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Help! Need Mexican Recipe for Dinner Party!

Some of friends of mine and myself get together about once a month for a pot-luck cocktail/dinner party. The next one is a week away, and the theme is Mexican. I was just going to bring something basic but I heard through the grapevine that people were looking forward to seeing what I'd bring because I always bring something "different". So now that the pressure is on, I can't think of anything!!! Does anyone have anything really really delicious that fits the bill? I don't think it needs to be strictly Mexican, anything Latin or South American (even Tex Mex) may work. (Something that can be eaten while standing is a definite plus)

Thank you!!!!!

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  1. you can make enchiladas the mexican way my aunts used to.... toast 2 ancho chilis and in a blender, blend it with hot water, 1 onion and maybe a tiny bit of buillion to make a red sauce... then lightly fry corn tortillas, dip in sauce, and fill with simple mixture of fresh onion and that crumbly rancherito (farmer's) cheese, roll and place in a dish and cover with remaining sauce... its not as gooey as a standard enchilada... but its darn good... i almost liken it to cheesy chilaquiles... lol...

    1. Some of the things I have done in the past....

      > Taquiza... you set out some interesting taco fillings, homemade or high quality tortillas & let people assemble their own. Last summer I did one with... (1) Chicken breasts marinated in chipotle, grilled & served with Roquefort Crema & garnished with ribbons of Mexican Basil (aka Cinammon Basil). (2) Roasted Nopales (cactus paddles), garnished with Mole Negro & chopped hard boiled eggs. (3) Grilled Shrimp garnished with Tequila-Mojo de Ajo & a roasted Arbol salsa. (4) Sauteed Mushrooms with a Oaxan style black bean sauce & Feta crumbles (if I remember correctly).

      > Mariscos.... another thing I have done in the past are seafood bites with the following ideas: (1) white fish Ceviche served on small, homemade tostadas (2) Shrimp, Crab & Avocado cocktails served inside halved Avocado shells (3) Ahi Tuna, Piquin Chile & Mayo mousse served over warm Sopes topped with roe. (4) Raw Oysters topped with a boiled Tomatillo & roasted Serrano Chile salsa.

      1. Tamales.
        Some sliced meat in a mole.
        A seven layer dip (even though that's pretty common)
        You can fake a cochinita pibil (pork shoulder roasted in achiote)

        1 Reply
        1. re: gordeaux

          Tamales are super labor intensive, but wonderful!
          Usually I try and find someone that makes them and order a couple of dozen, in advance.

        2. I like to surprise people with Mexican Soups... A simple Pozole or a Black Bean Soup....


          1. Taco Bar is always fun. Use soft tacos, they are less messy and easier to walk around with.

            You can have platters with Pollo Asado, Carne Asada, cheese, lettuce, salsa fresca, avacado and what ever else you can think of.
            you can even use grilled portebello. I like Chorizo, but it I can not bear to eat it, so
            I purchase the vegan alternative at Whole Foods and that would also be a good addition.

            Do not forget the Margaritas.

            7 Replies
            1. re: normalheightsfoodie

              "Use soft tacos, they are less messy and easier to walk around with."

              Forget the mess... I think using Taco Shells would disqualify the OP from further participation in Chowhound! =)

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                I know I wouldn't invite them again, that's for sure. What I hate about doing tacos for a good number of people is that you have to warm up the tortillas, or it just isn't worth it. Sure, you can toss them in an oven for a min or two, and then keep them in a basket wrapped, but cold tortillas are just plain wrong.

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  The crunchy ones break apart after the first bite, and the poster wanted somehting that could be eaten standing up. We often do taco night dinner with fish or chicken.

                  1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                    Let me explain... I was just being an snobby arse about the implication that "Soft Tacos" even has to be mentioned.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      What, you've never had a great homemade crispy taco?

                      Those are the best, I like soft tacos too though.

                      Of course I am not talking about the pre-fab "taco bell" shell that is so popular in many restaurants. (gag me)

                      1. re: Chile Pepper

                        People that make their own homemade crispy tacos... wouldn't refer to the standard type as Soft Taco *winks*

                2. re: normalheightsfoodie

                  Margaritas are kind of old.... not many people in Mexico drink them anyway.... here are some user recipes from common people in Mexico.. .its in Spanish but pretty self explanatory:


                3. I have always gotten great compliments on the Mexican-Style Chick-Pea Salad

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Tehama

                    FWIW... the Garbanzo salads in Mexico (such as the one provided by Sara) are usually made from tender Green Garbanzos which is completely different animal... I think using Edemame is a better substitution than canned. Otherwise.... there is also a tradition of salads that incorporate cooked/roasted vegetables (probably a Basque influence)... and I've had salads of chilled Garbanzos adobados (you make a thick Tomato-Chipotle adobo with lots of carmelized onions etc.,... add the cooked Garbanzos & let it come to room temperature then serve on Orejona or Butter lettuce leaves that are dressed with an orange juice-sherry vinagrette & garnished with Radish leaves.

                  2. Delish, authentic tostadas! Boil a chicken, then shred from bone (or use rotisserie but homemade is better so you can use the stock). Steam a few dried chiles (like California, take off stem, shake out most seeds) with some garlic cloves, onion and a tomato. Blender this into a paste and add enough chicken stock to get it to a nice consistency to simmer your chicken in (takes about 1/2 hr). Then fry up some corn torts to get a nice flat shell. Here is the unusual part (and I swear a family member that cannot speak english makes them this way)....spread mayo on the shell, top with a nice layer of your simmered, spicy chicken. Top w/ shredded cabbage, sliced radish, avocado slices and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (or cojita, but the parm is delish). Yum, yum!

                    1. Try doing dessert either a flan or a tres leche cake, both go over really well a pot -lucks.

                      1. Chiles en nogada are great - especially if you can find small poblanos.

                        Pipian verde is another yummy sauce that is different and not too hard to make (just a lot of steps)

                        Chiliquilles - mmm who doesn't love those?

                        Homemade taquitos stuffed with potatoes and chorizo

                        Guacamole with fruit and chilis - it is really good.

                        cachapas ( not sure if they would travel well though) - sweet corn pancakes, you can make it with frozen sweet corn

                        Carrot pudding (scroll down on this post) http://www.chowhound.com/topics/339123

                        A salad of jicama, citrus, cilantro, lime vinegrette, bell peppers and chili

                        1. These are great suggestions! Thanks everybody!

                          1. Two quick ideas:
                            Sangria punch with lots of floaty fruit
                            Spanish Bloody Mary's with shrimp sticks.
                            These are a great walk around and all you need to do is grill the shrimp with a little lime and olive oil and put on skewers. Add a stick of celery and your good to go! Oh, don't forget the spices.

                            1. how about chimichurri steak skewers? they're argentinian and oh so yummy...


                              1. I often make chili for parties. People eat it out of cups or bowls and often standing. From my experience, New Englanders are blown away by a good bowl of Texas chili. It can also be combined with other dishes, like spooning it over tamales or enchiladas....

                                1. Now that you likely have your menu set, I'll chime in. Everything was going so upscale, I didn't want to bring things down, but....

                                  I have often entertained with a taco party. Admitedly, I'm at the frying pan turning out fresh crispy (or not so crispy based on guest preference) taco shells, while the table is a buffet of tacodom! I do shredded beef, "Taco Bell" type hamburger filling, shredded chicken, battered and chunk fish, diced tomatoes, diced avacados, chopped green onions, sliced black olives, chiffonade of lettuce, Mexican cole slaw, several types of Mexican and cheddar cheese, sour cream, and lots of salsas and hot sauce. And of course, a pot of refried beans. I offer super giant crisp flour tortilla taco shells for those with ravenous appetites, as well as the standard corn tortilla shells. And fresh tortillas for those who prefer soft tacos. My standard drink offerings are sodas and Dos Equis beer. It's a lot of slicing and dicing, but people do love it. Lots of fun, and no one can be unhappy with the meal because they put it together themselves! '-)

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    This is the second time you've made me want to come over to your house, Caroline.

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        Make extra shredded beef when Mr. CP and I come over. :)

                                  2. I just posted a corn and black bean salad recipe on this site, it probably won't be too hard to find. You can eat it from a bowl or a plate while standing.