Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mexican Fiesta for 8

So, my mother in law came up with this really neat idea in lieu of Christmas gifts for all the adults in the family. She thought it would be fun if we took turns hosting a themed dinner once a month. So, themed dinners were grouped in 3’s, and wrapped up in small boxes. Each of us (4 couples, including my husband and I, mother and father in law, and 2 sisters and brothers in law) picked a box, and found out what meal s and months we would be hosting. We got April – Italian, August – Mexican, and December – Free Choice. Some of the other themes were fondue, Asian -inspired, American grill favorites, seafood, breakfast for dinner, etc. It is a really cute idea, and has been a lot of fun. When it is your turn to host, you provide everything from soup to nuts, and everyone just brings their appetite. We hosted our Mexican Fiesta on Sunday, and it was a great success.

Here was my menu:
Corn tortilla chips and salsa
Guacamole and flour tortilla chips
JalapeƱo spiced almonds

Poblano stuffed corn muffins
Corn muffins
Mexican rice
Taco bar with ground beef and ground turkey

Hot fudge brownie sundaes with traditional Mexican chocolate sauce and sugar and cinnamon tortilla crisps

I prepared a good amount of the food on Saturday, which was very helpful! Here are some of the recipes from my favorite dishes of the day:

Chunky Guacamole – I was PETRIFIED to make this!!! I guess because I have had it and never cared for it…until now! Man, was I missing out!!! Everyone raved about this recipe, and I was so glad it was a hit. I was scared mostly because I never work with avocados. I picked them out and totally felt awesome splitting, pitting and scooping them out.

Poblano Stuffed Corn Muffins – My husband Matt and I saw these on an episode of Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller and decided to make them. We followed the recipe nearly exactly, we just omitted the cilantro (not sure why?) from the batter mixture. We also made plain corn muffins for those not adventurous enough to try the stuffed peppers. I enjoyed the complexity of the muffins, but as I am not a fan of mushy pepper texture, the shell of the pepper muffin was not my favorite. But, the muffin itself was really yummy and the presentation was just too cute!

Mexican Rice – I never really searched for a recipe for the rice, I just sort of made it up as I went along. Here is the gist of it…I started with brown rice which I cooked in chicken broth, and added chili powder, a little cumin, and a small amount of cayenne pepper. I heated some frozen corn, and added that in as well. I also added diced red onion and diced red pepper as well. After sprinkling with salt and pepper, and a small amount of garlic powder, I added freshly chopped scallions to the dish. It was tasty, if I do say so myself, and people enjoyed it.

Dessert – I used this recipe from epicurious for the dessert. I wanted something easy, as there were 8 adults and 3 toddlers to serve. I made the chocolate sauce a day ahead, and reheated just before serving. I omitted the espresso powder because I didn’t have any, and added a touch more cinnamon that the recipe called for, and also added a dash of cayenne pepper, which gave the sauce a wonderful added dimension. The tortilla crisps were a piece of cake. I simplified the already easy directions listed in the recipe by spreading butter over the flour tortillas and sprinkling with a sugar and cinnamon combo before slicing into triangles with a pizza slicer. I added brownies (Ina’s) to my dessert, and used vanilla and chocolate frozen yogurt instead of coffee, just because I knew most of my husband’s family are not coffee ice cream fans (what is wrong with them??!). This dessert was soooo easy and super delicious!


Cara said...

Hey Lynn this looks great! I am glad the avocados worked out for you, and I love this idea in lieu of Christmas gifts!

Ally said...

I love that idea! How fun, and everything looks yummy!

DeborahSW said...

Everything looks fabulous! What a great way to stay in touch with family too! :)