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ideas for a Mexican menu?

My family has vacationed in Cozumel for many years and it is near and dear to our hearts. With my sister's upcoming wedding and $1200 round trip tickets in coach, we are all reluctantly skipping our usual spring break vacation. My birthday is coming up, though, so I invited a few of our nearest and dearest for dinner that night. I want to do a Mexican menu because I'm dying for it and I know that they will all appreciate it too.

Here are my thoughts so far:

Apps:

homemade guacamole, pico de gallo, and chips
shrimp ceviche

Dinner:

ground turkey and black bean burritos (Chipolte-style with cilantro lime rice inside)
fajitas (skirt steak marinated with garlic, seasonings, lime juice, and olive oil, sauteed peppers and onions, and leftover salsa and guacamole)
Mexican rice

Dessert:

not even touching this one. I don't bake but I imagine my mother will bring a cheesecake as a "birthday cake"

Do you guys have any other ideas to add to this? I'm not looking for a super-elaborate meal especially as the dinner is on a Friday night and I work all week. Love the fact that I can do the burritos in advance.

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  1. Were there any memorable meals that you had on your previous trips? If so, I would try to recreate those. That or research some Yucatan style dishes (puerco pibil immediately comes to mind). Honestly, things like ground turkey burritos and fajitas sound like they are borrowed from a Rachel Ray cookbook. Given that you're looking for something simple, most Mexican recipes require long roasting or simmering times but these can easily be done overnight or in a crock pot while you're at work.

    As for dessert, I would give a basic flan recipe a try. Or look for a Tres Leches cake in a local Mexican market (odds are that there is one nearby, even if you don't shop there). If you've never been to one, you'll be amazed by the variety of products available that you never thought you would find in the US.

    2 Replies
    1. re: d8200

      i had the same initial reaction to the ground turkey, but then i remembered that they actually do use a lot of turkey in the Yucatan.... tho, maybe not ground, so much...

      1. re: d8200

        I don't own a Rachael Ray cookbook or watch her show. Sorry to disappoint.

      2. Tortillas for the fajitas?

        1. I'm really curios about how you make the burritos in advance....what is your technique?

          1. jicama salad with oranges or grapefruit, cilantro
            green beans roasted with garlic, lime juice
            use some roasted poblano peppers somewhere, such great addition/taste

            1 Reply
            1. re: Madrid

              My very first thought was with Madrid- jicama salad. Easy and generally always great.
              Also, a few different salsa slections would be nice (and easy.)

            2. maybe some roasted corn on the cob w/ creme, lime, chile?
              I was trying to think of some kind of vegetable side dish, but beyond chayote (which I can find in my stop and shop here) or chaya (which I've never seen, but you could do a sub with regular spinach maybe?) I have no idea.

              Def with d8200 on the tres leches cake or flan

              1. How about cochinta pibil served with steaming hot tortillas, marinated red onions and chiles, rice, and beans? You can make the cochinita pibil in a slow cooker or in the oven ahead of time and warm up that night. For something a little different, you can soften and marinate whole anchos ahead of time and serve them stuffed with the guacamole. A lime or dulce de leche cheesecake would make a great finish.

                1. Not quite menu-related, but I see no mention of a pinata!

                  1. Make your own refried black beans ahead ( way more flavorful than purchased!) with cumin, finely diced onion, garlic, etc. in them...
                    +1 on more kinds of salsa
                    +1 on Tres Leches Cake! If you haven't had one, you don't know what your missing! Everyone I intruduce to this cake can't get enough, and starts buying it themselves for occasions. Super moist and flavorful, and not heavy.