Fiesta!

sombrero

No one really entertains at home anymore and that is sad. For starters, eating out has become so common, that it isn’t even special anymore. Because of our busy schedules, time is at a premium. More often than not, your friends would be more impressed if you took the time to cook them a homemade dinner than if you simply picked up the check for their meal at a restaurant. Imagine if you turned it into a themed dinner party?My friends and I have started a supper club. Each couple takes a month and provides a themed dinner party for the other couples. The option is there to cater, but most of us cook. We have had all kinds of themes, but one of the most popular is always the Mexican Fiesta themed ones. And why not? Nothing says party better than “Margarita! “

Menu

You can certainly play with this a bit, but I like to think of these recipes as great for a moderate cook. You know enough so that the ingredient list won’t be daunting, but there is no real expertise needed. Just enjoy!

Appetizers and Cocktails:
Baked Cheese Fiesta Dip
Salsa and tortilla chips
Guacamole
Margaritas
Entree:
Applebee’s Tequila Lime Chicken with Yellow rice
Chopped Mexican Medley Salad
Pico de Gallo and Salsa
Tyler’s Mexican Cornbread

Dessert:
Flan

The Recipes

Baked Cheese Fiesta Dip Recipe2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
8-10 ounces grated cheese (I use 4 cheese Mexican style)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (or to taste)

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Stir in all other ingredients and mix well. Spray a 10 inch pie plate or quiche dish with cooking spray. Bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees until edges are lightly browned.

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Applebee’s Tequila Lime Chicken

4 chicken breast fillets
1 C. shredded cheddar/Monterrey jack cheese blend
2 C. crumbled corn chips or fried tortilla strips

Marinade:
1 C. water
1/3 C. teriyaki sauce
2 T. lime juice
2 t. minced garlic
1 t. mesquite liquid smoke
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. tequila

Mexi-Ranch dressing:
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. sour cream
1 T. milk
2 t. minced tomato
1 1/2 t. white vinegar
1 t. minced canned jalapeno slices
1 t. minced onion
1/4 t. dried parsley
1/4 t. Tabasco sauce
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. paprika
1/8 t. dried dill weed
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1/8 t. cumin
1/8 t. chili powder
1 Dash garlic powder
1 Dash ground black pepper

1. Prepare marinade by combining marinade ingredients in medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl, cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours.

2. Make the Mexi-Ranch dressing by combining all ingredients in medium bowl. Mix well until smooth, then cover dressing and chill it until needed. When ready to prepare entree, preheat oven to high broil. Also preheat grill to high heat. When grill is hot, cook marinated chicken breasts for 3 to 5 minutes per side.

3. Arrange cooked chicken in baking pan. Spread a layer of Mexi-Ranch dressing over each piece of chicken, followed by ¼ cup cheese. Broil chicken for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Spread a bed of 1/2 cup of tortilla strips on four plates. Slide chicken breast onto strips and serve with rice, pico de gallo or salsa.

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Chopped Mexican Medley Salad

This tangy, crunchy salad is “to die for.” Serves eight.

1 1/2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
1 1/2 pounds jicama (a crunch, tasty root vegetable), peeled and finely diced
6 seedless Oranges, peeled and chopped into squares
2 red onions, finely diced
1 medium bunch cilantro, stems removed & finely diced
1 large bell pepper, finely diced

Dressing

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. Orange marmalade
1/4 cup salsa verde
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Make this salad and dressing up to four hours before the party. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Chill in refrigerator. Right before serving, add salad dressing, toss lightly and serve.

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Tyler’s Mexican Cornbread

1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 lg. Onion, diced
2 eggs
1 can cream corn
2 jalapenos, chopped fine

Combine all and mix in large bowl. Spoon into muffin tins. Make sure to grease the tins first. Bake at 425° for around 20 minutes (check time). Yield: 18

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Easy Flan

1 cup and 1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 13 oz cans evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. You will need 6 ramekins or other specialty flan cook ware and a large baking pan to put them in. Pour 1 cup sugar in warm pan over medium heat. Constantly stir sugar until is browns and becomes caramel.

Quickly pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of caramel in each ramekin, tilting it to swirl the caramel around the sides. Reheat caramel if it starts to harden. In a mixer or with a whisk, blend the eggs together. Mix in the milks then slowly mix in the 1/2 cup of sugar, then the vanilla. Blend smooth after each ingredient is added.

Pour custard into caramel lined ramekins. Place ramekins in a large glass or ceramic baking dish and fill with about 1-2 inches of hot water. Bake for 45 minutes in the water bath and check with a knife just to the side of the center. If knife comes out clean, it’s ready.

Remove and let cool. Let each ramekin cool in refrigerator for 1 hour. Invert each ramekin onto a small plate, the caramel sauce will flow over the custard.

 

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