Mexican dinner party

I can't believe Labor Day weekend is almost here!  What happened to summer?  I know for me, it went way too quick!  

We decided it was time for a dinner party with our friends Tony and Carrie.  Carrie's family has been making authentic mexican tacos for generations.  She was telling me about it one day and I thought we needed to have a mexican themed dinner.  She is bringing all the needed ingredients to make the tacos so all I have to worry with are the side dishes.  

Mexican food is very easy to make gluten free and a great choice if you are cooking for a lot of people because you can make large amounts of everything.  If you are not sure what to have yet for labor day weekend, maybe this might be fun!

Here is the menu (recipes below)….

Salsa, guacamole and chips 

Chili-Corn Custard Squares


Spicy Black Beans

Rice with summer Squash, Red Peppers, and Roasted Pepitas

Toasted-Coconut Caramel Ice Cream Sundaes

and last but not least, Margaritas!

I got  the recipes from Bon Appetit magazine.  I tried these recipes out first on Mother's Day weekend and they were very good!  The recipes are for 6 people, but could easily be doubled.  I will make my homemade salsa and throw together some simple guacamole.  

  • Chili Corn Custard Squares (print recipe)

    From Bon Appetit Magazine

    serves 6

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour (sub with an all purpose gluten free flour)
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend or 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese mixed with 1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream plus additional for Garnish
  • 1/2 cup canned creamed corn
  • 2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapenoño chiles
  • Tomato salsa (for garnish)

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add finely chopped onion and sauté until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 8x8x2- inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in small bowl. Whisk egg, 1/3 cup cheese blend, 1/2 cup sour cream, creamed corn, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Add flour mixture; stir to blend. Stir in jalapeño and caramelized onions. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup cheese blend over.

Bake until puffed and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool completely. Custard squares can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Cut into 1-inch squares. Place on platter. Top each square with dollop of sour cream, then small spoonful of salsa.


Spicy Black Beans (print recipe)

adapted from Bon Appetit recipe

serves 6


  • 1 1/2 cups dried black beans (about 10 ounces)
  • 2 peeled onions; 1 halved, 1 chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeno
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • salt

For beans: 
Place beans in large saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Let beans soak overnight.

Drain beans. Return to saucepan. Add onion halves, bay leaf, and oregano. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered until beans are very tender, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 to 2 hours (depending on age of beans). Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid. Discard onion halves and bay leaf.

Heat oil in heavy large deep nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add chopped onion to skillet. Cook until soft and golden brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, and cumin and coriander; stir 1 minute. Add beans, 3/4 cup reserved cooking liquid. Stir to distribute evenly. Simmer over medium-low heat until heated through and flavors are blended, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cool, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.


  • Rice with Summer Squash, Red Peppers, and Roasted Pepitas
  • (print recipe)
  • From Bon Appetit magazine
  • serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow zucchini or crookneck squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium green zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice (about 10 ounces)
  • 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons roasted salted shelled pumpkin seeds*
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper, yellow zucchini, and green zucchini; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add rice; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add broth, increase heat to high, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in pumpkin seeds and parsley.


  • Toasted-Coconut Caramel Ice Cream Sundaes (print recipe)

  • From Bon Appetit magazine
  • serves 6

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López)*
  • 1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut (loosely packed; about 3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 pints purchased French vanilla
  • ice cream

Place sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy deep medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high. Boil until mixture turns dark amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 9 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately add cream and sweetened cream of coconut (mixture will bubble vigorously). Whisk over low heat until caramel sauce is blended and smooth and any caramel bits dissolve. do ahead Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and chill. Rewarm slightly over medium heat, stirring often, before using.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut evenly on small baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes, about 12 minutes. Cool. DO AHEAD: Toasted coconut can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Scoop ice cream into bowls. Spoon some of warm caramel sauce over. Sprinkle toasted coconut over and serve immediately.

* Sweetened cream of coconut is available in the liquor section of most supermarkets.

Cooks notes: I will be making homemade ice cream for this recipe.  It's just as good with store bought, but I haven't made homemade ice cream all summer and summer is almost over!  

Hope you all have a wonderful labor day weekend and find some time to get together with family or friends!  Enjoy!!


1 Comment

Filed under Entertaining

One response to “Mexican dinner party

  1. Ooo, you just made me realize that I have nothing planned for the weekend, gulp! But perhaps I will copy you on this Mexican dinner idea…All great sounding recipes. I hope you will share pictures of all the fare from your soiree? Please :)!

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