Friday, January 9, 2009

Fiesta Bowl Party

Since I’ve just graduated from college, many of my friends hosted bowl game parties this year. I think the best one was our Fiesta Bowl party because Mexican food is my favorite! This was our opportunity to revel in the college football traditions that we miss so much from home. Of course I contributed my now almost famous buffalo chicken dip recipe, but the rest of the party potluck was focused on Southwestern foods.

We “kicked things off” yes, pun intended, with my easy chicken quesadillas. My friends also thought that a funky Mexican dish would complement these well so we made a chunky salsa cheesecake as well.

Here is the recipe:

1 cup crushed tortilla chips 

1/2-cup butter or margarine, melted

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1 pt. sour cream
2 eggs 

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper 

1 jar (16 oz.) Pace® Chunky Salsa

Mix tortilla chips and butter. Press into bottom of 9" springform pan. Place in shallow baking pan.
Combine cream cheese, sour cream and eggs in bowl. Beat until smooth, using electric mixer at medium speed. Stir in cheese, onions, garlic and black pepper. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan.
Bake at 350°F. for 30 min. or until set. Cool cheesecake on wire rack. Refrigerate until serving time. Remove from pan.
Top cheesecake with salsa and cut into wedges.

For dinner we made a big batch of fajitas and let everybody roll their own. This was a hit and it served a lot of people. We sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms, chicken and spices together and left a bowl out on the table. We told everyone to bring an item to contribute to our “fajita bar” and we had everything: warmed tortillas, some chopped lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. Then everyone could make his or her own creative combination and there was certainly plenty to go around. This is a fun (and cheap) party idea that we will use again!

And maybe it was our Southwestern-themed karma coming into play, but to top things off the Texas Longhorms won the game!

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