Southwestern Dinner Party
Menu and Recipes

My Heart’s Desire







More recipes here at

Food for Thought

Honey BBQ Ribs

Margarita Pie

Rocky Road Treats

Chicken Enchiladas are another main dish option.  A great dish to prepare ahead for easy entertaining!


 Welcome to My Garden

I Hope this HELPS


ETSY...Your place to buy and sell all things homemade!


Faux Finishes



Alcova Elementary School Mural

Mulberry Elementary School

A Few of My Favorite Things


Our family and friends love Southwestern foods any time of the year!  We have many favorites with recipes from various magazines and websites.  I've combined this collection in one easy place.  Pick and choose the ones to make your dinner an event  that no one will want to miss!   Want to share in the cooking?  Use this page to coordinate your party with other guests participating in food preparation.

This page includes the following recipes:

  • Best Lemonade
  • Strawberry Lemonade
  •  Crispy Corn Cakes
  • Avocado Sauce
  • Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
  • Green Onion Sauce
  • Sesame-Chile Chicken with Gingered Watermelon Salsa

Best Lemonade

Nothing says summer quite like a tall cool glass of lemonade.  The sweet-tart flavor cools and refreshes like nothing else can. 

  • Fresh-squeezed lemon juice makes a huge difference, but the addition of lemon zest elevates the flavor to another plane.
  • Muddle, or mash together one of the lemons, sliced thin, with the sugar used to sweeten the lemonade.  The sugar crytals absorb the intense flavor of the oils and mazimize the lemon's flavor.  Use a potato masher or any flat-bottomed, heavy object to grind the lemon and sugar.

Best Lemonade                                                              

1 large lemon, sliced thin, ends discarded

1 1/2 cups sugar

7 cups cold water

2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 12 lemons)

ice (for serving)

Using potato masher, mash lemon slices and sugar in a deep bowl until slices release their juice and sugar begins to dissolve.  Stir in water and lemon juice until sugar completely dissolves.  Strain out lemon slices and chill or pour over ice before serving.

Serves 6-8.

Recipe from Cook's Country.

Strawberry Lemonade

3 cups quartered strawberries

 1 cup cold water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 6-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate (undiluted)

2 cups sparkling water chilled

Combine first three ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Combine strawberry puree and lemonade in a pitcher.  Stir until lemonade dissolves.  Add sparkling water and mix well.  Serve over ice.


Crispy Corn Cakes with Two Sauces

  •  These fritters can be made up to 6 hours ahead, covered, and refrigerated.  To serve, reheat in a       225°F oven for 15 minutes.

1 3/4 cups fresh corn kernels

1/4 cup milk

2 scallions, coarsely chopped

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

2 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

Cooking spray or 4 Tbsp canola oil (if frying)

1.  Puree 3/4 cup of the corn kernels and milk in a food processor until smooth;add scallions and pulse until finely chopped.  Add ricotta, eggs, flour cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper;pulse until combined.  Transfer batter to a bowl; stir in the remaining 1 cup corn kernels.

2.  Heat oven to 225 ° F; place a large baking sheet in the oven.  Coat 2 large nonstick skillets with cooking spray and heat over medium heat (or heat 2 Tbsp oil in each skillet)  Drop teaspoonfuls of the batter into the hot skillets.  Cook 2 1/2 minutes per side, until puffed and golden.  Transfer to oven to keep warm while making remaining  corn cakes. 

3.  To serve, arrage warm fritters on a warm platter and serve with Avocado Sauce and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

Makes 36 corn cakes.

Avocado Sauce

1 large ripe Hass avocado, pitted

1 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise

1 Tabsp fresh lime juice

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Scoop avocado flesh with a spoon into a small bowl; mash well until smooth.  Stir in mayonnaise, lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours before serving. 

Serve with corn cakes.

Makes 3/4 cup.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

1 large roasted red bell pepper (homemade or from a jar), seeded

1 slice white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces

1 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Puree bell pepper, bread, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth.  Pour into a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours before serving.

Serve with corn cakes.

Makes 3/4 cup.

Crispy Corn Cakes with Two Sauces from Redbook Magazine, July '07

Green Onion Sauce

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise

1 Tbsp sour cream

1 Tbsp ketsup

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1/8 tsp ground red pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

 Sesame-Chile Chicken with Gingered Watermelon Salsa


2 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce

1 to 2 Tbsp chili sauce with garlic

1 Tbsp dark sesame oil

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


2 cups diced seeded watermelon

1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper

2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onions

1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

2 tsp mirin (sweet rice wine)

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1/8 tsp salt

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced


1/4 tps salt

Cooking Spray

Cilantro springs

Lime wedges

1.  To prepare chicken, combine first 3 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag.  Add chicken to bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.

2.  Prepare grill.

3.  To prpare salsa, combine watermelon and next 8 ingredients (through jalapeno); cover and chill until ready to serve.

4.  Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade.  Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray.  Grill 6 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove chicken from grill, let stand 5 minutes.  Cut chicken diagonally across grain into thin slices; serve with salsa.  Garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve with lime wedges, if desired. 

Makes 4 servings.

Green Onion Sauce  and Sesame-Chile Chicken with Gingered Watermelon Salsa recipes from Cooking Light, June '05.



To make your shopping easier, I have included a grocery list, broken down by each recipe. 

Grocery List

Best Lemonade

13 lemons


Strawberry Lemonade

fresh strawberries (enough for 3C quartered)

1 6-ouce can lemonade concentrate


Crispy Corn Cakes

 fresh corn 4-5 ears

scallions (2)

part-skim ricotta (1C)

eggs (2)



baking powder

canola oil or cooking spray

Avocado Sauce


reduced-fat mayonnaise


Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

roasted red bell pepper (homemade or from a jar), seeded

1 slice white bread,

reduced-fat mayonnaise

Green Onion Sauce

green onions

fresh parsley leaves


reduced-fat mayonnaise

sour cream


Dijon mustard

ground red pepper

Sesame-Chile Chicken with Gingered Watermelon Salsa

 low-sodium soy sauce

chili sauce w/ garlic

dark sesame oil

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


watermelon (2 C) 

yellow bell pepper

green onions

fresh cilantro

fresh ginger

2 tsp mirin (sweet rice wine)