In honor of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday, SOYJOY challenged me to come up with some fun, exciting recipes to share with friends. BUT…there was a catch. The Joytest was to see if I could come up with some recipes to share that were not only tasty, but also healthy. I’m always up for “healthifying” recipes in any way that I can, whether it be a comforting dinner or a decadent dessert, so this idea was right up my alley.
The challenge was on!
First things first, I had to think about my guests. Since there was only going to be four of us total, I knew that meant that I didn’t need to create a full spread of goodies; a fun drink, a simple appetizer, and a couple dinner selections would do the trick. And after a bit of investigating, I had myself a handful of healthy Cinco de Mayo recipes.
Healthier Beverage Idea – Watermelon Margaritas
I first stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest, which is actually where I get a lot of recipe inspiration. I loved the idea of the watermelon margarita because it used a significantly smaller amount of sugar – much better than buying the overly sweet mixes.
I didn’t make too many alterations to the original recipe because there weren’t very many ingredients to have to play with; another thing I loved about these. The sweetness of the watermelon really stole the show, and paired perfectly with some festive tequila.
Watermelon Margarita Recipe
• 3-1/2 – 4 cups watermelon, cubed and seeded
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1-1/2 tablespoons Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
• 3/4 cup tequila
• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• Extra lime wedges and sugar for rimming the glass
1. Combine watermelon, sugar, Triple Sec, tequila, and lime juice in a blender; process until smooth.
2. Place extra sugar (about 2 teaspoons) in a small saucer. Rub an extra lime wedge around the rim of each glass, then spin rims in sugar to coat.
3. Fill each prepared glass with 1/2 cup crushed ice, add margarita mixture, and garnish with extra lime wedges.
I thoroughly enjoyed my margarita while working on prepping the rest of our Cinco de Mayo dinner.
And while I worked on dinner, I had the rest of my guests snack on my festive appetizers of choice.
Healthier Appetizer Idea – Layered Taco Dip
This dip is really, very easy to make and comes together in no time, especially if you buy some pre-packed ingredients. The recipe also makes quite a large amount, so you can always feel free to cut it in half…or you can just continue to snack on it for a few days after. Totally your call.
Healthier Taco Dip
• 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
• 8 ounces plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
• 1 (15 oz.) can fat-free refried beans
• 1 (1 oz.) packet taco seasoning
• 1/2 jar salsa
• 1-1/2 cups guacamole
• 1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1. Mix cream cheese and Greek yogurt together until smooth; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine refried beans and taco seasoning packet. Spread refried beans onto bottom of an 8x8 pan or serving dish.
2. Layer with cream cheese/yogurt mixture, followed by salsa, guacamole, and cheese. Allow to refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.
Of course, the taco dip and margaritas were huge hits, but I was even more excited for the main event:
Healthier Dinner Idea: Mexican Chicken Bake & Mexican Rice and Beans
One of the great things about casserole dishes when entertaining is that you can prepare them ahead of time rather than have to stand over the stove the entire time. For the quick 15 minutes that the chicken bake cooked, I whipped up the rice and beans, and in no time, we had ourselves a delicious, healthy Cinco de Mayo meal!
Healthier Mexican Chicken Fajita Bake
• 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
• 1 small red onion, sliced
• 1/2 of a red pepper, cut into strips
• 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
• 1/2 tablespoon cumin
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
• 1-1/2 cups shredded cooked white-meat chicken
• 4 6-inch whole wheat tortillas, cut into wedges
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
• 1/4 cup prepared salsa
• 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Sauté onion, pepper strips and jalapeno for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle cumin; stir well. Add tomatoes and simmer, 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer bottom of dish with half of tortilla wedges. Spoon the chicken mixture on top and cover with the other half of tortilla wedges. Spoon 1/4 cup salsa over top, followed by cilantro and cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cut into quarters and enjoy!
Healthy Mexican Rice & Beans
• 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
• 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 2 cups hot cooked brown rice
• 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
• 1 cup frozen sweet corn
• 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed
• 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
In a medium skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté onions and jalapeno peppers until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with cumin, cook 1 minute. Add cooked rice, crushed tomatoes, sweet corn and black beans; simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
So. What’s the verdict on this Joytest?
It gets a solid eight thumbs up…two from me, and two from the rest of my dinner party guests! The food was easy to prepare, insanely delicious, and was healthy to boot, proving that there are definitely ways to enjoy your favorite, festive holidays without overdoing it.
It gives me so much joy to be able to make and share healthy, delicious recipes with my friends…and even better, I found some recipes that I will most definitely be enjoying throughout the year and not just on Cinco de Mayo.