Friday, December 14, 2012

Taco Party Menu

Recent taco party for our friend Cheryl (she's a Sea Hawk fan)
Tacos are an easy crowd pleaser and you can pretty much do everything the day before and enjoy the party. The only cooking to do is heating up the tortillas.

Here's what I had to make my party a big hit.

Hamburger (browned and seasoned the night before)
Taco Seasoning
Refried beans (Taco Bell fat-free)
Spanish Rice (will post recipe later)
Salsa (green, red and homemade cabbage salsa)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Tortilla chips to dip in cabbage salsa
Tortilla shells (corn and flour)
Parmesan cheese (to sprinkle on fried flour tortillas)

Ice cream or sherbet

Root beer, Sprite and Cola (remember to pick up ice)
Always have a fresh pot of coffee on

When I'm having friends over for a party, I do ask each to bring something to contribute. My friends brought the tomatoes, homemade cabbage salsa, cheese, chips, ice cream and soda. I placed the meat, beans, and Spanish rice in my 3-pot crock pot to serve buffet style. I will definitely do this theme party again. It was easy and everybody loved it. I always keep all the ingredients on hand just in case a guest can't make it to the party unexpectedly or arrives late. I've learned from experience that missing an important element of the meal can really make for an anxious cook. 
Notes: I prepared the meat the night before, adding the seasoning and placing it in the crock pot in the fridge overnight. I also made the Spanish rice and it went into the crock pot. The night of the party, I opened up 4 cans of refried beans into the third crock pot. I got home from work and heated each crock pot in the microwave for about 10 minutes and placed them on the warmers. Everything was piping hot when my guests arrived. A friend helped me fry up the corn tortillas and we warmed the flour shells in the microwave for a minute. Instant party!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Party on a Plate Cream Cheese & Crackers

1 tub of fat-free cream cheese
1 tsp. dry Italian Seasons salad dressing
1/4 c finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Mix the cream cheese and seasoning together and refrigerate for at least an hour if you can. Fat free cream cheese is much softer than regular and harder to form into a ball but it can be done! You can even place it in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes to get it good and cold.
Form mixture into a ball and roll in the chopped nuts. Place on a plate and serve with your favorite crackers.
This is a great potluck item that you can throw together quickly. I like to keep a good supply of the above ingredients on-hand during the holidays so I have nice, quick dish to take along. You can place the cream cheese mixture in a bowl if you are in a hurry and don't have time to cool it down enough to form a ball.
You can add finely chopped baby shrimp to this. 
Get creative. Don't have nuts on-hand? Try rolling your cheese ball in some dried parsley.  Or serve it without the nuts. 
This is a party favorite!