Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mexican Fiesta on NYE!

New Year's Eve is often a letdown for me.  Much money out the door, high hopes of having a perfect nite crushed by the crowd running over me to the bar, and an expensive outfit I'll never get to wear again.  This year, a pregnant friend of mine and I were discussing the same experiences.  We decided to just stay in and have a casual NYE house party among friends.

Since we've been trying to stay on a budget lately, I decided to go with a Mexican theme for 2 reasons: 1) It's fun and festive and 2) it's really inexpensive for Mexican decor and food.

The Budget: $75.  

Materials Bought:
Poster Boards x 3 $2.07 ($.069 each)
Ribbon $1
Party Glasses (Dollar Tree) $1
Dry Erase Board (Dollar Tree) $1
Pom Poms (Dollar Tree) $1
Mustache Pinata  $7.79 (with coupon)
Mustaches $1.19 (with coupon)
Marshmallows (Aldi) $1.89
Strawberries (Publix) 2.50
Bananas (Publix) $0.69
Shortcakes (Publix) $1.99
Champagne (2 bottles) $27.00
Shrimp (Aldi) $7.49
Avocados x 4 (Aldi) $1.96
Tortilla chips (Aldi) $1.29
Pepper Jack Cheese (Aldi) $1.79
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (Aldi) $0.79
Chili Peppers (Aldi) $0.59
Sour Cream (Aldi) $1.79
Dark Chocolate x 2 (Aldi) $3.98

Materials Had:
Canned Pineapple (Aldi)
Mini Chicken Tacos
Sombreros x 2 (Hobby Lobby)
Canned Diced Tomatoes
American Cheese
Mexican Cheese
Whipping Cream
Chocolate Chips
Vanilla Extract
Instant Coffee
Cayenne Pepper

And so with my materials in place I set to work!  Here's the recipes I used for all food:
Adapted from: Dark Chocolate Kahlua Fondue
1 cup dark chocolate
1 TBSP butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup rum (I didn't have Kahlua so this was my sub)
1 TSP instant coffee
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Heat chocolate over double boiler on medium heat.  Add butter and stir until mixed.  Stir in cream and mix well.  Add rum, coffee, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper and stir well.  Serve over fondue pot.
Regular Chocolate Fondue - also seen here
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cocoa powder

Heat a double broiler over medium high heat.  Add all ingredients and stir often until all are mixed and melted, making sure not to burn.  Once all ingredients are melted and sugar is no longer granulated, pour mix into fondue pot.
Adapted from: Shrimp Taco Bites
24 large frozen shrimps, thawed
Non-stick cooking spray
1 tsp Salt
Lime Juice
2 tsp chili powder
2 avocados, diced
1 cup sour cream
2 TBSP chipotle peppers (ground in food processor)
24 tortilla chip scopps

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and place shrimp across.  Combine 1/2 tsp salt and chili powder and sprinkle over shrimp.  Drip lime juice on top of shrimp.  Bake for 7 minutes.  Add salt and lime juice to avocado pieces and add 1-2 onto each tortilla scoop.  Combine sour cream and chipotle pepper and drop a dollop on top of each avocado.  Pull shrimp out and place on top.
The original recipe also adds cilantro but I skipped it since I don't like the flavor.
14 1/2 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup onion, chopped in food processor
1/2 cup sweet roasted red pepper, quick spin in food processor
4 ox canned chili peppers, undrained
1 bar Monterey jack, cubed
6 slices American cheese
1/2 cup Mexican shredded cheese

Place all ingredients in a crock pot and stir up.  Heat on high heat for 1 1/2 hours then stir again. Serve in crock pot with tortilla chips.

Adaped from: Champagne Jell-o Shots
Champagne bottle (mine was 25 oz)
2 TBSP sugar
4 envelopes Knox plain gelatin

Place 15 oz champagne and sugar into pot.  Add gelatin to top and let soften for 2 minutes.  Heat on low for 2-3 minutes until gelatin has completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and add in remaining bottle of champagne.  Using a ladel, pour the mixture through a funnel into the shot glasses (not required but certainly easier and less messy).  Put in refrigerator for at least 1 hour to set.  Add toothpicks and poms for display (the toothpicks will also make it easier to remove the shots).
One fatal mistake I made: not adding sugar to the top like the original recipe.  Champagne is a little bitter and most of us are used to sipping it (not chugging it down), so definitely don't skip this tip!

I made a balloon chandelier for $2 by blowing up balloons and then hanging them from the ceiling.  I made the 2015 sign by cutting out the numbers on 3 pieces of poster board and then taping the mini balloons to the numbers.  Taped to the wall this became our "photo booth."

I served chips out of one of my sombreros and then put some dips and salsas brought by the guests into my Margarita glasses.  I also sliced up some fruit and shortbread and served the dipping options next to the fondue.  I also had a bunch of chicken tacos from Costco we were struggling to finish so I threw those out on the plate as well.  

At about 11 PM my husband sent out a group text inviting the guests to the garage.  To everyone's surprise - we had a pinata.  This ended up being hilarious because the bat we had for Hudson was much smaller than a realized.  Still, we managed to get the pinata broken and everyone enjoyed a turn.

The photo booth was also a success - everyone got a turn to write their NY resolution on the white board and we took turns taking serious and goofy photos.  

In the end I stayed within my $75 budget ($50 without alcohol) and the party was a hit - especially our little pinata surprise.  This could also all be used for a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta this May!  Happy New Year y'all!

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