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What should I make for our Mexican Christmas that will be impressive but that can be made ahead of time?

So, my idea of having a Mexican Thanksgiving at the in-laws this year got vetoed, but they did decide to have a Mexican Christmas!! Yay! (A welcome change, especially considering we are having brunch at one of my grandma's on Christmas morning and then brunch food again at my other grandma's in the early afternoon!) My husband's side of the family is Hispanic, so everything will be very traditional. I know that my MIL is making enchiladas; his aunt is making carnitas, arroz con pollo, and refried beans. I'm sure there will be other things, but that's what I know for sure. Oh, I'm also sure his aunt will make Mexican hot chocolate, because she knows I love it! I'm wanting to make maybe a main dish or appetizer and a dessert. We have to drive three hours the morning of to have lunch, so everything will need to be made the night before and either kept at room temperature or re-heated, so obviously certain things won't work. I would love to make churros, but I know that probably won't work. And I will need recipes or pointers to cookbooks, because I'm next to clueless about traditional Mexican cuisine! I want to impress! Thanks hounds!

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      1. Biscochitos. Super-easy sugar cookies with anise seed in them. (The recipe doesn't say, but we lightly mush the seeds with a mortar and pestle -- just to release the flavor a bit more.)

        http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1610,...

        1. Romeritos en mole is a Christmas classic as is bacalao.
          Please, don't ask me for recipes for them, as I am fond of neither!
          However Ponche Navideño is very good. Or lots of Rompope.
          When would it be appropriate to make Rosca de Tres Reyes?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Anonimo

            The Rosca in January...

            --Dommy!

            1. re: Anonimo

              the ponche navideño i made for christmas day went over quite well. highly recommended!

            2. I linked to this recipe for empanadas on another thread. It's a recipe from used this Bittman recipe. The dough has cornmeal and is very easy to handle. You can make sweet or savory, but according to my Tex-Mex husband, the only real empanadas are pumpkin-anise. They can be served at room temperature, or frozen then reheated.

              http://www.randomhouse.com/broadway/b...