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Apr 12, 2007 10:42 AM

Tex Mex backyard birthday cookout

I'm hosting a surprise party with about 20 attending. I'm praying for good weather. ;)

I'm trying to keep a number of things in mind:
-The birthday boy is an adventurous eater (as are most of the guests)
-There are a handful of vegetarians
-I want to set out make-ahead snacks/apps throughout the evening
-I want just enough to grill that evening so that the grilling chef can enjoy socializing by the fire. Nothing too complicated time or consuming.

My menu:
tomato salsa
salsa verde
black bean salad (red pepper, onion, cilantro)
brie, papaya & onion quesadillas
shrimp & lime mini tostadas
grilled corn with cheese and lime
chili lime marinated chicken, beef, and mixed pepper skewers
warm tortillas

ice cold beer
pitchers of margarita

Am I missing anything? Sound appealing? I'll have a day and half to myself to put it all together. I want to make sure the veggie folks and picky eaters will all find something to enjoy. Thank you!

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  1. Sounds really really appealing!! I love the sound of those brie papaya onion quesadillas!! I just hope it's warm enough out for you that your warm and hot dishes don't get cold immediately. But I must say, I would be delighted if I were the bday boy or girl.

    2 Replies
    1. re: prunefeet

      I haven't made the quesadillas before but they do sound awesome. I got the recipe at

    2. You could do some veggie skewers too (mushroom, onion, squash, tomatoes, etc.). Adds something else for the vegetarians and veggies on the grill are great.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mojoeater

        For the corn, soak in husk a couple of hours after removing the silk. Then grill in the husks, peel back the husks to char a bit and slather with crema mixed with ground ancho chili and lime.

      2. Sounds like a well-thought-out menu that will appeal to all. My 2 cents - always love a good guac that has some anejo tequila added.

        1. Sounds great! What time should I show up? ;-)

          I hope the weather holds out for you.

          2 Replies
          1. re: QueenB

            Me too! would just have bowls of limes around for the beer and extra squeezes for the bbq and corn, maybe some of that mojo seasoning (or make your own-love that stuff) in cute shakers, have more than one so everyone has access. You have done a wonderful job planning a very lovely menu. Your guest will leave very happy, but what's for dessert?
            A coffee flan? Something you can set out, and let them dig into?

            1. re: chef chicklet

              For dessert I'm making a mexican chocolate torte and purchasing a birthday cake at a bakery. I haven't decided on a flavor yet. I'm trying to find out what the birthday boy's preference is. He does love flan though so now I've got something else to consider... Thanks!

          2. Traditional margaritas are almost as lethal as martinis. May I suggest sangria instead?

            4 Replies
            1. re: Sharuf

              I thought of it but true sangria (with gin in it) has proven to be equally deadly. Fortunately this is a big beer drinking crowd. ;)

              1. re: kittychow

                We really like this idea when we camp or cook-out. Split some jalepenos down one side and scoop out seeds, stuff with cream cheese mixed with southwest seasoning, wrap in bacon and attach with toothpick and grill. Omit the bacon and brush with a little oil for the vegetarians. You can sprinkle more seasoning on either for a little more kick.

                1. re: kittychow

                  Never heard of gin with sangria. The versions I've experienced are (1) unreinforced wine with soda, etc. and (2) kicked up with brandy, to any level you want.

                  1. re: Sharuf

                    Two super good ideas - so used to the insane sangria that my family has made for years that I forgot that I could go the more typical route and use peach brandy.

                    The jalapeno app sounds like a great simple and addictive addition. Thank you.