By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

Casual Company Mexican Meal

Entertaining doesn't have to be a "big deal." Sure, a labor-intensive gourmet dinner party is impressive, but your guests will have just as much fun when you serve up casual fare in a relaxed atmosphere. Plus, you'll be able to enjoy the evening, too!

This month's menu is perfect for weeknight entertaining, or for a Friday night dinner party after a stressful work week. Start the evening with a pitcher of frozen margaritas to serve with Holy Guacamole and chips. Fish Tacos with Cilantro Slaw, Chipotle Crème and Pico de Gallo are simple to serve buffet-style. Just place all of the taco fillings on a large platter and allow your guests to assemble their own. Spinach, Corn and Black Bean Bake is the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican entrée, and is quick and easy to prepare using frozen and canned convenience products.

The grand finale is a decadent flourless Mexican Chocolate Cake. The cake can be baked several hours before your guests arrive and is an over-the-top creation for the chocolate lovers in your group.

You'll enjoy preparing for your company more if you break the menu down and make what you can ahead of time. Assemble all of the ingredients except for the avocados for the Holy Guacamole, and then fold the avocados in just before serving. For the fish tacos, the cilantro slaw, chipotle crème and Pico de Gallo all can be made a day ahead, and the Spinach, Corn and Black Bean Bake can be assembled several days before serving. With this much of the work out of the way, the big night will be a snap.


Recipes:

Raspberry Tartlets
My mother’s favorite holiday cookie combination is anything with nuts and a touch of raspberry. Rolling out batches of sticky, buttery dough was not my favorite way to spend the busy holiday season, so I came up with these luscious little Raspberry Tartlets.
Fish Tacos with Cilantro Slaw, Chipotle Creme and Pico de Gallo
When we think of Mexican foods, most of our minds go straight to the crunchy beef tacos our mother’s made from a family-sized taco kit. But the flavors of Mexican fare are far more varied and complex.
Holy Guacamole
Creamy avocados, spicy jalapenos and tart lime juice on a salty tortilla chip – there aren’t many combinations as sublime. While I love the plain and simple traditional guacamole, I’ve taken the recipe one step closer to heaven in my recipe for Holy Guacamole.
Mexican Chocolate Cake
I’m married to a chocoholic. In fact, each January 18 I am responsible for coming up with a dessert that’s jaw-clenchingly chocolate for my husband’s birthday.