Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mexican Party Menu

Last weekend when my brother and his family were visiting we invited some cousins over for a little party. I planned carefully, made my shopping lists way in advance, cooked what I could beforehand and pulled it off stress-free. I was asked to share recipes, so thought I'd share them here even though I don't have photos.

  • Guacamole (while I love making my own fresh, Wholly Guacamole from Costco is great and easy)
  • Pico de Gallo (I have a great recipe for this but with so much else to cook, used Whole Foods' fresh pico de Gallo from the prepared foods section of the store and it's very good.
  • El Azteco Cheese Dip (a favorite restaurant in East Lansing from my college days, this dip is best made a couple days in advance for all the flavors to meld. Addicting!)

    Ingredients: 16 oz sour cream (I used lowfat), 24oz small curd cottage cheese (I used nonfat), 3/4 lb Jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese shredded, 4 green onions finely chopped, 1 1/2 tsp cumin, white pepper to taste

    Directions: Mix it all together in a big bowl (makes a lot!), cover and put in fridge at least overnight for best results. Serve with tortilla chips (my favorite is from the Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory)
  • Black Bean with Roasted Corn Dip (low fat, high fiber, it's guilt free!)
    from Whole Foods website
Main Course:
  • Baja Chicken Tacos (this recipe was from the Canyon Ranch spa)

    Ingredients: 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lime juice, 2 TB olive oil, 1 TB chili powder, 1 tsp sea salt, 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

    Directions: Whisk marinade ingredients together and pour into large ziplock bag with chicken breasts. Allow it to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Preheat grill and cook until done, discard leftover marinade. Allow to cool slightly and chop into bite size pieces.
  • Ground Beef Taco Meat I used grass fed ground beef for this (although I don't use much ground beef anymore, I do stock up and freeze when it's on sale). I cooked up some small diced yellow onion and garlic in some olive oil, then put in the ground beef and seasoned with taco seasonings and simmered with a little water for about 5 minutes, allowed to cool and then froze it a week before the party. Then I just took out the night before (transfer to fridge) and put into Crockpot with a little water to reheat in the morning.
  • Carne Asada Steak After 4 years of living in Southern California, I searched for the best/most authentic recipe to replicate these baja style tacos. I found it on someone's blog a couple years ago and it's now our go-to recipe for carne asada.

    Ingredients: 2 lbs tri tip steak (I've substituted whatever steak is on sale many times, but tri tip is the most authentic). I used top round steak last weekend because I was making so much., 1 small/med red onion, juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper to taste

    Directions: Cut raw steak into 1/4 inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper (the easiest way to get the right amount is to spread out the cut meat on your cutting board like a hamburger patty and season liberally). I use fresh ground pepper and fine sea salt. Put meat in large ziplock bag with lemon juice and onion, mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour. When ready, heat a bit of olive oil in a hot pan, then sear the meat in small batches and cook til done.
  • Spanish Rice My friend Vern made her grandmother's spanish rice for me for the party. I'll see if I can get her to share the recipe, but it's one of those things where it's not measured but cooked by taste. She did use long grain brown rice rather than white.
  • Refried Beans I hadn't planned on making my own but when I found this healthier recipe I knew I had to try it out. I loved it and will definitely make it again and again! (I used only a sprinkling of cheese on top rather than the 1/2 cup the recipe calls for.) Whole Foods Recipe
  • Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime & Cilantro - This recipe is from one of my favorite healthy cooking blogs, Kalyn's Kitchen. My changes: I did substitute regular mayo with vegan canola oil mayo (Spectrum Whole Foods Brand) as a healthier/lower cal/fat alternative, without losing any flavor. I also used Chipotle Tabasco rather than green because that's what I had. I eliminated the salt.
  • Fixings - sour cream, mexican mix cheese, chopped romaine lettuce, pico de gallo, plain chopped tomatoes, plain chopped red onion, guacamole. I had both corn and flour tortillas (La Jalisciense, Detroit) and hard shell corn tortillas (Whole Foods 365 brand)
Dessert: (okay, nothing here is Mexican but it is yummy and healthy!)
  • Apple Crumble with Golden Raisins - It's a Cooking Light recipe. I used honeycrisp apples instead of Granny Smith, and also threw in some dried cherries with the raisins.
  • Zucchini Bread - as posted earlier on my blog

1 comment:

  1. What a delicious spread! I hope Vern shares her rice recipe (or at least the ingredients).