Mexican Haystacks {for Cinco de Mayo}

A couple of months ago I made corned beef and cabbage on a sunday–not even knowing it was St. Patrick’s day! Then today I was making Mexican Haystacks without even realizing it was Cinco de Mayo! I mean, I totally planned this… I am so on top of things! ;-) If I had planned ahead, I would have made something a lot cooler and more authentic! My husband and I have a lot of Mexican friends here in Mattawa, that he also works with, and he’s always raving about the amazing Mexican food they bring into the office: tostadas, huaraches, nopales, menudo, mole… pickled pigs skin! He’s brave… I definitely would NOT try the pickled pigs skin… but I definitely would have loved to use the excuse of Cinco de Mayo to get out of my cooking comfort zone a little, and try some REAL Mexican food, none of this Tex-Mex Mexican knock off stuff! ;-)

Having said that…. these Mexican haystacks were SO delicious, I was still really excited to share the recipe… {despite the fact that I may get a hard time from some friends at the office!} I wasn’t feeling too great today, so I needed something quick and easy to throw together–I already had left-over rice sitting in my fridge, so this meal came together in 20 minutes, with next to no clean up or effort; it was SO healthy, looked so pretty, and tasted SO good–it’s definitely become a new family favorite in our house!

Ingredients: (serves 4) Recipe adapted from wholeandfree.blogspot.com
3 cups white rice
chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime

MEAT
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb jar pace picante mild salsa
juice of 1 lime

TOPPINGS
1-2 avocados, chopped
1-2 red peppers, chopped
1-2 ripe mangoes, chopped
fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions:
Start your rice in a pot on the stove, or in a rice maker.¬†Next, add the ground turkey and chopped onion to a large saute pan. Add the garlic salt and season with a little freshly ground black pepper. When the turkey is browned, add the jar of salsa. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the salsa has thickened. Add the juice of 1 lime to the mixture when it’s done.

In the meantime, chop the cilantro, bell pepper, avocado, and mango. When the rice is done, stir in some chopped fresh cilantro, leaving just enough to garnish each dish, and the juice of 1 more lime.

Place a couple of chef rings or tin cans on a serving plate, spoon rice to fill them half way, then top the other half with the turkey and salsa mixture. Carefully lift the ring to leave a pretty mound of meat and rice, then top with the tomato, bell pepper, avocado and mango (black beans would be good in this too!) Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

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Growing up in England I can count on one hand how many times I had “Tex-Mex,” In fact, I never even had so much as a cheese quesadilla until I married my American husband who made them on a daily basis! So, it has taken me a while to acquire this type of cuisine, but now I am ready to start cooking the REAL stuff… so if any of my Mexican friends are reading this, I need some good ideas on where to start!

Until then, happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you all had fun celebrating today! And as usual, I hope you enjoy this recipe!

<3 Sarah