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The Room Service: Let’s Celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

This year Cinco de Mayo is right in the middle of the most stressful days of the spring semester. Every cubicle in the library is filled, the line to the coffee bar stretches to the bookstore, and many seem to be on the verge of a mental breakdown. May I suggest a Mexican-themed study break??

May 5th became an annual holiday after the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French in 1862. After a dreary, grueling semester, I say we take a cue from our Southern neighbors and take some time to celebrate our many victories over all the papers, projects, and presentations that have crossed our desks since January.
           
Take a break from the cubicle you’ve been hoarding in Arnie B. and enjoy this nice dinner with roommates and friends before you part ways for the summer. This menu is simple and stress free, and can be completed in thirty minutes. The enchiladas incorporate premade enchilada sauce, refried beans, and I always use rotisserie chicken in mine. And no Cinco de Mayo fiesta is complete without tequila-infused libations. You can celebrate with my fresh margaritas, described in last week’s, “The Art of Day Drinking,” or give these new variations a try. La Paloma and the Beergarita are just as potent, fruity, and delicious as the classic Mexican cocktail.
           
So give yourself an hour away from the books, and relax with some comida buena and amigas bonita. Your belly and your brain will thank you for it.
           
 
Baked Chicken Cheese Enchiladas, Serves 6-7

4 oz. cream cheese softened
¼ cup sour cream
2 cups grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 16 oz. can refried beans
12 to 14 soft round 6 to 8-inch flour or corn tortillas
1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce, I prefer green
 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
 
In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and sour cream. Stir in 1 cup of the grated cheese. In a second bowl, toss together the chicken, corn, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, and ½ of the scallions. Add the chicken mixture to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.
 
In a baking dish spread half the enchilada sauce over the bottom. Take about 1 tablespoon of the refried beans and spread over each tortilla. Then place about 1/3 cup of the chicken-cheese filling on the tortilla, roll up, and transfer to the baking dish with the seam side down. Repeat process for remaining tortillas. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas, spreading to coat all of them. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese over the top. Enchiladas may be prepared up to this point 12 hours in advance. Transfer to preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until hot and bubbly. Enchiladas maybe reheated, covered with aluminum foil, before service. Sprinkle with the remaining scallions and serve warm.
This recipe is my adaptation from a FoodNetwork.com recipe.
 

La Paloma! 
 
2 ounces tequila
½ lime, juiced
Pinch of kosher salt
Grapefruit soda
 
Fill a tall glass with ice, and pour in tequila and grapefruit soda. Squeeze the half of the lime into the glass, and include the lime itself in your drink. You can add your pinch of salt directly in the cocktail, or use it to rim the glass. Give it a quick stir, and enjoy! 

You can find awesome options for your Beergarita at www.Beergarita.com

Photo Sources: http://www.kitchencaravan.com/recipe/paloma-pura-cocktail,
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://whatscookingmexico.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/enchiladas-500×500.jpg&imgrefurl=http://whatscookingmexico.com/2009/01/12/pork-enchiladas/&usg=__yRRY__UEPsUK-70gSAcGVYE0IoU=&h=500&w=500&sz=43&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=jbT1MhygIMhF7M:&tbnh=130&tbnw=156&ei=uYrBTajdD8nFgAfpu8DkBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Denchiladas%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D1044%26bih%3D711%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=513&vpy=248&dur=196&hovh=225&hovw=225&tx=143&ty=140&page=1&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:7,s:0

Molly is a senior print journalism major and psychology minor at Quinnipiac University. She enjoys cooking, baking, reading, and spending as much time on the beach as possible. Molly loves to travel, and recently brought home a dog, Kodiak, from Rincon, Puerto Rico in January 2011. She is an aspiring food writer for publications such as Gourmet, and Fine Cooking. In preparation for this career, Molly spent the summer of 2011 working on an organic farm, and hopes to attend the Culinary Institute of America after graduating from QU in the spring. Having been a transfer to Quinnipiac in the fall of her sophomore year, Molly knows the importance of being outgoing and friendly, and hopes to make many wonderful memories during her last year in Hamden. 
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