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Healthy and Cheap: Celebrate Cinco De Mayo!

This blog post was submitted by Kina Charles, MS, RDN, LDN, Second Harvest’s Nutrition Services Manager. Kina and her team provide recipes, cooking demonstrations, cooking classes and grocery store tours and a wealth of great information to our partners and to low income communities across Northwest North Carolina. Learn more about Second Harvest’s Nutrition Services here.

************************************************************************************************************ Cinco de Mayo is coming! Here are some yummy recipes to help you celebrate this occasion, starting with a simple Mexican salad and soup. There’s even a recipe to make your own corn or flour tortillas!

Hearty Mexican Soup

Ingredients 1 onion (small, chopped) 4 cloves garlic (minced) 1 can tomatoes, diced (12-oz can, low sodium, drained and rinsed) 2 cans black beans (15-oz can, low sodium, drained and rinsed) 2 potatoes (large, peeled and diced) 4 cups water 1/2 cup cilantro (fresh, chopped) 1/2 lime (squeezed) 1 pinch cumin powder

Directions 1. In a large pot cook onion, garlic and tomatoes on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Stir often. 2. Add beans, potatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low-medium heat. Cover and continue to cook slowly for 20 minutes. 3. Add cilantro, cumin and lime. Stir and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. 4. Serve warm; sprinkle cilantro on top. Chili powder and lime juice are the secret ingredients in this cucumber and orange salad. Makes 4 servings.

Simple Mexican Soup

Ingredients 2 cucumbers 2 oranges 1 lemon or lime (the juice) 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions 1. Wash the cucumbers, oranges and lemon or lime under cold running water. 2. Slice the cucumbers. Peel and cut the oranges into small pieces. 3. Place cucumber slices and orange pieces in a medium size bowl. Add chili powder, lemon or lime juice and salt.

Corn Tortillas

Once you’ve enjoyed a warm, homemade corn tortilla, you might never go back to buying them in a bag! Look for masa harina in the baking or ethnic food aisle of your favorite grocery store. Makes 12 servings.

Ingredients 2 cups masa harina (instant) 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature) 1 1/2 cups water (warm)

Directions 1. Measure the masa harina and salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and work it into the dry ingredients using the back of a wooden spoon. Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon or with your hands until a soft dough forms. Cover the dough with a clean cloth and let rest for 5 minutes. 2. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. 3. To keep the dough from sticking to the tortilla press, put a piece of plastic wrap (or a plastic bag) on the bottom surface of the press Put a ball of dough in the center of the plastic. Then place another piece of plastic wrap on the top of the dough. Press the dough flat in the press. 4. Pick up the tortilla with the plastic on both sides. Peel off one piece of plastic (which can be reused). Flip the tortilla off of the plastic onto a hot griddle. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the bottom of the tortilla becomes golden. Flip the tortilla and press lightly with a spatula, which will make the tortilla puff slightly. Cook for one to two minutes more, until the tortilla appears to be done.

Flour Tortillas

Skip the store-bought tortillas and make your own with this simple recipe. Swap out some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, a whole grain. Makes 10 servings.

Ingredients 2 cups flour (all-purpose, or 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour) 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or shortening) 3/4 cup water (warm, 105-110 degrees F)

Directions 1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. 2. Add oil and mix until crumbly. 3. Start with 1/2 cup of water and add 1 Tablespoon at a time until mixture forms a loose crumbly ball. 4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 6 to 8 times or until smooth. 5. Divide into 10 balls. Roll each piece into an 8 inch circle. 6. Heat a 12 inch dry skillet over medium-high heat. Place one tortilla at a time into skillet and cook until light brown spots appear on bottom. Turn over and cook on other side until lightly browned.

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Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC

3655 Reed St. 

Winston-Salem, NC 27107

Tel: 336-784-5770

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