Start with your blender and whip up a frosty pitcher of margaritas (or any sort of frozen concoction you choose) or have a couple of blenders buzzing to offer two different beverage varieties at the same time!
You might also find some inexpensive, novelty items that carry the theme. For example, I found an inflatable sombrero cooler… seriously! Toss a couple of those into your party scene, filled with ice and Mexican beer and soft drinks. This lets your beverage cooler add to the festive atmosphere. Obviously, some cactus margarita glasses will pack some extra WOW into each party guest’s hand. Choose the plastic ones if you plan to host your event outdoors or poolside… OR if you want to send guests home with a great souvenir memento glass of your South of the Border party.
If you want to get really fancy, you could go for the amazing hand-painted Bird of Paradise margarita glasses… or some matching Bird of Paradise pilsners. Decorate by tossing around a few maracas and colorful sombreros. Use festive napkins and paper plates to add inexpensive “bling” and easy clean-up, too! If you’re outdoors, light up some backyard tiki torches to sizzle the late night hours.
Here are a couple of recipes for you to consider. The first two come to you free from our cookbook, Fifty Years of Fabulous Family Favorites.
Super Simple Cranberry Punch
It’s always great to offer a non-alcoholic or family-friendly beverage as part of your menu.
1 c cranberry juice cocktail
¼ c orange juice
¼ c pineapple juice
Serve in a tall glass over ice cubes made of any (or all) of the juices.
KISS Tip: Consider placing fresh berries in ice cube trays before adding water or your choice of fruit juices. Then you have decorative and flavorful ice! This works in individual glasses or a punch bowl.
Super Simple Chili Con Queso
This recipe, created by Cathy Burnham Martin in 1992, remains a timeless favorite. You can also serve it in a fondue pot quite nicely, which keeps it perfectly warm throughout your party.
Over low heat (or in a double boiler over simmering water) melt 3 T butter and stir in 3 T flour.
Gradually add 1 c milk, stirring until smooth.
Add 2 pounds grated Monterey Jack cheese (or any mix of Jack and Cheddars).
Heat until cheese melts. Stir in 1/2 c minced sweet onion, 8‑oz chopped canned green chilies, 10‑oz enchilada or picante sauce, and 1 T minced garlic.
Add just enough tomato juice (or V-8 type vegetable cocktail) to thin to a nice consistency.
Serve warm with tortilla chips, crackers, or raw veggies.
Obviously, putting out tortilla chips and salsa is easy and perfect. You could even have taco fixin’s lined up for some serve yourself simplicity. I love the idea of quesadillas, though for a couple of reasons. They let you offer something hot that is so easy to share and eat with your fingers, without the potential messiness of tacos. Plus, if you’d like, making quesadillas is so easy that they make a great dish to let guests prepare themselves. This can be a bit of a challenge if you are trying to prepare a LOT of them in one skillet. But you might look at one of those official Quesadilla Maker machines. They give you a no-fail system that more easily helps guests to whip up their own favorite combinations. Just put out the ingredients in bowls and let your friends have at it!
To give you a great start, here’s a special free bonus recipe:
Super Simple Grilled Shrimp Quesadilla Cozumel
This is a Café Martin original recipe creation for the Keep It Super Simple cookbook group.
Sweet onions, very thinly sliced or well-chopped & microwaved on high for 1 min
Grilled large or jumbo shrimp, halved lengthwise
Halved cherry tomatoes
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Shredded Monterey Jack, Muenster, and/or Cheddar cheese
Flour tortillas (your choice of size)
Place a tortilla in an olive oil sprayed skillet, preheated over medium heat.
Sprinkle half of the tortilla with some onion, shrimp, tomatoes, cilantro, and cheese, in that order.
Fold the other half of the tortilla over the top to form a filled half circle.
Repeat with a second tortilla in the other half of the same pan; cook about 2 minutes, until golden.
Turn quesadilla over, using a spatula or two; cook another 2 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board; cut each into 3-4 wedges.
Serve hot with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.
- Sweet onions include varieties such as Vidalia, Maui, Empire, and Walla Walla, etc.
- Use any quantities and proportions that suit your party size and taste preferences. Or let guests prepare their own!
- Cut each quesadilla into larger wedges for lunch portions and smaller wedges for appetizers.
KISS Variations: Add some Caribbean flare by including small bits of fresh pineapple in with your fillings. Or replace shrimp with bite-sized chunks of leftover grilled chicken (boneless) or steak tips.
Check out lots more recipe ideas in one of our great KISSTM — Keep It Super Simple cookbooks. They’re from Quiet Thunder Publishing and available at sites, including Amazon.com.
Put on some sizzling Latin music, serve up some incredible edibles, and have an amazing and easy party… with love and laughter!