Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is a day celebrated in both the U.S. and in Mexico. In the U.S. it originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War and it has since spread. In Mexico the day commemorates the Mexican army's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Celebrations in the U.S.typically include Mexican-American culture, food, music and dancing.
Americans have been celebrating Cinco de Mayo practically since the battle ended in the West. It was largely unknown in most parts of the U.S. until the 1960s, when Mexican-American activists started raising its profile. It's become a way to celebrate pride in the community.
Among the best and most visited Cinco de Mayo festivals in the United States are held in Chicago (where the party in Douglas Park attracts 200,000), Denver (400,000 over two days), Portland, Oregon (the Waterfront Park festival attracts 300,000), and St. Paul, Minnesota. St. Paul, Minnesota? Yes, indeed. The city includes a neighborhood known as the District del Sol, an area in the Minnesota capital's west side that started attracting Mexican immigrants in the early 20th century. The Latino population now numbers more than 25,000- close to 10% of the city, according to St. Paul Historical and the Cinco de Mayo festival runs two days.
Ground Beef Enchilada Casserole
Cook's notes: I got a jump start on Cinco de Mayo celebration at a recent Kentucky Derby party with this recipe. The dish was a real winner in my book. It was easy to put together and can be made early in the day. A no-fuss meal even kids will like. You can kick up the flavor of the dish depending on "heat" of salsa and enchilada sauce used.
- 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef cooked, drained and crumbled
- 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
- 1 cup sweet onions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1-1/2 cups frozen steam fresh corn
- 1 can (28 oz.) enchilada sauce (mild or to your taste)
- 1/2 cup chunky salsa
- 1 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
- 1 box Spanish Rice with seasonings
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 14-6 inch corn tortillas
- 4 cups Mexican Blend Cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup green onions, diced
- optional- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 cups diced grape tomatoes
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- In a deep dish skillet brown hamburger with salt and pepper, onions and garlic.
- Drain meat juices and wipe skillet clean.
- Add meat back into skillet with onions and garlic. Add in black beans, corn, enchilada sauce, salsa, broth, Spanish rice (with seasonings in box) and sugar. Mix well and cook covered 20 minutes or until rice is done. Stir a few times.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut 14 corn tortillas in half. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 pan. Arrange 14 halves in bottom of pan.
- Pour half the ground beef mixture over the tortillas halves. Sprinkle evenly over the pan 2 cups of cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortillas halves, ground beef mixture and rest cheese. Sprinkle with diced green onions.
- Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook 5 minutes longer. Let set 8 minutes.
- To serve sprinkle with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.