Ladies I need your culinary expertise!

  1. Well, not really, but I do need your expertise!

    In two weeks we are having a Chili-Showdown party. Yeah, you read right! :yes:

    everything from ground meat, turkey & tofu chili will be served.

    this will be our house warming AND dh's birthday party as well. (well, the bday party he does not know....shhh....surprise :supacool:)

    anyway, I wanted to do something different & we didn't want any gifts. Hence the name instead of "Come To Our House Warming"

    along with the chili I'll also serve corn bread.

    but what else should we have that goes with chili??


    for drinks we're doing margarita's, wine & beer.

    should I do a mexican theme? I can't go too crazy with tons of different food bc 35 plus ppl will be here. I want to enjoy the party as well as all our guests.

    ANY IDEAS?!?!

  2. You don't have to go all-out Mexican, but you could serve slices of watermelon.

    And maybe you could set out bowls of tortilla chips beforehand.
  3. Oh yeah, ty for the reminder! :smile: I will definitely have things already set out prior to the chili.

    For e.g., veggie platters, tortilla's, fresh fruit, etc.
  4. You must have all of the chili accompaniments: Nice, crusty bread, chopped onions (I prefer green onions to add color), sour cream, shredded cheese. Perhaps some chopped jalapenos in case the chili isn't hot enough. Some people like crackers, some like to put their chili over pasta.
  5. just gave me an idea! TY!

    anyone else?
  6. Guacamole!! It has a nice cooling effect! I wouldn't put it on the chili, but it can be eaten with the chips.
  7. My favorite accompaniment for chili is cornbread! It really is such a "meal in itself" that it doesn't need much of anything else.

    What you might do is have a cornbread bar, with all different kinds of cornbread, shapes, of course, little mini-muffins, big squares, those "stick" things embossed like an ear of corn, but also flavors, have jalapeno cornbread, cheese cornbread, pecan, onion, etc in addition to plain, and be sure and put out both butter and I Can't Believe it Costs More Than Butter so that people can feel better about eating that big ol' piece of cornbread because after all, they didn't put butter on it!

    Depending on your time/help/energy/money matrix, you might want to ask a local bakery to do the cornbread bar for you, and you just go pick it up and set it out, with little labels so you don't have to keep telling people which ones have what.

    You might do a big bowl of salad, just get salad in a bag, and let people add other ingredients to it from the same bowls of stuff they will be putting on their chili. I would keep dressings simple, have a vinaigrette, a ranch, and a sweet selection, Catalina is my favorite of the sweet ones, or you could do that lemon poppy seed one, whatever you like best.

    And if some of your guests are of that ilk that don't like a lot of flavor in their food, definitely put out dishes of different chiles, habaneros, raw jalapenos (whole and sliced) as well as the canned kind, for the people who like those best, some of those delicious little Thai/South Asian chiles, and I would put some dishes with chopped "banana" peppers and different colors of sweet bell peppers so that even the no or low flavor contingent can sprinkle "peppers" on their chili and feel like they are walking on the wild side!

    I really like the watermelon idea. You could just cut it in half, scoop out some balls, and fill the halves with the balls of melon, some strawberries, chunks of mango and pineapple, a couple of other kinds of melon, sprinkle some small berries, raspberries, blue, blackberries around, and you end up with something that looks festive, fresh and light, and has a lot of fruit in it!

    Set out some dishes of Splenda, sugar, sour cream, yogurt, lemon wedges, and let people mix up their own fruit salads.

    You shouldn't feel tied to a Mexican theme, chili is not really Mexican food, though I guess it could be said to be vaguely Inspired by Mexican food, but come to think of it, most parties with a Mexican theme could be said to be vaguely Inspired.... ;)