Cinco de Mayo – Taco Bar

May 3, 2015


Bill gets back in town today. While he has been at a golf tournament for 4 nights, I decide to plan an early Cinco de Mayo celebration for when he gets home. Sometimes, I get these ideas and they snowball out of control (see margarita post and steak chimichurri).

I got up at 6:30am Sunday, I need coffee, I need to clean the house and I need to plan the dinner.  The night before, I invited last minute guests, which means no turning back.  I knew the main course was going to be Steak Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce. I decided to add pico de gallo, guacamole and homemade tortilla chips and create a taco bar.

I started the pico at 9:30am. Took only about 30 minutes. Would be much quicker if didn’t take me forever to chop everything, plus it didn’t help that the onions kept burning my eyes…need to google how to prevent this.

I love going to an authentic Mexican restaurant, where the chips are extra thick, extra salty and perfectly crisp. I envisioned this, when I decided to make my tortilla chips. I started with white corn tortillas, I tried to brush them with oil, but found it was easier if I just poured canola oil and add salt on a plate and dredged them through it, probably not the most healthy way but it was quicker and coated more evenly. After about 16 shells, I thought this was a bad idea. I’m starting to do math in my head, 16 shells, cut into 6 chips=96 total chips/8 people=12 chips per person. I am going to need more. Easily distracted (you will start seeing a theme across blogs shortly), I burn the first two pans. Now, I am down to about 8 chips per person. Not willing to give up or burn another pan, I place one cookie sheet with no more than 10-12 chips in the oven and watch until done, then repeat process 5 more times. I decide at this point, my time would be better spent on the balance of the meal as this was not a recipe for multitasking. Fortunately, I had a backup store bought bag in the pantry! Honestly the time and cost to make your own chips, isn’t at all worth it. In the future, I will that up to the experts.

I moved on to chimichurri sauce. Never made it before. Super easy and very good. It was a pretty spicy, but not too spicy that I couldn’t handle it. A must make again. I loved that everything was made in the food processor, which made for a quick clean up.

Last was the guacamole. I waited until one hour before the party started to mix it together. I didn’t want the avocado to start to brown. The key to making fresh guacamole is having ripe avocados. They should be soft to the touch, easy to peel and pit and easy to mash. The remaining ingredients should be diced to small chunks and stirred in. Feel free to adjust the quantities to your taste levels, there is no right or wrong!



Chimichurri Sauce

1 cup cilantro – big stems removed

1 cup of parsley – big stems removed

4 cloves garlic

3 green onions, thinly chopped

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 jalapeno – seeded and pith removed

Juice from 1/2-1 lime

1/2 cup or so of olive oil

Salt and pepper

Pulse 1st 6 ingredients in a food processor until blended. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and lime juice. Puls again until smooth. Refrigerate in airtight container until serving. Serves 6-8.


3 avocado, ripe, peeled pits removed and mashed

2 Roma tomatoes -diced small (optional)

1 medium red onion- diced small

1 jalapeno – minced seeded and pith removed

Juice from 2 limes

Handful of finely chopped cilantro

Mash avocado with lime juice. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover in airtight container, refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving.  Serves 6.

Homemade Tortilla Chips

16 white corn tortillas

Canola oil


Brush both sides of Tortilla with canola oil and salt. Slice into 6 chips. Place on cookie sheet, for crispier chips, do not over crowd. Place in a preheated oven 350 degrees. Watch closely, remove when starting to brown.


Pico de Gallo
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
  • 6 Roma tomatoes - diced
  • 1 onion - diced
  • 1 jalapeno - minced seeded, pith removed (optional)
  • 1 glove garlic - minced
  • Juice from 2-3 limes
  • Handful of chopped cilantro
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.

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