Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fabulous At-Home Fiesta

I don’t need an excuse to throw a party, but Cinco de Mayo sure is a good one! Not only is it fun, but it’s EASY. Throw together some chips n’ dip, quesadillas and a pitcher of margs (margaritas) and call it real! This year, I’ve got some super-simple ideas that will be sure to impress.

Individual Mexican Layered Dip

I learned this trick while interning at Southern Living during college. My dear friend, Kate Graham, and I had the opportunity to work on a video shoot for Wal-Mart. We spent two days buying groceries and cooking utensils in massive quantities, became best friends with the Wal-Mart employees (and left 10 lbs. of butter in the photo stylist’s van…overnight…in July), and learned fun new recipes and behind-the-scenes secrets. It was a blast. Except for the butter incident…

Anyway, I loved the idea of individual servings of dip in a martini glass. Turns out, SL was way ahead of their time. In the catering world, EVERYTHING is now served in a mini-this or individual-that.

The how-to is simple. Start with a clean martini glass and coat the rim with a lime. Dip the glass in a shallow dish of red pepper or chili powder, just like you would in salt for a margarita. Shake off the excess. Layer your dip ingredients in the following order:

1. Re-fried beans (I mixed mine with some spicy Rotel to give it an extra kick).
2. Guacamole
3. Sour Cream
4. Shredded Cheese (I used the Fiesta blend, but Cheddar works too!)
5. Jalapenos and homemade baked tortilla chips, for garnish

Feel free to mix it up any way you like–you can add shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, bell peppers, whatever looks good to you! I made homemade tortilla chips in an effort to be somewhat healthy. Take 3-4 tortillas layered on top of one another, cut into 8 triangles (which will give you about 24-32 chips), arrange on a cooking sheet coated with cooking spray, drizzle some olive oil, squeeze some lime, sprinkle salt and pepper, and bake at 350 degrees until nice and crispy (10-12 minutes).

UP NEXT: Italian Margaritas and Mini Salsa Cilantro Bites!