. You can personalize fajitas to suit your own taste with fillings like chicken, shrimp or veggies. Here’s a great quick-and-easy recipe for steak fajitas.
Why are fish tacos always a staple on our favorites list? It’s as if light and flaky fish was meant to be stuffed between a warm and crispy tortilla. Fish tacos are truly reminiscent of sitting seaside during the summer, so they are a great way to kick off the season! Check out Bon Appetit’s scrumptious recipe.
PRICKLY PEAR MARGARITA
If you’re 21 and over, shake things up by trying this unique cocktail. This recipe uses bright pink prickly pear — a sweet fruit that grows on a cactus. The neon fruit’s flavor is reminiscent of a pear mixed with watermelon. Make this concoction to brighten up your pitcher at home and bring some flare to the traditional margarita. Plus, this is Emeril Lagasse’s recipe, so you know it’ll be delicious!
VIRGIN FROZEN MARGARITA
For our readers under 21, try this non-alcoholic slushy mocktail. This festive recipe is the perfect sidekick to your Cinco de Mayo festivities, and only takes 10 minute to make! Break out your blender and get ready for these frozen treats to be the hit of your socially distant Cinco de Mayo.
words_samantha velez photo_elizabeth pozzuoli illustration_rachel rader