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Southwest Style Dinner

We believe in keeping entertaining at home fun for everyone - even the cook! It's easy to get caught up in the "production" of an elaborate and complicated menu or recipe with the results being neglected guests, an unhappy cook and nobody having a really good time. The mantra to repeat when entertaining at home is one that a good friend of ours applies to most everything in life "Proper Prior Preparation Prevents P*** Poor Performance". While the language is a bit salty, the sentiment certainly holds true for entertaining.

This Southwest Style Dinner lends itself to fun yet elegant entertaining. Create a festive ambience with Latino music, colorful tablecloths and napkins and table decorations made of pumpkins, gourds, tomatoes, indian corn and other items appropriate to the season. If you don't have colorful serving pieces such as platters and trays, check out the houseware department at Ross. They have an great array of ceramic pieces at very affordable prices.

The menu is straightforward and full of spicy flavors such as cumin, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onion. Much of the prep work can be done the day before or earlier the day of the party. The Salsa Fresca, refried beans*, Chili Cubano or Chili Con Carne and Carrot Nut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting can all be made in advance. That leaves only the Spicy Corn Salad and Navajo Fry Bread to be done and both of these recipes are quickly prepared. And, you can simplify even further if time doesn't permit the preparation of guacamole, salsa or even the chili. Use your own judgement and purchase good quality prepared foods.

Start off with the classic combo of chips (you can purchase delicious multi-color tortilla chips from Carmen's and her salsas if you order in advance - call 472-7823), salsas and dips. For the adults have a selection of Mexican beers and choose a zinfandel for the wine lovers. Lemonade or iced tea is good for the kids and non-drinkers.

The meal can be served buffet style where each guest helps themself to Navajo Fry Bread and tops it with Chili or refried beans, salsa, cheese, sour cream and guacamole as desired or you can serve family style if you prefer.

Whatever you do, your guests will be delighted and you will have plenty of time to enjoy the company of friends over a hearty and tasty meal. Ole!

Suggested Menu

*Canned refried beans are easily dressed up by sauteeing onions then adding beans, chopped fresh tomato, salt to taste, some grated cheese and heating through until the cheese melts. Prepare the beans a day ahead, refrigerate and reheat before serving to create maximum flavor.

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Southwest Style Dinner

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