A Cinco de Mayo Menu That’s Colorful, Varied, Slim and Delicious

Planning a Cinco de Mayo buffet? If so, you’ll probably want to eat lightly for the rest of the day since calories in Mexican meals can add up fast.

This menu is not the usual fare of tacos, enchiladas and burritos, which can be pretty high in fat because of the combination of meat, cheese and fried tortillas. What is suggested here is food that is colorful and varied, slim and delicious. It’s ideal for party-minded friends who might also be concerned about good nutrition. What’s more, much of it can be prepared ahead and simply reheated when the party begins.

Deliciously Slim

It starts with shrimp marinated in tequila, green taco sauce and lime juice. Serve with a cold gazpacho soup, if desired, for a deliciously slim first course. Chicken Sesame With Sausage is the entree suggestion. Thick green onions, brushed with olive oil and charred slightly, are a good accompaniment.


Serve with tri-colored rice mold, a combination of red, green and white cooked rice, colorfully decorated with strips of red and green pepper. Mocha Flan, a chocolate-coffee variation on the Mexican dessert favorite, rounds out the menu.


1 1/2 pounds medium to large shrimp

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup bottled green taco sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup tequila

1/4 cup lime juice


1/4 teaspoon paprika

Place shrimp in large pot with water to cover and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain, then rinse with cold water. Peel and devein shrimp.

Mix taco sauce, olive oil, tequila, lime juice, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and paprika in bowl. Add shrimp, tossing gently to coat with sauce. Cover and chill several hours. Serve on wood picks. Makes 6 appetizer servings.

PER SERVING: 223 calories; 22 gm protein; 4 gm carbohydrate; 10 gm fat; 1,150 mg sodium; 268 mg potassium.



Protein 34% Riboflavin 03% Vitamin A 10% Niacin 21% Vitamin C 08% Calcium 08% Thiamine 03% Iron 11%


1 (3-pound) chicken, cut up


1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup prepared salsa


1 tablespoon oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 cloves garlic, minced


1/2 pound Italian sausage

2 tomatoes, chopped

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Place in Dutch oven. Add chicken broth and salsa. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until chicken is almost tender.

Meanwhile, in another large saucepan, heat oil. Cook onion, sesame seeds and garlic 2 minutes. Add sausage and saute 10 minutes more to cook sausage through, stirring frequently.


Add sausage mixture to chicken in Dutch oven. Add tomatoes and spoon sauce over chicken. Cover and simmer 10 minutes more. Serve chicken with sauce. Makes 5 servings.

Note: To reduce calorie and fat totals, drain sausage and chicken mixtures before combining.

PER SERVING: 437 calories; 47 gm protein; 12 gm carbohydrate; 22 gm fat; 930 mg sodium; 576 mg potassium.



Protein 72% Riboflavin 52% Vitamin A 52% Niacin 68% Vitamin C 61% Calcium 07% Thiamine 32% Iron 31%


6 1/4 cups chicken broth

3 cups long grain rice


1/4 cup parsley or cilantro

1 cup salsa

1 sweet red pepper, finely chopped

1 cup green taco sauce


1 green pepper, finely chopped

1/2 sweet red pepper, cut in strips

1/2 green pepper, cut in strips

Bring 2 3/4 cups chicken broth to boil. Add 1 cup rice and parsley. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.


Bring 1 3/4 cups broth and salsa to boil. Add 1 cup rice and chopped red pepper. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring remaining 1 3/4 cups chicken broth and taco sauce to boil. Stir in remaining 1 cup rice and chopped green pepper. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spray 5- or 6-cup oven-proof mold or bowl with non-stick coating spray. Spoon red rice into bottom of bowl to make even layer. Spoon white rice on top, then spread green rice over all, smoothing top. Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes or until heated through. Unmold onto serving platter and garnish with red and green pepper strips. Makes 8 servings.

PER SERVING: 319 calories; 12 gm protein; 65 gm carbohydrate; 1 gm fat; 1,577 mg sodium; 479 mg potassium.



Protein 18% Riboflavin 07% Vitamin A 41% Niacin 27% Vitamin C 108% Calcium 06% Thiamine 26% Iron 26%


12 thick green onions


1/4 cup olive oil

Salt, pepper, optional

Trim ends of onions, leaving healthy green portions attached. Place onions on broiler pan and brush with olive oil. Grill onions, turning occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes under broiler until slightly charred. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 12 servings.

Note: Nutrient data does not include salt.


PER SERVING: 171 calories; 1 gm protein; 3 gm carbohydrate; 18 gm fat; 2 mg sodium; 77 mg potassium.


Protein 01% Riboflavin 01% Vitamin A 13% Niacin 01% Vitamin C 18% Calcium 02% Thiamine 01% Iron 02%



1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals

1/3 cup chocolate fudge ice cream topping

4 eggs

2 cups milk


1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Whipped cream, shaved chocolate or whole strawberries, optional


Stir together coffee crystals and ice cream topping. Spoon mixture into bottoms of 6 (6-ounce) custard cups or individual souffle dishes. Set dishes in shallow baking pan.

Whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until well blended. Pour mixture carefully over fudge layer in each dish. Place pan on oven rack. Pour hot water into pan to depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 40 minutes or until center is nearly set. Serve cooled or chilled.

Just before serving, invert flan onto platter and top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings or strawberries. Makes 6 servings.

Note: Nutrient data does not include optional garnishes whipped cream, shaved chocolate or strawberries.


PER SERVING: 207 calories; 8 gm protein; 25 gm carbohydrate; 9 gm fat; 189 mg sodium; 253 mg potassium.


Protein 12% Riboflavin 16% Vitamin A 11% Niacin 01% Vitamin C 01% Calcium 15% Thiamine 05% Iron 08%