Recipes for Auntie

There should be no reason not to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, stay-at-home order or not. It’s very easy to create a fantastic Mexican spread for your family at home. To top it off, it’s a fun way to get your family involved in helping create a memorable meal together.

I’ve selected a few family-friendly recipes (don’t be overly scared of the peppers), but I highly encourage you to look up some more to really make it a Cinco de Mayo to remember! When my kids were younger, I’d even decorate the dining room and give them sombreros to wear. We learned a lot about Mexican culture together along the way, making it a fun, family-friendly experience.

The ingredients are fairly easy to locate in most grocery stores, but you’ll have to search a little to find the corn husks and masa harina (please use it!) for the tamales…but it’s well worth it. Don’t be afraid of the recipe: it’s really not that hard. It is time consuming, but this is where the whole family helping becomes time well-spent together.

Recipes wanted! Submitted recipes will be accepted at recipesforauntie@gmail.com, or you can stop by the Albion office and drop a copy off up front. If you don’t have a recipe to submit right now, but there is a recipe you’re desperately seeking, feel free to email or drop off a note for a “Recipe Request.” I’m still requesting recipes for your favorite apple pie recipes!

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Glazed “Mexican” Chicken Wings

Ingredients:

1 TBSP canola or vegetable oil

2-1/2-lb chicken wings, cut apart at joints, wing tips discarded

2 medium green onions, thinly sliced including tops (about 2 TBSP)

1tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2, 12oz cans lemon-lime carbonated beverage

1, 4.5oz can chopped green chiles, drained

1 package (1oz) taco seasoning mix

10 lettuce leaves, if desired

Directions:

In a 12-in. nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken wings and onions; sprinkle with pepper flakes. Cook uncovered 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned; drain.

Stir in carbonated beverage, green chiles and taco seasoning mix. Increase heat to high; cook uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until chicken wings are completely glazed, small amount of glaze remains in skillet and juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut to bone (180 degrees).

To serve, line serving plate with lettuce; arrange chicken wings over lettuce. Serve immediately.

***Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury Kitchens.***

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Mexican Brownies

Ingredients:

1 box your favorite brownie mix, or make homemade brownies

3/4 tsp ground chipotle chile pepper

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

Prepare your favorite boxed or homemade brownies, adding 3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the batter (for a batch that fits a 9x13-in. pan). Top each Mexican brownie with a scoop of dulce de leche (or vanilla) ice cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

***Recipe courtesy of the Food Network Kitchen.***

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Tamales

Ingredients:

Dried corn husks (Mexican or produce section or Amazon.com),

1 package dried corn husks

6C masa harina (near the flour and corm meal)

2 tsp Kosher salt

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp baking powder

6C chicken or vegetable stock

3/4C corn oil (or avocado oil, olive oil, or any mild-flavored oil)

2–3C filling, any combination of: any cooked, shredded chicken, beef or pork; any cooked ground meat; refried or black beans; cooked/roasted vegetables; cheese

1C salsa or sauce, such as red or green salsa, enchilada sauce, taco sauce or mole sauce.

Toppings, such as salsa, cheese (try cotija), sour cream, avocado, cilantro

Directions:

Soak your corn husks. Find a large stockpot or pan big enough to fit the corn husks, then fill it with very warm water and a lid. The corn husks will float to the top, so you may need to add something to weigh them down a bit so that they are submerged. They will need to soak for about 30 minutes, or until softened.

Meanwhile, mix up your masa (dough). You can either do this in a stand mixer (the easiest) or with a hand mixer (a bit more messy) or by hand (lots of work). In a bowl, add masa harina, salt and baking powder and whisk to combine. Add the oil, then beat on low speed until combined. Then gradually add the stock, and beat on low speed until combined. Once the stock is incorporated, increase speed to medium, and beat for 10 minutes until fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed. Cover the mixing bowl with a damp paper towel and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare both your fillings and salsa, then toss them together in a bowl until combined. In general, you want enough sauce to coat and flavor the filling, but not so much that the filling is really juicy/watery.

Then…assemble the tamales! As I said, this is the part that will take a little while. But I find it totally relaxing and repetitive. So prepare an assembly line of your ingredients, and get in your groove. Simple:

Lay the soaked corn husk on a flat surface. A simple plate or cutting board will do. Spread your masa on the corn husk; about 1/4C (or a little more) will do. I highly recommend using a large cookie scoop to measure out the masa. Use a spoon or your fingers to spread it out into a rectangle large enough to enclose your filling; keep a little bowl of water nearby to dip fingers regularly, which will help the masa from sticking to them (game-changer). Tamales use surprisingly little filling-just a tablespoon or two will do. Add it to the center of your masa. Fold the corn husk in half vertically. Then very carefully, fold the corn husk in half so that the masa wraps completely around the filling, maybe using your fingers to pinch it together just a little bit. Google will provide you lots of pictures if you need to reference them.

Wrap the corn husk into a little burrito. Continue folding the corn husk completely over to one side so that it is a burrito/cylinder shape. Fold the top (skinny) end down to enclose one end of the tamale. One end of the tamale will be exposed/open, and the other will be folded over.

Tie the tamale together; I like to shred a few corn husks into long skinny strips to tie the tamales together (this is a perfect use for the husks that are too skinny!). But you can also use baking string.

Then…STEAM! To make the tamales on the stovetop, you will need a large stockpot with a strainer. I used a strainer pot that came with my stockpot. But you can also purchase various kinds of strainer baskets separately. Then simply add the tamales (exposed/open side up) to the strainer, add 2 cups of water to the base of the pot, cover and steam on medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, or until the masa separates easily from the husks. If you want to use your pressure cooker, simply add 1C of water to the bottom of your pressure cooker, insert the strainer basket, add the tamales, cover and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes (using quick release afterwards) until the masa separates easily from the husks.

Once your tamales are all cooked and ready to go, please, please, please stop right there and serve a batch fresh out of the steamer! There is nothing like the warmth, texture, and flavor of freshly cooked tamales. Just carefully unwrap your tamale (you will not eat the corn husk), top the tamale with your favorite toppings and dig in!

Or, refrigerate in a tightly-sealed ziplock bag for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Note 1: For the filling, you could use taco meat, barbacoa beef, carnitas, leftover pulled pork…any leftover meat, vegetables, cheese, whatever you want. Experiment!

Note 2: Recipe adapted from Jesus Bojorquez’s on mexgrocer.com

***Recipe courtesy of Ali, of ‘Gimme Some Oven’ blog.***

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Cinco de Mayo Slushies

Ingredients:

4 Capri-Sun kids juice drinks, frozen

red and green coloring

Cool Whip

Directions:

In a blender put 2 frozen Capri-Sun and 1-2 drops of green food coloring; mix well until liquid is green.

Pour into 4 cups dividing equally.

Spread 1 TBSP of Cool Whip over green slush and place in freezer.

Rinse out blender and add the remaining Capri-Sun's and 3-4 drops of red food coloring; mix well until liquid is red.

Pull out cups from freezer and pour red slush on top.

Place in freezer until ready to serve.

Before serving put a dollop of cool whip on top if desired.

Note from Auntie: You could probably use any uncolored juices instead of the Capri-Sun.

***Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Ertel for stockpilingmoms.com blog***