End-of-Season Party: Mexican Food Recipes

Whether you’re in charge of the team dinner or a contributor to the food and beverage needs, you’re likely in the “how can I get this done quickly?” mentality. I know I always am, and I want to share with you some tried-and-true fast and delicious recipes you can whip up and receive rave reviews. And, these tasty dishes won’t break the bank.

To keep the party simple, follow these guidelines:

  • Themed parties are the easiest to coordinate with parents, because most people have favorite recipes or know where to pick up something that works within the theme.

  • Prepare a dish that holds well at room temperature conditions.

  • Depending on the size of the party and number of adult-to-children ratio, plan for a main course, side dish and salad.

  • Always try to have appetizers and desserts in bite-size portions.

  • It’s a good idea to have others bring their dishes ready to serve in a container with utensils.

  • When you take a dish to a party, label the utensil and serving dish.

Mexican-Theme Party

Check out this menu, which serves 20: Soft Tacos with Chile Cheese Chicken, Blender Guacamole, Salsa Verde, Watermelon Salad, and Roasted Potatoes with Boursin Cheese and Jalapeños.

Soft Tacos with Chile Cheese Chicken

  • 2 dozen corn tortillas or store-bought crispy taco shells

  • 20 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • Salt, pepper and chile powder

  • 2 large (15 oz) cans diced hatch green chiles (or fresh in summer)

  • 1 pound grated mixed Mexican cheeses

  • 5 limes, halved

  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Split each chicken breast horizontally without going all the way through the breast, hence creating a pocket. Season the top and inside of each breast with salt, pepper and chile powder. Place the breast on the baking sheet and stuff the inside pocket with green chiles. Top the chicken breasts with cheese and squeeze a half lime over the cheese.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove. Let rest for five minutes. Meanwhile, wrap the tortillas in a damp cloth and microwave for one minute. Thinly slice the chicken breasts and serve with the warmed tortillas.

Keep the tortillas soft during the party by wrapping in a cloth. These tacos are delicious served with guacamole, salsa and fajita vegetables.

Blender Guacamole

  • 6 avocados, peeled and pitted

  • 10 tomatillo, peeled

  • 4 jalapeños, stems removed

  • 1/2 white onion

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 bunch cilantro

  • 4 limes, juiced

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Place the avocados, tomatillos, jalapeños, onion and garlic in the jar of a blender and puree until smooth. Add the cilantro, lime juice and salt, and pulse until smooth. Pour into a serving dish and serve with tortilla chips.

To store, place in a container and squeeze lime juice over the top of the guacamole and insert two avocado pits in the center. This will keep for two to three days. Yield: 4 cups.

Salsa Verde

  • 22 tomatillos, skins removed

  • 2 jalapeños, stems removed

  • 1/2 white onion

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro

  • 2 limes, juiced

  • Salt

Place the tomatillos and jalapeños in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. When the tomatillo skins burst, remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the tomatillos and jalapenos out with a slotted spoon. Reserve some of the liquid. Let cool to make sure the salsa attains a vibrant green color.

In a blender place the rest of the ingredients with the tomatillos and purée until smooth. Yield: 3 cups.

Watermelon Salad

  • 2 baby seedless watermelon, rind removed

  • 6 ounces pine nuts

  • 8 ounces crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese

  • 3 limes, juiced

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • Pinch of salt

  • Mint leaves, finely chopped (optional)

Cut the watermelon into 1-inch pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add in the pine nuts. Toast until the nuts turn a golden brown color. Watch carefully so the nuts don’t burn. Remove from the heat and let cool. Mix together the lime juice, honey and salt.

Just before serving, toss the watermelon with the pine nuts and cheese and toss gently. Pour on the lime dressing and mint. Toss gently so as not to break up the watermelon cubes. Serve immediately.

Roasted Potatoes with Boursin Cheese and Jalapeños

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut into small wedges

  • 5 jalapeños, seeded and chopped

  • 2 packages Boursin cheese, crumbled

  • Salt and pepper

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with extra virgin olive oil and add the potatoes and jalapeños. Over medium high heat, roast for 10 minutes turning when browned. Continue cooking until the potatoes are fork tender. Just before serving, add the crumbled Boursin cheese and gently toss. Cook over low heat for five minutes.You can add jalapeños or crisp bacon for flavor.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Kathy Smith for this story and recipes. Kathy is a chef and freelance writer who specializes in writing about food and fitness.

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