I love throwing parties, and the bigger, the better. I always start with a theme of some kind, and then go from there. With summer here, I’ll be entertaining a lot, and more important than anything, I need to be organized. I am a list-maker. The first thing I do when I decide to host a party is start with my “list” of things to do. “Polish silver, get candles, select wines, order balloons, rent tables, press tablecloths…”. The list occasionally goes on and on! And I haven’t even gotten to the menu yet!
The key to any successful party is advance preparation. The more you can do before, the more relaxed and able to enjoy your party you will be. Which brings to mind a dear friend who, pressed for time after cooking all day for a dinner party (and faced with a very dirty kitchen and guests soon to arrive) had to put all of her dirty dishes and pots and pans into the garage to clean later! When I complemented her on how organized she was, she reluctantly admitted why her car wasn’t parked in the garage that night!
A great summer party theme is a “Mexican Fiesta”. I would like to share with you my favorite Mexican “party” dish. It can be made in advance and frozen if necessary, and can be tripled or quadrupled to serve a crowd! (My cousin served this to 150 people at her rehearsal dinner!) Add some cold and frothy Margaritas, chips and salsa and a mariachi band and you have a perfect summer party! (Don’t forget the Kahlua and coffee!)
Mexican Chicken Tortilla Casserole
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
12 6″ corn tortillas, cut to bite size
1-4 oz. can diced green chiles, drained
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup jack cheese, grated
1 cup bottled salsa (your favorite)
In a medium saucepan combine onion, broth, celery and cilantro. Boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, stir together undrained onion mixture, tortillas, diced chiles, chicken, soup, pepper and 1/2 cup of cheese. Pour into greased 13″x9″x2″ baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and salsa. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Serves 10.