Celebrate the Mexican fiesta of Cinco de Mayo on May 5th with these Mexican dishes:


Mexican Rice


12 ounces diced tomatoes in a can

1 medium white onion

3 medium jalapenos

2 cups long grain white rice

1/3 cup canola oil

4 minced garlic cloves

2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste (may omit if using canned tomatoes)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced

1 lime


Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350.


Process tomatoes and onion in processor or blender until pureed and thoroughly smooth. Transfer mixture to measuring cup and reserve exactly 2 cups. Discard excess.


Remove ribs and seeds from 2 jalapenos and discard. Mince flesh and set aside. Mince remaining jalapeno. Set aside.


Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear- about 1 1/2 minutes. Shake rice vigorously to remove excess water. This step removes the starch from the rice so it will not stick. This makes your rice dry and fluffy.


Heat oil in heavy bottomed oven safe 12 inch straight sided sauté pan or Dutch oven with tight fitting lid over medium high heat about 2 minutes. Drop a few rice grains in and if they sizzle then it is ready. Add rice and fry stirring until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes.


Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and 2 minced jalapenos and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.


Stir in broth, pureed mixture, tomato paste, and salt. Increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Cover pan and transfer pan to oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30-35 minutes. Stir well after 15 minutes.


Stir in cilantro, minced jalapeno to taste, and pass lime wedges separately.



Chicken Chimichangas



1 (16-ounce) jar picante sauce or salsa, divided

 7 cups chopped cooked chicken

 1 small onion, diced

 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

 1 teaspoon salt

 20 (8-inch) flour tortillas

 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

 Toppings: guacamole, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomato


Combine 1 1/2 cups picante sauce and next 5 ingredients in a Dutch oven; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, 25 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates. Spoon 1/3 cup mixture below center of each tortilla; top with 2 tablespoons cheese.

Fold in 2 sides of tortillas to enclose filling. Fold over top and bottom edges of tortillas, making rectangles. Secure with wooden picks. Place, folded side down, on greased baking sheets. Coat chimichangas with cooking spray.


Bake at 425° for 8 minutes; turn and bake 5 more minutes. Remove picks; top with remaining picante sauce and desired toppings.