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Hosting a Mexican Fiesta (themed dinner party) - any suggestions? [Moved from General Topics]

Hi there! I am hosting a Mexican-themed dinner party in the next few weeks ( a very casual dinner party) - I was just wondering if there were any ideas out there for a menu -- I know for drinks we will do standard margaritas, beer and I think Sangria, and I was thinking for food Chicken & mole burritos,
carne asada, ground beef hard shell tacos and some grilled shrimp quesadillas and tamales -- with of course black bean and refried beans options -- any suggestions?

Thanks so much!!

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  1. My wife has a similar idea but the guest list has imposed several restrictions.The guests are vegetarians and one vegan. In the Chili Rellanos de Elote con Crema, Diana Kennedy recipe, I will substitute tofu. Other dishes work for both.
    mole pozole
    Aztec couscous
    mango sorbet

    1. what about dessert? tres leches cake! or mexican wedding cookies. i love mexican wedding cookies.

      2 Replies
      1. re: atandt

        Thanks so much for the recipes and comments!

        1. re: atandt

          The mango sorbet is going to be served with polvorones if I can get the vegan cookies to hold together. I didn't suggest it because I wasn't sure if chinamel wanted to go as crazy
          as it is making me.

        2. I have a excellent recipe for a green chili, corn and chicken cassarole that I got from gourmet magazine in 1989 or so.. it is a dish that I have been making for years, one that I would take to a picnic or party and the first dish to vanish and then get asked for the recipe.. It's easy to make and easy to serve.. if you like you can email me and I would be happy to share. I also have a mean sangria recipe too..must use fresh fruit.

          Flan might be a great dessert to have. I find burritos hard to handle for a big group.

          Most important is to make fresh salsa and some good guac!!

          1. Everybody has good suggestions as usual. How about do-ahead things like empanadas, or ceviche? Definitely make some good guacamole, homemade salsas, and chips.

            Here are some ideas from my Cinco de Mayo party in May, with a few recipe links -


            1. For cocktails: mojitos are a popular option these days, as long as you have some really good fresh mint and a decent rum. For appetizer w/thick corn tortilla chips or just fresh corn tortillas: You might consider making some really good homemade guacamole with fresh squeezed lime juice, chunky avocado, white onion, diced ripe tomatoes, cilantro, and a tiny bit of minced fresh jalapeno, and sea salt. Oohh or you could make some queso flameado with melted cotija&queso fresco cheese blend, stirred with sauteed peppers, onion, and garlic, scooped up with chips. Another great mexican dessert no one has mentioned are sopapillas (light flaky fried pastry that's hollow in the middle, and dusted with confectioner's sugar...you poke a hole and drizzle honey on the inside, mmmmmm!)

              2 Replies
              1. re: femmenikita

                How about jicama with chili flakes, honey & lime? Great refreshing side dish, and you can add other fruits, too. We always have Mexican food for Christmas Eve, and a platter with pineapple, mangos, jicama, oranges, kiwis, grapes, and whatever else looks good....sprinkle with coconut and drizzle with lime/honey...yum!

                For parties, I also like to make chili rellanos, and because they don't have the fluffy egg coating, they are very easy to make ahead. I roast anaheim or pasillo peppers, peel and remove seeds through a slit. Mix quesa fresca (or shredded jack cheese) with some goat cheese (chevre, feta, whatever sounds good), coarsly chopped dried tomatoes and gobs of cilantro, and stuff the peppers. Dip the pepper in a slightly beaten egg, and then roll in corn meal. At this point, they can be frozen or refrigerated. To cook, just fry them in a few tablespoons of hot oil until they're brown and crunchy outside, and gooey inside.

                1. re: kmr

                  i agree with kmr - a jicama salad or jicama anything would be a nice and refreshing counterpart to all the other good (but a little heavy) recipes you have here. maybe a good tortilla soup, too?

                  man. now i want to have a mexican-themed dinner party!

              2. Grilled green onions (with big heads) are a Mexican favorite. You grilled them until charred and then drizzled them with lime juice. If you are adventurous, you can also buy "nopales", paddle-shaped cacti, in any Mexican grocery store. You cut them to look like a hand and make sure you grill them enough time, until all the gooey-ness inside disappears. Cover them with lime juice as well.

                We also eat radishes, but some taquerias make a salad with them, with cilantro and onion.

                And finally, make a dish of corn with mayo, dried mexican cheese, a bit of dried chili powder and lemon. Or just with lemon and chili.

                Arrange it like a "salad" bar next to the salsa bar.. make your own!! they are super fun and easy to make and you can make all kinds of fun varities.

                For drinks make a drink with jamaica water (you can even use the Tang packets.. if you can't find the flower or don't want to make it), tequila, and grapefruit soda. It is super refreshing and the lovely color always makes me feel in a party mood!


                1. Sangria preparada - Limonada (limeade) and red wine. Serve over ice in tall, thin glass. 1/2 pimonada on bottom, red wine on top. Swizzle to mix.
                  Grilled knob onions and jalapenos to go with your carne asada. Knob onions are like green onions on steriods. You can find them in Mexican markets.
                  Also at the Mexican market (If you have one near you), queso anejo to crumble on the beans, Peruano or canario beans instead of black or pinto beans, manchego cheese for your quesadillas, achiote paste and blood or Seville oranges to make a marinade for the shrimp, fresh tortillas and Mexican crema.

                  1. fresh corn on the cob with lime and chili butter, and a little cheese, roll the hush back for a handle, then have some beef flautas for dipping into the guacamole and talking,
                    Carne asadas tacos are always good in small corn tortillas with salsa and lime
                    Also a pork colorado keeps in the crockpot well for burritos.
                    And a clear broth and cold gazpacho with veggies for starters..