Can you believe today is the first day of May? I can’t.
I totally can’t.
Perhaps it’s because we have had snow multiple times in the last two weeks. Or because I am still wearing Uggs and a winter coat as part of my regular uniform. Or because just this past Saturday I bundled up with a hat and gloves to go running. (Although in the interest of full disclosure it was an early run and by noon the day had warmed up to 68 degrees – a full 40 degrees warmer than when I set out).
Or perhaps it’s just because this year is flying by. I mean flying by! One month goes quicker than the last. It’s inconceivable to me how quickly time is passing by. My oldest son is almost done with hie first year of high school. And little Kyle is moving on the next school. It’s still considered elementary school for the next two years, but it is in the middle school building.
And when I look at our summer calendar I can readily see that things aren’t about to slow down any time soon. We need to sit down and map out each week before the days disappear into the sunset.
But, I digress . . .
In any case today is May Day.
And, I am extremely grateful that today, at least, actually feels like spring. Our Cleveland Pear trees are beginning to bloom, the daffodils are dancing in the light breeze, the trees are starting to bud, the sun is shining and the grass is green, very green, almost neon green – thanks to the very wet April we endured.
So today I thought I would share with you a recipe that is perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations. This weekend is one of my favorite combinations of the spring – Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby on the same day. We often have a little get together to celebrate one or the other of these early spring events – and when they both fall on the same day, well that’s just magical.
Let me be clear, no-one in my family is actually into horse racing. I’ve been to a race track exactly twice in my life and other than the Triple Crown I never watch a race on t.v. I know nothing about the horses and would never place a monetary bet. But we all do pick a horse to root for in the race – we put numbers in a hat (sadly not a Derby worthy hat) and pick our horse randomly. It’s so much more fun to have some skin in the game during the race.
My grandfather, nicknamed Great Charlie by Kevin when he was just a baby, was big into the horses and he lived for the Derby. So taking a moment to pause and enjoy this tradition is a lovely way to remember him each year. Plus, there’s just something about the regality, and absurdity, of prancing around a dirty racetrack in designer duds that makes me smile. And of course, despite the fact that I was not born, raised or otherwise attached to Kentucky, “My Old Kentucky Home” never fails to bring a tear to my eye. Actually attending the Kentucky Derby is on my bucket list.
In the past we have experimented with mint juleps. This one time in law school (lol) we went to a local bar in search of the “perfect” mint julep. We must have made the bar tender mix up at least 8 batches of mint juleps trying different ratios and liquor choices, but we never did find one that was drinkable. The poor guy – I am sure he didn’t have many requests for mint juleps in a college bar in Cleveland. And to be fair, none of us had never had a mint julep before, so we didn’t even know what it was supposed to taste like. I have since had a mint julep that was most definitely drinkable. Enjoyable even. But, secretly, I love when Cinco de Mayo and the Derby coincide because then I can trade the juleps for margaritas without raising any eyebrows. If you are looking for a delicious margarita recipe be sure to check out this post.
Today’s recipe is the perfect easy recipe to accompany those margaritas: Quinoa “Enchiladas”. I put “enchiladas” in quotes because there is no flour tortilla to wrap up this dish. Rather it is a bowl of Mexican-spiced quinoa, drizzled with enchilada sauce and all the Mexican toppings you could ask for. It’s super easy to make, protein-packed, perfectly customizable, and absolutely delicious!
I begin by rinsing my quinoa under cold water and then transferring it to a large sauce pan with 4 cups of chicken broth. I add some salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, I reduce the heat to low and allot it to cook for about 15 minutes more until most of the water is absorbed.
Then I transfer the quinoa to a large casserole dish sprayed with oil and stir in 2 cups of black beans, drained and rinsed, 2 cups of enchilada sauce, 1 cup of salsa and 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Then I portion the quinoa enchiladas into individual bowls and allow everyone to top with their desired toppings, which usually include additional cheese, tomatoes and avocado, corn, green onions, onions, sour cream, guacamole, and a squeeze of lime juice – or just about anything else your heart desires.
Just a quick note about the enchilada sauce – you can definitely use store bought in a pinch, but homemade enchilada sauces is super easy and super worth it. You can even start cooking your sauce at the same time as your quinoa and it will be ready to go, although allowing it to simmer a bit longer does allow it to thicken up nicely.
How are you going to the celebrate the Cinco de Mayo this year?