Mexican Appetizer & Drink Recipes | The Daily Dish

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Mexican Appetizer & Drink Recipes

Best Margarita Recipes to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

2 Comments | Written on May 3, 2013 at 12:00 am , by

How great is it that Cinco de Mayo is on a weekend this year?  If you ask me, it’s time to start mixing the margaritas right now!  Today I have assembled 10 of the best margarita recipes I know.  Some are on the rocks, others are blended.  Pick your favorites and get ready for a fiesta this weekend!

Keep reading for the recipes…

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Tropical Pink Sangria Recipe

No Comments | Written on April 18, 2013 at 12:00 am , by

This time of year is my absolute favorite in Southern California.  The sun is shining, there is a light breeze in the air, and it isn’t too hot outside just yet.  Days like today all I want to do is sit out on the patio and sip a glass of perfectly chilled rosé wine.

Every once in a while I like to have a little fun and turn a bottle of white zinfandel or rosé into Pink Sangria.  This sangria recipe has a tropical twist that is easy to make and even easier to sip and enjoy!

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Top 13 Mexican Recipes

2 Comments | Written on March 14, 2013 at 12:00 am , by

Since the recipe contest theme this week is Mexican (and a huge hit so far, by the way!) I wanted to do a roundup of some of my favorite Mexican-inspired recipes from The Daily Dish.  Take a peek and be sure to enter your Best Mexican Recipe Ever in the contest this week!

Keep reading for 13 of our favorite Mexican-inspired recipes!

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A Drink with George Clooney…

No Comments | Written on February 26, 2013 at 5:00 am , by

Let me tell you about the time I had a drink with George Clooney!  Well, kind of…

This Sunday I had the honor and privilege of covering the Academy Awards from backstage in the press room at the Dolby Theatre.  What a night!  My favorite part was seeing the winners, walking in with their Oscar in hand, simply glowing.  We are able to ask them a few questions before they are whisked back to their seats or off to an after party.

The show concluded with Best Picture to “Argo.”  This meant, in mere moments, Ben Affleck and George Clooney would soon be within arms reach of my seat in the front row of the press room.

Keep reading for the rest of the story…

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How to Make Guacamole

3 Comments | Written on February 23, 2013 at 12:00 am , by

This recipe for fresh guacamole is so good, it could win an Oscar!  Literally…

On Sunday when the Academy hand out their annual awards, I am most excited to see who wins the “Animated Short” category.  Sure, I’ll be excited to see Hugh Jackman looking dapper, and thrilled to find out who takes home Best Picture, but this little category is of particular interest to foodies this year!   

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Warm Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salsa

3 Comments | Written on October 18, 2012 at 12:00 am , by

The winning recipe from our “Mexican” contest is not only fresh and easy, it is also seasonal and healthy!  Imagine everything you love about a thick and chunky salsa combined with the flavors of fall.

This “Warm Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salsa” from Tina Verrelli is a creative and versatile dish that you are sure to make over and over again!

Keep reading to find out how this unique and healthy homemade salsa won our latest contest!  

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Chile Chicken Enchilada Dip

16 Comments | Written on September 27, 2012 at 5:00 am , by

Football season is underway and you know what that means…Game Day Foods!   This ooey gooey cheesy dip earned top honors in our recent “Game Day” recipe contest.  If you love chicken enchiladas, wait until you try this Chile Chicken Enchilada Dip!

 Keep reading for the recipe.  Grab some chips and dive in!  

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Untraditional Christmas Appetizer Recipes

17 Comments | Written on December 14, 2011 at 5:00 am , by

Do you have a holiday guest who is gluten-free?  Maybe you invited a vegan friend over for a cocktail party?  Traditional holiday fare can be tough when dealing with a variety of dietary restrictions.  No worries!  I have a list of my top 5 favorite appetizer recipes – each of which is great not only for those on a special diet, but ones anyone can enjoy!

Take a look at my Top 5 Untraditional Christmas Appetizer Recipes for Special Diets:


This Gluten-Free Fiesta Dip with Homemade Corn Chip “Stars” is a great addition to any holiday menu.  Everyone will love the spicy dip and the star-shaped chips make the recipe even more festive!

Gluten-Free Fiesta Dip


8 ounce package block-style cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup hot taco sauce

4 ounce can chopped green chiles

2 Tablespoons chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt


Chili powder for dusting

Chopped cilantro

Gluten-free chips for dipping


Combine all ingredients except garnish and chips.  Spoon into serving bowl; dust with chili powder and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.  Serve with tortilla chips, corn chips, or homemade baked chips.

*To make homemade corn chip “stars” I used a star-shaped cookie cutter and my favorite brand corn tortillas.  I lightly spritzed them with olive oil and baked at 350 until crispy!


Healthy and adorable!  This Vegan “Christmas Tree” Veggie Plate with Hummus is prepared without any animal products.

 Vegan “Christmas Tree” Veggie Plate with Hummus


Your favorite homemade or prepared hummus

Broccoli florets (reserve stem)

Cauliflower florets

Cherry or Grape tomatoes

Garnish:  Slice of starfruit, or yellow bell pepper cut in a star shape


On a large serving platter, spread a layer of your favorite homemade or prepared hummus.  Lightly press the broccoli florets into the hummus in the shape of a Christmas tree.  Use the reserved broccoli stem to make the tree trunk.  Use the cauliflower florets to fill in all the blank space on the platter.  Garnish the broccoli “tree” with cherry or grape tomatoes and top with a slice of starfruit!  (If starfruit in unavailable, simply cut a yellow bell pepper into the shape of a star.)


Bottled cocktail sauce can be laden with extra sugars or high fructose corn syrup.  This recipe for Shrimp Cocktail with Spicy Sugar-Free Cocktail Sauce tastes so much better and can be enjoyed by everyone!

Shrimp Cocktail with Spicy Sugar-Free Cocktail Sauce


6 ounce can tomato paste

1/4 cup Spicy V-8 Vegetable Juice

1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt


Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until well blended.   Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour to blend flavors.  Adjust seasonings, if needed.  You can make it as spicy as you like!  Serve with cooked cold shrimp with tails.  Make the shrimp even more festive by wrapping them with chive “bows!”


Bite-sized appetizers are always fun for a party.  In this recipe, the “cups” are made out of sliced turkey!   Everyone will love these Low-Carb Turkey-Spinach Cups.

Low Carb Turkey-Spinach Cups


24 slices refrigerated deli-style shaved smoked turkey or oven-roasted turkey slices

10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/2 cup pre-shredded Italian blend cheese

1/3 cup Garden Vegetable flavor tub-style cream cheese spread

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place one turkey slice into each of 24 miniature muffin pan cups. Press and form into a cup shape with high sides.  Combine all remaining ingredients until well blended.  Spoon a couple teaspoons into each turkey cup.  Bake for 15 minutes or until filling is hot and edges of turkey start to brown slightly.  Serve warm.


You don’t even need a recipe to make these Veggie “Chicken” Bites with Festive Garnish!  Holiday guests will love the splash of color and burst of flavor.

Veggie “Chicken” Bites with Festive Garnish


Vegetarian “Chicken” Patties

Cherry tomatoes, halved

Green onion, sliced

Parmesan cheese, grated

Sour cream

Jalapeno peppers, sliced

Red pepper, sliced


Prepare “chicken” patties according to package directions.  Slice into quarters.  Top half  of the wedges with cherry tomatoes, green onion and Parmesan cheese.  Top the other half of the wedges with a dollop of sour cream, jalapeno slices and thin slices of red pepper.  Serve with toothpicks.

Grill-Off “Wild Card” Winner – Grilled Nachos

4 Comments | Written on August 2, 2011 at 5:00 am , by

Some recipes just say “PARTY!”  I mean look at those nachos…a warm summer day, out on the patio, a few good friends and a couple of cold drinks.  What more do you need!  This unique and enticing recipe was named the winner in the “Wild Card” week of the Better Recipes Grill-Off.   We celebrated burgers, chicken and fish on the grill and the last week was a free for all.  I never would have expected grilled nachos!  Congratulations to our latest winner, Julie Merriman!


First, ears of corn are grilled and the succulent and smoky kernels are added to the nachos.  I recently read this great tip for removing the kernels from an ear of corn.  Take a bundt pan and use the center hole to stabilize the ear.  Then, as you cut off the kernels they simply fall in to the pan!


Chips, chicken, beans and veggies are layered in a disposable foil pan and the entire concoction is placed on the grill and covered for 10 minutes.  The cheese melts and that enticing grilled flavor we love is infused into every bite.  This recipe is not only unique and delicious, it is fun!


GRILLED NACHOS (click here to view and print recipe)


  • 13 oz bag tortilla shells
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 15 oz can refried black beans
  • 1 cup prepared salsa
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 ears corn on cob
  • 3 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 cup nacho jalapenos
  • 1 cup black olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 cup purchased taco sauce
  • 1 small red onion, small dice
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Sour cream for serving


Preheat grill to medium high. Place tortilla chips in an 8 X 12 foil pan. In a saute pan, add shredded chicken, refried beans, salsa, chili powder and cumin. Mix well and cook until heated through. Place corn on grill and cook, turning often, until grill marks appear, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and cut corn from cob. To assemble and cook, spoon chicken mixture over top of the chips. Top with corn, cheese, jalapeno and olives. Place on grill and cover. Cook until cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and top with a drizzle of taco sauce, red onion and tomatoes. Serve with a dish of sour cream on the side.

Number of Servings: 6


Once again, congratulations Julie!  How did you come up with your winning recipe?  Do you often grill non-traditional items?

“I am forever looking for new recipes to cook and new and different ways to cook things.  Grilling is one of my all time favorite ways to cook.  This recipe came about as we were planning a family picnic – I didn’t want the same old picnic fare and we had all been talking about nachos at an earlier discussion, so I had nachos on the brain.  One thing lead to another, and the next thing I knew, I was cooking nachos on the grill!  I love to prepare pizza and fruit on the grill as well – really, you can cook just about anything on a grill.”

Why do you think your recipe stood out to the judges?

“I think this recipe was selected because its one of those things that you would not ever think to cook on a grill.  I mean really….nachos on the grill??  How crazy!  Yet I look back now and say I can’t believe that I didn’t think of this earlier – its such a fun thing to cook (and eat!) and what could be better than a big plate of messy nachos and fun in the sun outside?”

I am with you there!  Tell us, as a Better Recipes veteran, do you have any advice for others interested in entering our recipe contests?

“One of the best pieces of advice that was given to me was always have pen and paper nearby to write down ideas.  I get ideas all the time just by watching tv and having paper to write down all my ideas helps me remember the concept when I go to the kitchen to create the recipe.  Also, never doubt a recipe idea or concept you have – I have seen some recipes that I would never have considered or thought would win, and then it wins!! You never know the palates or minds of the judges!!”


Do you have any other kitchen tips, recipe advice or culinary wisdom to share with the Better Recipes readers?

As the french say – Mise en Place – everything in its place.  I think its very important to have everything ready to go for the recipe before you begin cooking.  You don’t want to find out you are out of something after you have already started the recipe!  Also, reading the entire recipe before beginning is important, as well as working clean.  Most important of all – have fun!!  Cooking should be fun and shared with others!”

Well, we sure are glad you decided to share this recipe with all of us!  Congratulations!

Now that you have nachos on the brain, check out these other creative concoctions from a few of my blogging buddies!

Pasta Nachos from Endless Simmer

Creamy Salsa and Black Bean Nachos from Picky Palate

Fruit Nachos from The Twisted Kitchen

Buffalo Chicken Nachos from Piccante Dolce

Sandra Lee’s Halloween Tips and Graveyard Dips!

1 Comment | Written on October 22, 2010 at 5:00 am , by

This Sunday October 24th at 11:30am ET/PT on Food Network, the “Queen of Halloween,” Sandra Lee, will wow viewers with a special “Renaissance Halloween” episode of Semi-Homemade featuring five costumes created by legendary designer, Bob Mackie.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Sandra about her tips for costumes, decorations and, of course, recipes for Halloween.  I was even able to ask a few questions on behalf of our Facebook and Twitter fans!  She also told me all about her brand new cookboook, filled with 1001 semi-homemade recipes.

Facebook fans Rebecca and Jaymie both inquired about Sandra’s matching sets, wardrobe and tablescapes.  Sandra explained that coordinating wardrobe and sets is not a new concept.  If you look back at old episodes of the Lawrence Welk Show, Donny and Marie or Sonny and Cher, they often did the same thing.  Sandra likes the idea of showing viewers what’s possible and appeal to a wide variety of different tastes!

Tina wanted me to ask Sandra about appetizer ideas for Halloween.  Sandra said that when it comes to appetizers, the best bet is to stick with the classic favorites.  Who doesn’t love cocktail wieners wrapped in puff pastry and dipped in mustard?  Or a warm round of brie cheese topped with cranberry chutney?  As easy as these appetizers are, they are always a crowd pleaser!

Here are a few other tips Sandra shared during our conversation:

Decorations: You can buy everything you need at the grocery store!  Pumpkins, mums and even small bales of hay create great Fall tablescapes that can carry you from Halloween all the way through to Thanksgiving.  You save time and money!

Costumes: Create “semi-homemade” costumes with some creative shopping in your own closet.  No need to throw away ripped nylons.  Simply pair them with some flashy jewelry and wild hair and you have a fantastic 80’s inspired costume!

Food and Drinks: It is all about having fun with minimal stress.  Make cocktails by the pitcher but don’t add ice.  When you are ready to enjoy, serve them up on the rocks.

This recipe for “Spooktacular Graveyard Dip” is one of our Top Ten Gross Halloween Recipes.  A layered dip is always a hit with guests and a stress-free dish like this is on par with Sandra Lee’s entertaining philosophy!



Tortilla tombstones are placed in this dip, which layers cream cheese, sour cream, and green chilies with canned chili, cheese and lettuce.


  • 8 eight-inch flour tortillas
  • Black food color writer
  • 1 4-ounce can green chilies, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 15-ounce can prepared chili with beans
  • 1 8-oz package shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 4-5 large whole pitted black olives
  • Tortilla chips


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut tortillas into tombstone shapes, about 3-inches wide by 4-inches high. If using black food writer, write funny epitaphs on each tombstone. (For example: Yul B. Next or Al B. Back.) Spray tortillas with nonstick cooking spray. Bake until beginning to brown; turn; bake on other side and cool. In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and sour cream. Fold in green chilies and green onions. Place in an 8×8-inch baking dish. Pour prepared chili on top of cream cheese mixture, then cover with shredded cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, then cool slightly. Cover cheese layer with shredded lettuce. Carefully set tortilla tombstones down into dip. Cut olives as follows to make spiders: Cut a small piece from closed end of each olive to make spiders head. Cut a slice from the side of each olive to make spider body. Cut remainder of each olive into 8 small pieces to make spider legs. Arrange spiders on top of lettuce around tombstones. Serve with additional tortilla chips.

Number of Servings: 4-6

Notes: Instead of food color writer, black food coloring mixed into some additional cream cheese and placed in a decorator bag can be used to write epitaphs after tortillas are completely cooled.