Tag Archives: party food

Adaptable Taco Salad Bowl

With Cinco De Mayo right around the corner, this quick riff on taco salad might just be the ticket for dinner. Having a small party? Then just double the recipe and you can feed up to eight. Let guests prepare their own, layering on just the right ingredients to suit their own preferences. This way it appeals to vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

Don’t eat red meat? Substitute ground turkey. Follow a vegetarian lifestyle? Swap out the meat for refried beans. Not into hot and spicy? Omit the jalapeños, and use a mild taco seasoning and salsa. Can’t tolerate raw onion? Cook it with the ground meat to eliminate some of the pungency.

Another fun twist is using beer instead of water when you add the seasoning to the ground meat. As you can see, this salad is very adaptable. I like to start with a layer of lettuce, followed by the meat mixture and cheese, then the peppers, tomatoes, onion, and olives. To finish, add a bit more meat and cheese, and a final topping of jalapeños and sour cream, if using,

To up the party ambiance, plate it all on some fun and festive picnic ware!

Adaptable Taco Salad Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 tostada bowls
  • 1 1⁄4 lbs. ground beef or turkey (or refried beans if going vegetarian)
  • 3 Tbsp. homemade or packaged taco seasoning
  • 3⁄4 cup water, or beer
  • 1⁄2 cup salsa (your favorite brand)
  • 1 head iceberg or Bibb lettuce, torn into 2-3″ pieces
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1⁄2 each large red and yellow bell pepper, cut into 1⁄4 dice
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1⁄2 red onion, cut into 1⁄4 dice
  • 1⁄2 cup black and/or green pitted olives, sliced thin
  • 1⁄2 cup pickled jalapeños, 1⁄4 slices, then chopped
  • Sour cream for garnish, optional

Directions

  • Prep all ingredients.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, brown the ground meat until there is no more pink, making sure to break up any large chunks.
  • Add the taco seasoning and the water (or beer), and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until it thickens. Add the salsa to the meat mixture and heta through.
  • While the meat is thickening, prepare the tostada bowls starting with a layer of torn lettuce.
  • Next, top with some meat and cheese, then add any of the other ingredients you prefer. Finish with another layer of ground meat and cheese, and top with sour cream and jalapeños, if desired.

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Warm Artichoke-and-Feta Dip

This is one of the easiest appetizers to make, thanks Trisha Yearwood! Instead of canned artichokes, we used the marinated jarred version, and we sprinkled some paprika on top for a touch of color and even more depth of flavor.

To lighten our load on the day of the party, the dish was made and put in a small casserole dish covered with foil, then refrigerated overnight. About an hour before it went into a 350° oven, it sat on the countertop to warm up. Make sure to uncover the dish before popping it in the oven.

Artichoke-and-Feta Dip

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • One 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
  • 5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2-oz. jarred roasted red peppers, drained and diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • Paprika for topping, optional
  • Sea salt pita chips, for dipping 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the artichoke hearts, feta, mayonnaise, Parmesan, red pepper and garlic until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle paprika on top, if desired.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a small casserole or glass pie plate and bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  4. To serve, place the dish on a larger platter and surround with pita chips.

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Adapted from a recipe by Trisha Yearwood

Sausage-Cheddar Balls

Party time! While these look amazingly like mini-meatballs, they are actually biscuits! This reinterpretation of meatballs combines breakfast sausage, cheddar cheese, and onion for a very flavorful holiday appetizer, enough for a crowd of hungry folks.

You can opt to serve them alone or with your choice of dipping sauces, such as mustard or barbecue sauce. Our opinion was that they packed enough flavor by themselves, so a dipping sauce didn’t seem necessary.

The only change we made was using one small onion as opposed to half of a large one. Unfortunately, the balls sat in the oven a bit too long while we tended to other things so the bottoms got a touch crusty—which some guests actually preferred!

Sausage-Cheddar Balls

  • Servings: 60 balls
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar (1/2 lb.)
  • 1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, grated on large holes of a box grater
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and baking powder. Add cheddar and toss to coat.
  3. Add sausage, onion, and butter. With your hands, mix until well combined and roll mixture into 1-inch balls.
  4. Place balls, 1/2 inch apart, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until balls are golden and cooked through, 25 minutes. Serve warm.

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Recipe by Martha Stewart Living