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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mexican Dinner Party

We had a great time at our Mexican-themed summer party yesterday.  It was a wonderful day to sit outside and enjoy the warm weather.  Many of our friends asked for recipes for the food served, so I compiled them all here!  All the food prepared was gluten-free, and the desserts can also be made vegan with a butter substitute. Everything was also soy-free.




Starters

Berry Sangria

1 bottle blueberry wine (I used Boyden Valley from VT)
1 bottle cranberry wine (I used Boyden Valley from VT)
2 shots brandy
2 tablespoons sugar
2 oranges, sliced
2 cups mixed frozen berries
1-2 bottles seltzer

In a large pitcher, dissolve the sugar in the brandy.  Add in the wine, oranges and berries, stir well and let sit for at least a few hours to chill.  Add seltzer when ready to serve.

Taco Dip (Gluten-Free)

1 (8 ounce) package Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) container Greek yogurt
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix (I used Trader Joe’s)
1/4 head iceberg lettuce - rinsed, dried and shredded
1 cup shredded Mexican Blend cheese
3 chopped tomatoes

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning with an electric mixer. Spread this mixture in a 9-inch (or a little larger) round serving dish. Top the mixture with lettuce, Cheddar cheese and tomatoes.  I made a double batch of this recipe for the party, and put it in a 9x13 dish.

Main Course
We combined all the taco fixings below into hard and soft corn tortillas, along with shredded lettuce, tomato, cilantro, shredded cheese, bell peppers salsa and guacamole.

Salsa Chicken (Gluten-Free)

6 large chicken breasts
1 cup salsa (I used Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa)
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (I used Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning Mix)

Add raw, skinless, boneless chicken along with salsa and taco seasoning to your slow cooker, and mix well to combine.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours until fork tender, shred the chicken with 2 forks, mix with sauce.

Mexican Steak (Gluten-Free)

2 pounds flank or skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat
4 garlic cloves, minced or 2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 orange, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

 
Combine all marinade ingredients in a large 9x13 baking dish and mix well.  Add the steak and make sure to coat both sides well with the marinade.  Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 8 hours, so the flavors can sink into the meat. Don't marinate the steak for more than 8 hours, or it will get mushy.  Grill to desired doneness.

Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin (Gluten-Free)

For the party, I made it soy free as well with a soy sauce substitute, but below is the normal recipe that uses tamari in place of soy sauce.

1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch garlic powder
2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins

Place tamari, brown sugar, sherry, dried onion, cinnamon, olive oil, and a touch of garlic powder in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal, and shake to mix. Place pork in bag with marinade, seal, and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.  Grill to desired doneness.

Mexican Bean Salad (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

In a large bowl, combine beans, bell peppers and frozen corn.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, salt, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and black pepper. Season to taste with chili powder.
Pour olive oil dressing over vegetables; mix well. Chill thoroughly, and serve cold.

Desserts
Many of the Mexican desserts I found had marshmallows in them.  I modified the standard "Crazy Chocolate Cake" recipe to make it a Mexican cake.  I also decided Rice Krispies treats would be fitting with the marshmallows!

Crazy Mexican Chocolate Cake (Gluten-Free and Vegan)
This cake is vegan, but frosting is not.  The frosting could be vegan with a butter substitute.

3 cups gluten-free baking mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup oil
(I used organic canola oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons white vinegar

2 cups cold water


1 cup chocolate chips

Mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet ones, and mix until smooth.  (I beat it for about 1 minute with a mixer.)  Add in chocolate chips last.

Prepare pan(s) by greasing and flouring lightly.  Pour into 24 cupcake pans, two 9-inch pans, or one 9x13-inch pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes (cupcakes), 30 minutes (9-inch) or 50 minutes (9x13). Test with a toothpick to make sure it is done all the way through.  Cool completely.  Ice with frosting recipe below.

Mexican Frosting (Gluten-Free)

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 jar (7 or 7 1/2 oz) marshmallow cream (such as Marshmallow Fluff)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Beat butter in a large bowl with mixer on medium until creamy. On low speed, beat in cocoa. Beat in marshmallow cream, then confectioners' sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Spread onto cake.

Maple Rice Krispies Bars (Gluten-Free)
These could also be made vegan with a butter substitute.

1/4 cup butter
35 large marshmallows
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 cups Gluten-Free Rice Krispies

In a large saucepan, slowly melt the butter.  Add in the marshmallows and slowly melt, until smooth and no lumps.  Add in maple syrup and then the Rice Krispies.  Combine well and then spread into a greased 9x13 pan with a spatula and a piece of waxed paper.

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