Cinco de Mayo (plus one)

We are having an old friend of mine and her family over for dinner tonight.  We decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo a day late and go with a Mexican theme.  Here is the menu:

Shrimp Ceviche

Chicken and Steak Fajitas with grilled vegetables, sour cream, salsa and guacamole; Spanish rice and refried beans

Kahlua Brownies

We’ll serve the entree buffet style so everyone will have their choice of chicken or steak, veggies and toppings and sides.  (My husband loves refried beans but I am not a fan.)  Here are the recipes:

Shrimp Ceviche

  •  1 1/2 lbs of shrimp, peeled and deveined and chopped into 5 pieces each
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 TB orange juice
  • 1 large garlic clove pressed
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 yellow pepper, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 TB minced red onion
  • 1 mango, peeled and finely chopped
Put shrimp in a large bowl with juices and garlic.  Add olive oil, peppers, cilantro and onion and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Add mango and refrigerate.  Serve with tortilla chips and plenty of napkins!

Chicken Fajitas

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 per person or extra if you want leftovers)
  • 6 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Pour over chicken and marinate overnight.  Grill until done 10 – 15 minutes.

Steak Fajitas

  • 1 flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients (except steak) and whisk together.  Pour over steak and marinate (at least 4 hours but up to overnight).
Fajita vegetables
  • 2 red peppers, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow onion, thick slices
  • Pam cooking spray
Spray vegetables with Pam.  Grill in a basket 15 – 10 minutes.
Fajita Accessories
  • Tortilla shells (1 -2 per person depending upon appetite)
  • sour cream (I use lowfat)
  • salsa
  • guacamole (optional – either store bought or see recipe below)
  • refried beans (optional)
Heat tortilla shells.  Distribute chicken, peppers and onions in shells and roll up.  Top with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.  Serve with refried beans as a side if desired.  (Also good with rice.)


  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Spanish Rice

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • pinch saffron

Heat oil.  Stir in onion and garlic and wilt.  Add rice and cook uncovered over medium heat until rice is translucent.  Add seasonings and broth.  Bake at 300 for 30 minutes covered.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add peppers and tomatoes.  Can be made ahead.

Kahlua Brownies

These are the same brownies that I usually make with a little Kahlua added in.

  • 2 squares Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TB Kahlua

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt chocolate, butter and sugar over low heat.  Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.  Stir in flour, eggs and vanilla.  Transfer to a  baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 22 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit in pan for at least an hour before cutting.  Here they are cooling: