Day 40: Mexican Dinner Party – A Success!

Mexican Shrimp Cocktails - like Gazpacho!

Mexican Shrimp Cocktails – like Gazpacho!

As I mentioned yesterday, I hosted a small dinner party this evening.  I know Martha Stewart makes this look easy, but I have to admit that it terrifies me.  I have never been able to gracefully execute  the dinner party trifecta (see below) – three things that must  occur simultaneously at a specific, pre-designated time.

The Dinner Party Trifecta-

1) House completely clean.  Don’t be misled by the idea that you can just clean certain parts and then keep everybody out of the other parts.  This almost never works.  I’ll give two examples:

a) Once I cleaned every room in my house EXCEPT the storage/craft room in the        basement.  Halfway thru the party, I found Big Daddio giving a complete tour of the basement – including an in-depth visit to the horrible, uncleaned back room.

b) Another time I cleaned a large section of my house, but didn’t get to the master bedroom/bathroom.  In fact, I left the vacuum cleaner in the middle of the bathroom.  One of the guests came back to the party rubbing his leg after missing the guest bathroom.  He had somehow made his way to the master bathroom and smashed into the vacuum in the dark.

2)  Dinner cooked and served all at the same time.  Anyone who has cooked multiple dishes understands how many ways this can go wrong.  I won’t even elaborate on this one.

3)  The Hostess has to look presentable.  Usually after cooking and cleaning all day, all I really want to do is put on my comfy clothes and go to bed.

So, I am happy to report that this little dinner party turned out pretty well.  I chose a Mexican theme, figuring that if nothing else we could ply the guests with a few Margaritas to distract them from the food.  They were pretty impressed by the Margaritaville Margarita Maker, but I have to say that the food turned out very good.

Here’s the idea I used for the first course :

Instead of a salad I served a shrimp cocktail.

Instead of a salad I served a shrimp cocktail.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail with Avocado Salsa.  Here’s the link: http://www.mexicanfoodrecipes.org/Mexican-Recipes/easy-mexican-recipes/mexican-shrimp-cocktail-avocado-salsa.php

Yum, this tasted and looked great.  I really enjoyed all the fresh flavors.  Next time I would make it earlier in the day and let it just marinate for awhile.  It would have saved some last minute trauma.

I used this cute serving dish that I got from my sister-in-law a few years ago.  You fill the bottom with crushed ice and the top can be filled with an appetizer, dessert or a drink.  I’ll have to try the drink idea soon, but it worked perfectly for the shrimp.  So elegant!

For the main dinner, I made Chicken Cheese Enchiladas: http://www.mexicanfoodrecipes.org/Mexican-Recipes/easy-mexican-casseroles/enchiladas/chicken-cheese-enchilada-recipe.php#.URfvMo5H3ao

These were good.  I should have made the chicken mixture earlier in the day or even the night before.  I made mine pretty spicy – you can adjust how many chili peppers you put in.  I ended up simmering the filling for quite awhile and then straining off the juice.  That kept it from being too spicy.

I heated up some refried beans and Spanish rice and the finished product looked like this:

The Whole Enchilada - haha!

The Whole Enchilada – haha!

Don’t worry, I took this picture later.  I thought it would be rude to make the guests wait around while I took pictures of the food!

So, if you find yourself needing a Mexican dinner party menu, I can highly recommend these recipes.  I served  fresh tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream and scallions alongside and it was just about as good as anything you’d find in a Mexican restaurant!

I’ll be back with more tomorrow

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