Time to Fiesta!

When it’s the beginning of May, that means it’s Cinco de Mayo time.  This special day filled with delicious Mexican food, salt-rimmed margaritas and salsa music just says let’s party.  I have been dying to host a Cinco de Mayo or Mexican-themed dinner party for the last few months.  Since I was off this year for the holiday, I thought why not host one, so I asked my in-laws to come over for a special dinner party.

Now that I knew I was having a party, the wheels started turning in my head.  I wanted everything from the table linens to the dishes to the decorations to be bold, fun and bright.   Afterall, Mexican culture exuberates this theme.  I have experienced this on several vacations I have taken to Mexico with friends and family.  So to Pinterest I went and there I found hundreds of fiesta themed party and menu ideas.  Once I decided on a menu and put my grocery list together, everything else went smoothly.  I searched on Party City and Oriental Trading’s websites for a few decorations, however I already had a few that I’ve been collecting over the last several years.

I set up everything in the kitchen and dining areas.  There really wasn’t a reason to have more set up throughout the rest of the house.  These two areas were going to be the focus of the party.  I started with the kitchen island.  I decided I was going to have the appetizers displayed here and eventually dessert.  It’s a nice area to congregate around and of course the food!

The tablecloths for this I bought at Christmas Tree Shops. I already had the red glittery tablecloth that I’ve been using the last several years for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and patriotic holidays.  The bright circle stitched tablecloth I had bought this spring.  The two together worked perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

This buffet dish holder I’ve had for awhile and I’ve used it for several other parties.  I found this pom pom ribbon at Walmart and simply taped it to the handle.  The dishes I also bought at Walmart in their Outdoor Living section.  The colors and design of these melamine plates were perfect for my fiesta.  Lastly, the papel picado banner I found on Pinterest and glued it to twine.  It came out beautifully!

Next up was the bar area.  I set up a small white outdoor table in front of my hutch and covered it with a red round tablecloth my mom had give to me.  I hung bright colored paper fans from Party City from the top of the hutch and also displayed another papel picado banner strung between the fans from the same tutorial.

My tablescape for the dining room table was also in bright colors.  I had another red glittery table cloth I used and the table runner I found on eBay for just $10.  It’s an actual serape table runner from Mexico.  The colors are so vibrant and worked really well for the table.  I originally wanted to host the party outside if the weather permitted, however that didn’t quite work out.  So I brought the melamine dinnerware inside.  The bold floral design salad plates matched with the navy dinner plates perfectly.

These napkin rings I made by hand.  I found a tutorial on Pinterest and they were super easy to make.  All you need is different colored crepe paper streamers and paper toilet roll tubes.  I cut the tubes down to size and wrapped the streamer around that I had cut fringe on.  Simple, easy and gives that piñata vibe.

Now for the food. We’ll start with the appetizers.  I didn’t want to go overboard with the appetizers but I also didn’t want to be stingy and I wanted a little bit of variety.  I served the traditional salsa and chips and added spicy shrimp guacamole bites, Mexican meatballs with a sour cream and salsa dip, Mexican street corn dip with tortilla chips and Mexican fruit cups.

I had been dying to make a Mexican street corn dip.  Last summer, Christopher had made Mexican street corn a few times which is absolutely delicious and I thought why not make a dip.  I found a recipe on Pinterest and it was perfect.  Roasting the corn kernels and chopped jalapeños really gave that extra flavor and the feta cheese used instead of cotija cheese worked out great!  I brought the leftovers to work and everyone raved about it!  If you love Mexican street corn then you’ll love the dip too!

The fruit cups consisted of cantaloupe and honey dew melons, pineapple, watermelon and mango slices drizzled with a little bit of lime juice and topped off with chili powder.  I would have to say that I loved the lime juice with the fruit.  It gave a little bit of tartness, but wasn’t too overpowering. The chili powder gave just a little bit of heat.  The fruit was delicious!

Who doesn’t love meatballs? And who doesn’t love meatballs with a little bit of flair?  I saw this Mexican meatball recipe and knew I had to make them!  I was expecting the chopped jalapeños to give some heat to the balls, but to be honest it wasn’t super spicy.  The dip consisted of equal parts sour cream and salsa, which is super easy and I’d imagine that this dip would pair well with any other Mexican appetizers as well.

The spicy shrimp guacamole bites I was a little bit skeptical about, but they ended up being delicious.  And really easy to make.  You just have to be careful when baking the shrimp in the oven, you don’t want to over bake them which can cause the shrimp to become chewy. However, by some miracle, I did not over cook my shrimp and they came out perfect.  The Tostitos round tortilla chips were perfect for the ‘bite size’ option as well.  And the guacamole and feta cheese rounded out this bite size appetizer.

I made homemade margarita mix and each person could add their own tequila amount.  I heated a few cups of water on the stove, added sugar and stirred until dissolved.  I added equal parts of lime and lemon juices, stirred until mixed and then added a little bit of Sprite to give a little fizz.  And to be honest, it was quite tasty.  I rimmed each glass with salt and voila! A margarita ready to enjoy!

Once we enjoyed the appetizers, it was time for dinner.  Chris’ mom brought a Mexican bean salad which I don’t have the recipe for but it was delicious.  It was a cold salad and tasted so fresh and light.  I made chicken enchiladas and pork carnitas with all the trimmings.  We were pretty full from the appetizers, but it didn’t hurt to have a little taste of dinner too.

The chicken enchiladas were so good.  The filling itself I could have just eaten.  It was cheesy and creamy, it was absolutely delicious.  I made my chicken in the crockpot – placed a few breasts with water in the dish and let it cook for a few hours.  Once done, the chicken pretty much fell apart and was easily shredable.  A rotisserie chicken can easily be used for shredded chicken which makes it quick and super easy as well.

The pork carnitas I started in the morning, bright and early.  I bought a picnic pork butt and placed it in the crockpot and added a few seasonings according to a recipe on Pinterest.  I let it cook all day and when it was ready to be shredded, it just fell apart.  It cooked perfectly.  I served it with corn tortillas and all the trimmings – salsa, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.  It was delicous!

After dabbling a little bit in dinner, we decided to have dessert.  I made three desserts – margarita cheesecake bites, tres leche cupcakes and a churro cheesecake dip with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips.  We were so full from dinner, but sometimes you just need a lil bit of sweetness. 

The margarita cheesecake bites were a little bite of cocktail heaven.  I tweaked the recipe a little bit by using Jell-O brand No Bake Cheesecake mix and then followed the rest of the recipe accordingly.  There is some tequila in these, however I’m sure they would taste just as good without.  The only downfall of these, were how mushy they got.  If I had followed the recipe accordingly, then perhaps they would have had more of a solid consistency. But they were delicious nonetheless.

The tres leche cupcakes were delicious.  I found this easy recipe on Pinterest that used a cake mix that was dockered up.  The icing was cool whip with cinnamon sprinkled on top with a slice of strawberry.  Very quick and easy.  I decided to make cupcakes instead of an actual cake.  I used bright colored cupcake liners to continue with the bright colored theme.  Once the cupcakes had cooled, I poked holes in the cake and poured the milk mixture over it until it had completely absorbed.  The cake was so moist and delectable, it melted in your mouth.

I saved the best for last.  The churro cheesecake dip with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips was awesome.  I had seen these tortilla chips from Tostitos in the grocery store and I knew I had to make a dip to pair with these.  The churro cheesecake dip was perfect.  I used instant cheesecake pudding mix and then followed the rest of the recipe.  I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon on top and voila!  A simple and easy way to enjoy a churro!

After enjoying some sweets we relaxed the rest of the evening.  It was a great Mexican dinner party to celebrate this holiday.  I hope you enjoyed it and will try some of these awesome recipes.




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