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Cancun from your cupboard

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By Elisa D. Keller
Provided by WorldNow

Finances too tight for a spring break getaway?  Missing the good old college days when you could just drop everything and head to the beach for a weekend?

Try recreating your own spring break at home with one of these fun ideas. Using tropical flavors, some spices or a few traditional warm-weather ingredients, you can have spring break in your very own kitchen.

1) Take a hint from the Caribbean with some jerk chicken and fried or mashed plantains. Serve up exotic fruit as appetizers or dessert. Colorful produce like mango, kiwi, pineapple and passion fruit can make any meal feel like a vacation.

2) Invite friends over for a Mexican feast, including a make-your-own taco bar with pulled pork, seasoned chicken or broiled fish. Throw in margaritas and some salsa music and you've got a party!

3) Create a New Orleans-themed meal, with classic Cajun dishes like Jambalaya or an old fashioned crawfish boil with corn, potatoes, sausage and spices. Crawfish not easily found in your area? Substitute raw shrimp from the frozen food section and vary your cook time according to their size.

4) Head out California-way with homemade vegetarian-friendly pizzas topped with goat cheese, olives and sundried tomatoes. More adventuresome diners can try caramelized figs, pickled onions and prosciutto. Let the fresh and sunny flavors of the west coast be your inspiration!

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