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(Family Features) Whether Cinco de Mayo means an opportunity to celebrate your family’s heritage or it’s simply an excuse to gather with the ones you love, every holiday truly is about the same thing: special moments together. While those treasured times at the table revolve around camaraderie and conversation, it can start with a filling meal and end with a sweet treat.

Take this year’s festivities the traditional route with recipes that combine familiar favorites with ingredients you normally may not use otherwise, such as cactus. This Mexican Cactus Pork Stew makes Cinco de Mayo a cinch with the use of a Dutch oven. Just brown fresh pork shoulder (or reheat leftover pork) in the Dutch oven and combine with onion and jalapeno for the right mixture of flavor and spice. Once pork is cooked or warmed through, add broth, beans, spices, seasonings and a cup of chopped cactus for a southwestern spin.

After some lively chatter or friendly competition, you’re bound to work up the appetite for dessert. Call the kids to the kitchen to lend a hand with these Kid-Friendly Mexican Cinnamon Cookies – they’ll love working with the dough and rolling warm cookies in the cinnamon-sugar mixture after baking. Remember, they don’t have to be perfect; you can ensure a bit of fun and flavor by letting their creativity shine.

Visit Culinary.net to find more family-friendly recipes perfect for celebrating holidays throughout the year.

Mexican Cactus Pork Stew

Recipe courtesy of "Cookin' Savvy"

  • 1 pound pork shoulder (leftover or fresh)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) mild chili beans
  • 1 cup chopped cactus (nopales)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4 green onions, chopped, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
  1. If using fresh pork, in Dutch oven, cube and brown it with onion and jalapeno pepper. If using leftover pork, reheat in Dutch oven with onion and jalapeno pepper.
  2. Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, chili beans, cactus, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Simmer 25 minutes then garnish with green onions and cilantro.

Kid-Friendly Mexican Cinnamon Cookies

Recipe courtesy of "Cookin' Savvy"

  • 4 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups self-rising flour, plus additional for coating workspace
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Topping:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In bowl, combine butter, 4 cups flour and cinnamon. Add egg and sugar then knead into ball.
  3. Spread additional flour on counter and cut ball into six sections. Roll each section into 24-inch ropes then cut into 1-inch pieces and place on cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 10 minutes.
  5. To make topping: In bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Roll warm cookies in mixture and let cool on rack.