Cinco de Mayo: The Ultimate Taco Feast

cinco de mayoWe are tired, we are bored, and we have forgotten which day of the week it may or may not be. Not this day though, this day we will NOT bypass. This day we will prepare for, we will celebrate, and we will EAT TACOS! It’s Cinco de Mayo, y’all! Because we all need a little happiness right now, and tacos can provide that. SPOILER ALERT: There’s a margarita recipe in here, and if that doesn’t get you going, then I can link you to my therapist on Talkspace.

My body has waited for this moment ever since I last ate tacos, probably sometime last week. Suddenly, the tune of “Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music starts to play, and I sing: Plates full of tacos, and nachos with salsa; Burritos with rice and fresh avocados. Guac cost extra and don’t skimp on the fresco! Queso and margs with salt on the rim… these are a few of my favorite things!

Now, are you ready for tacos? Yup, me too, always. I’ve got recipes for you to try, and a list of my favorite places around the area doing some killer takeout that you should go out and support. Tell them Allie sent you, and while that won’t get you anything, it may give me some clout to get free queso the next time I go in.

Cinco de Recipes

Chicken Ranch Tacos

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 tbsp. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
½ tbsp. coarse kosher salt
½ tbsp. black pepper
½ tbsp. garlic powder
½ tbsp. onion powder
½ tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
½ teaspoon of chili powder (optional)
Hard or soft-shell tortillas
Extra-virgin olive oil for sautéing
Toppings: Lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, whatever you want. You and Tony Danza are the boss of your topping choices.

Mix your spices together. I’m fancy and use a mortar and pestle to do this, but you can be you and just mix it all up in a bowl. Season your chicken thoroughly, like coat it up. Get in there with that seasoning and show your chicken who is in charge. In a large pan, heat about 2 tbsp. of oil over medium-high heat. When heated, add the chicken until nearly cooked through. Add the ranch dressing and a splash of water to create the sauce. Heat another 2 minutes in sauce, and serve in taco shells with toppings.

Slow Cooker Verde Tacos

12 oz. jar of salsa verde
½ tbsp. of coarse kosher salt
½ tbsp. of black pepper
½ tbsp. of garlic powder
½ tbsp. of onion powder
1 tsp. coriander
Small jar sliced jalapenos (optional)
Hard or soft-shell tortillas
Extra-virgin olive oil for sautéing
Meat options: 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pork shoulder/butt, skirt steak.

If doing chicken: In a Crockpot, place chicken, spices over the chicken, and entire jar of salsa, cover and set on low for 4 hours. If your family likes it spicy, add the jar of jalapenos, juice and all. Keep in mind this will make it about a medium-level spiciness when done. When the meat is done, shred with forks and serve with favorite tortilla and toppings.

If doing pork or beef: In a pan on the stove, heat a tbsp. of olive oil over medium/high heat. Lightly salt and pepper the meat. Then, brown meat on all sides — don’t try to cook through, you just want it lightly seared. It adds the extra flavor you need and want! Then take the meat, put in Crockpot and add spices, and the jar of salsa. If your family likes it spicy, add the jar of jalapenos, juice and all. Keep in mind this will make it about a medium-level spiciness when done. Set on low for 5-6 hours. When the meat is done, shred with forks and serve with favorite tortilla and toppings. See the Avocado Crema below for a great additional option.

Avocado Crema

1 whole ripe avocado
3 stems of fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
½ tsp. of salt and pepper

In a blender or food processor, take your peeled and pitted avocado, cilantro (don’t bother to chop!) lime juice, salt and pepper, and yogurt. Blend until a smooth consistency is acquired. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use on tacos.

Cinco de Margarita

Now it’s time for the moment you have been scrolling for, the booze. I am known around these parts for a killer no-fail margarita. It’s simple and effective. It’s a crowd-pleaser, and it’s not about to add orange juice because honestly, that’s not how it’s done. I added in my optional way to make it a little spicy, because that’s how mama likes it. You can see me make this on my @AllieLuvsFood Instagram account. Serves two margaritas or just one large, and no judgment from me.

Allie LUVS Margaritas

4 oz. of your favorite tequila (I prefer Casamigos Blanco)
2 oz, triple sec liqueur
8 oz. Stirrings Simple Margarita Mix (the brand here matters, this is the best)
Juice of half a lime (cut up the rest for finished drinks)
Sliced fresh jalapeno (optional)
Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Seasoning OR Tanjín Seasoning (optional)

In a shaker, fill 1/4 of the way with ice. Add tequila, triple sec, margarita mix, and lime juice. Shake it like a Polaroid picture. Take your glasses, and rub the lime around th edges and rim with the Chili Lime Seasoning, Tanjín, plain salt, or nothing at all! Add in fresh jalapenos (if making it spicy), and muddle them in. Add fresh ice to each glass and strain the margarita into it. Add fresh lime (or lime dipped in seasoning) and serve. Cheers!

Photo courtesy of @allieluvsfood / Osprey Tacos in St. Augustine, FL.

Cinco de Takeout

Here’s the part where those of you who are so done fixing 932 meals a day, seven days a week, can get behind! Here a few of my favorite local taco shops and restaurants, look online or contact the restaurant directly for specials. Support local — and don’t forget to tip!

Cantina Louie (Atlantic Beach, Fernandina Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Southside, St. Augustine)
Corner Taco (5 Points)
One Night Taco Stand (San Jose Blvd.)
Osprey Tacos (St. Augustine)
TacoLu (Jacksonville Beach)
Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant (Baymeadows)
Well-Oiled Events (catering and delivery)

What are your Cinco de Mayo plans?


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