A holiday celebration that continues to grow across the    United States    and   Mexico  ,  Cinco de Mayo  serves as  a time for friends and family to gather whi le remembering the causes for freedom and democracy during the early parts of the  American Civil War . Originating in Mexican-American communities, the fifth of May is a highly celebrated event in various parts of the United States – including  New York City ,  Los Angeles  and Chicago – and in Pue bla, Mexico, where ceremonies commemorating Mexico’s triumph over the French in the Battle of Puebla are held.

In addition to the historical aspect of Cinco de Mayo, sharing meals with family and friends has become another important piece in the celebration of this date. With Cinco de Mayo 2014 quickly approaching, here’s 3 great recipes you’ll definitely want to cook up on May 5, 2014.

Restaurant Style Chicken Nachos (Courtesy of AllRecipes.com)

Cinco de Mayo 2014 A recipe for chicken nachos will help fill your Cinco de Mayo celebration with more flavor Shutterstock / Julie Deshaies

Ingredients

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

6 green onions, sliced, white parts and tops separated

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 shredded, cooked, whole chicken breast

Salt and pepper

1 cup of salsa

½ (12 ounce) package of tortilla chips

1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese blend

½ large tomato, diced

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a 12 inch skillet over medium heat, cook and stir the garlic and white parts of the green onions in canola oil until tender. Mix in shredded chicken, salt and pepper. Toss until well coated with oil. Stir in the salsa.

3. Arrange tortilla chips on a large baking sheet. Spoon the chicken mixture over tortilla chips. Top with Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese blend and tomato. Bake in the preheated oven 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Remove from heat and sprinkle with green onion tops before serving.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Cinco de Mayo 2014 Spinach and Mushroom quesadillas will fit perfectly into your Cinco de Mayo plans. Shutterstock / Andi Berger

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas (Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 medium red onions, thinly sliced

8 ounces (2 1/4 cups) button or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

6 ounces (about 8 cups) prewashed spinach, shredded

Coarse salt and ground pepper

8 flour tortillas (8-inch)

8 ounces (2 cups) pepper Jack cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until they're tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Add spinach in two batches, letting the first batch wilt slightly before adding the next; cook until spinach is completely wilted and mixture is dry, 2 to 3 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Brush one side of tortillas with remaining tablespoon oil. Place 4 tortillas, oiled sides down, on two baking sheets. Layer each tortilla with cheese, spinach mixture, and more cheese, dividing evenly. Top with the remaining 4 tortillas, oiled sides up, and lightly press to seal.

4. Bake until cheese has melted and tortillas are golden brown, turning them once, about 10 minutes. To serve, cut quesadillas into quarters.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Cinco de Mayo 2014 Salsa remains a popular addition to any Cinco de Mayo feast. Shutterstock / Jay Ondreicka

Cinco de Mayo Salsa Cruda (compliments of AllRecipes.com)

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup finely diced onion

1 jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and minced

1 serrano chile pepper, seeded and minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 pinch white sugar

2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Salt to taste

Directions

Drain tomatoes in a strainer for 15 minutes.

Combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeno pepper, serrano pepper and garlic in a large bowl. Pour lime juice over the top. Stir in oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, sugar, mint and cilantro. Refrigerate for one hour. Season with salt to taste.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ready In: 15 minutes