It’s a confusing, but tasty, spring

Easter was later this year. Now, Mother’s Day seems too early.

We have a family college graduation on May 13 at Colorado State University and we were planning to celebrate Mother’s Day the same weekend. It’s a good thing someone checked the calendar.

Then, I heard that the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Grand Junction will be on May 14. I had thought it would be this weekend.

And the snow Friday night was ... well need I say?

Ahhh, spring!

Last year, we planted tomatoes and flowers on Mother’s Day weekend and ended up frantically covering them up numerous nights.

How many times do I need to be told to wait to plant until the snow-filled neck of the swan on Grand Mesa has broken? So, this year, no planting, just good eating for Mother’s Day with a Cinco de Mayo touch.

Since this mother loves the foods of Cinco de Mayo, I’ll share a couple new recipes that are yummy enough for Mother’s Day.

Orange Picante Chicken

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup Pace picante sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 cup regular long-grain white rice, prepared according to package directions (about 3 cups)

Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides. Remove chicken from skillet.

Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic to skillet; cook, stir 1 minute. Stir picante sauce, orange juice and brown sugar in skillet; heat to a boil. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to low. Cover, cook 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve chicken and sauce with rice.

Dixie hint: For children, use mild picante.

Serve with green salad made with romaine or dark salad greens, fresh mango strips, jicama strips and vinaigrette. 

Mini Tacos

Courtesy Campbell’s Kitchens

24 wonton wrappers
1 pound lean ground beef
1 1.25-ounce package taco seasoning mix
2 tablespoons Pace picante sauce
1/2 cup Pace Chunky Salsa
4 ounces shredded Mexican cheese
Sour cream
Sliced ripe olives

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Press wonton wrappers into 24 (1 1/2-inch) mini muffin-pan cups.

Cook beef over medium-high heat (crumbling) until well browned. Pour off any fat. Stir in taco seasoning mix and picante sauce.

Spoon beef mixture in wonton cups. Top with salsa and cheese.

Bake 5 minutes or until wontons are golden brown and cheese melted.

Garnish with sour cream, olives and extra salsa. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

A repeat of my favorite. The original recipe is at Calstrawberry.com.

1 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel cheese), softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
16 1-pound whole stemmed California strawberries
Crushed graham crackers or chocolate wafer crumbs

Beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel until creamy smooth. Using paring knife or small melon baller, partially hollow out top of strawberries to a depth of 3/4 inch.

Gently fill each with 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture.

The original recipe calls for the berries to be rolled in graham cracker crumbs.

I my version, I we melt chocolate chips and dip the bottom half of strawberries in chocolate. For this version, melt 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels as package directs; stir into one 8-ounce package cream cheese (softened), 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.


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