5 Margarita Recipes to Make Your Next Summer Party a Smash

Summer get-togethers are not complete without a tasty plate of food in one hand and a cold drink in the other. One thing that is sure to take your party from good to great is a fun fiesta theme – complete with margaritas. Here are some tips and a couple of recipes to make sure your summer fiesta makes Jimmy Buffett proud.

Your Margaritaville party deserves the best. But remember, Margaritas are only as good as their worst ingredient, so use quality, 100% agave spirits, real Triple Sec and freshly squeezed lime juice. For those who like salted rims, use coarse sea salt or kosher salt – never table salt. Make sure to run a lime wedge around the rim to make the salt stick.

The Classic Margarita

Before you go crazy with variations, first you must master the classic margarita.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of tequila
  • 3 ounces orange liqueur
  • 3 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce agave nectar (optional)
  • Yield: 4 Margaritas

Directions: Shake the ingredients with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass with a salted rim. If your mixture is too sweet, add more lime. If it’s too tart, add more agave or orange liqueur. The agave nectar is optional, but the earthy flavor adds an excellent touch. For a less strong margarita, cut back on the tequila.

The Ultimate Margarita

Much like the classic, the ultimate margarita possesses some of the same ingredients, but adds a few more for an extra kick.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of Patrón Silver
  • 2 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 cup of Triple Sec
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite lager beer
  • 1/2 cup of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Yield: 4 Margaritas

Directions: Set the beer to the side, and shake the rest of the ingredients together with ice. Strain the mixture into a salt-rimmed glass and add a splash of the beer on top.

Watermelon Margaritas

Nothing says summer, like a wedge of watermelon. So, why not add that same summer taste into your favorite cocktail?

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite tequila
  • 3 tablespoons of Triple Sec (1.5 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 ounces of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 3-4 cups of cubed watermelon (no seeds)
  • Yield: 4 Margaritas

Directions: Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until the mixture is at your desired consistency. Pour into a glass with a few icecubes to ensure it stays cold. For bonus points, be sure to add sugar on the rim of your glass.

The Spicy Margarita

To add some spice to the mix, try a margarita variation that simply swaps one citrus out for another. You can also sub in aged tequila like Reposado or Mezcal for the more typical blanco. Instead of adding ingredients, try this “less is more” margarita recipe.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of 100% agave tequila
  • 4 ounces of Grand Marnier
  • 4 ounces of freshly-squeeze lime juice
  • 4 ounces agave nectar syrup
  • Yield: 4 Margaritas

Directions: Shake the ingredients with ice, and strain into your favorite margarita glass. For an extra spicy kick, garnish the margarita with a fresh-cut serrano or jalapeno pepper.

The “Morning After” Margarita

The “morning after” margarita is the perfect alternative to a mimosa or Bloody Mary.

What you will need:

  • 6 ounces of your favorite tequila
  • 3 ounces of Cointreau
  • 3 ounces of freshly-squeeze lime juice
  • 4 ounces of mango nectar
  • 4 ounces of fresh tangerine juice
  • 2 ounces of ginger juice
  • Yield: 4 Margaritas

Directions: Shake all of the above ingredients with ice. Strain and pour over ice in a glass. For garnish, skip the lime wedge and add a tangerine wedge.

Margarita Party Accessories

Margarita Machine

Whatever variations you choose for your margarita party, remember that quality, fresh ingredients make the most memorable margaritas. But why stop there? Make your summer party a real success with one of these margarita party accessories:

Do you have a favorite margarita recipe? If so, we’d like to hear in the comments below.

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5 Easy Weeknight Recipes Using a Toaster Oven

Kalorik Toaster Oven

A toaster oven is the perfect appliance for small spaces because it combines the utility of a toaster and a microwave, allowing you to cook food evenly and quickly for fast snacks and on-the-go meals. The versatile Kalorik 4-slice toaster oven lets you to change between a variety of cooking methods: broiling, baking, and toasting with a selector switch. With a full range temperature control (up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit), you can also get that perfect crispy pizza crust or crunchy french fries without the grease. Toaster ovens are a space and energy efficient alternative to full-sized convection ovens that can heat up the whole kitchen.

5 Easy Toaster Oven Recipes

The following recipes are delicious, quick, and easy solutions to your dinnertime blues – all solved by the amazing toaster oven.

Greek-Inspired Flatbread

Greek-Inspired Flatbread

Spread olive oil and Italian herbs on a piece of pita bread. Top it off with Kalamata olives, feta cheese, arugula, and tomatoes. Toast until the pita bread is at your desired crispiness or the feta is melted.

Maple-Mustard Salmon

Marinade salmon for 30 minutes in 3 Tbsp of dijon mustard, 3 Tbsp of maple syrup, 1 Tbsp of champagne vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake fish until opaque, about 7-8 minutes.

Crab Bruschetta

Crab Bruschetta

Mix together 8 ounces of crab meat, 1 cup of sliced plum tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of minced fresh basil, ¼ teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 clove of minced garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and top with the mixture. Toast for 5-8 minutes.

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus

For the asparagus, toss it with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 large cloves of sliced garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of basil and a pinch of pepper. Turn oven to 450 degrees F and roast for 10-15 minutes.

Chicken Flautas

Chicken Flautas

Mix together 1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken, ½ cup of roasted poblano pepper, ¼ cup of corn, 2 Tbsp of yogurt, ½ small chopped onion, ½ cup monterey jack cheese. Spread the mixture on a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and place in the toaster oven for 10 minutes on each side, so 20 minutes total.

 

What’s your favorite meal to make in a toaster oven?

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Immersion Blender Recipe: Garlic Mashed Fauxtatoes

Immersion Blenders

Immersion blenders are a product that I have recently fallen in love with. They just take the hassle out of blending. In a previous life, I would often burn myself while I was trying to transfer whatever hot mixture I was cooking up into the blender while making soups. And it never failed that I would splatter ingredients all over my kitchen and my shirt while I was trying to use a hand mixer to whip up some mashed potatoes. Then, one glorious day, I came across an immersion blender (also known as a stick mixer) and I have not looked back since.

Now, when I am cooking soups or whipping up mashed potatoes, I just get out my immersion blender and stick it right in the pot that I have been cooking the ingredients in, flip the switch and that’s it. It makes for less mess which means less clean up and less time.

The latest thing I have been whipping up with my immersion blender is No Potato Garlic Mashed “Fauxtatoes.”

No Potato Garlic Mashed “Fauxtatoes”

Ingredients

1 Head of cauliflower
2-3 Tablespoons of sour cream
3-4 Laughing cow cheese wedges
3-4 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Teaspoons coarse ground pepper
Salt to taste

Directions

1. Steam the cauliflower and drain water from the pan.
2. Add all other ingredients to pan with cauliflower.
3. Take an immersion blender and blend until desired consistency. (I enjoy my “fauxtatoes” smooth, so I blend until there are no chunks left.)
4. Enjoy!

What recipes do you make with an immersion blender?

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Rice Cookers – Not Just for Making Rice Anymore

Rice Cooker

Many people shrug off rice cookers as a one trick pony, but in fact, they have many uses other than just making rice.  Rice cookers can definitely come in handy in many ways whether you want to make a dish without constant stirring or supervision, you want to cook several dishes at once and are in need of an extra “burner,” or you need to cook a meal in a place that does not come equipped with a kitchen.  In all these instances having a rice cooker would be a life saver.  Here are 12 different ways to use a rice cooker that you may not be aware of:

  1. No Stir Risotto – Sauté butter and onions in the open rice cooker.  Add your rice and liquid such as broth or wine.  Let cook for about 20 to 25 minutes depending on your rice cooker.  Then mix in grated cheese and herbs.  Some rice cookers only come equipped with an on/off setting while others have a “slow” or “porridge” cycle, and now some have even come out with a “risotto” setting.
  2. Steam Meat or Vegetables – Many rice cookers come with a steamer rack.  All you have to do is cut up the veggies or meat and steam.
  3. Oatmeal – To cook it takes a little less milk or water than cooking on a stove top.
  4. Beans – Rinse beans and place in rice cooker with liquid.  The exact time and amount of liquid will depend on your rice cooker but a good rule of thumb is 2 parts liquid to 1 part beans.
  5. Soups or Stews – With enough liquid and time you can make soups and stews.
  6. Poach Fruit – Simmer fruit in juice, wine or even maple syrup.
  7. Frittatas – Coat rice cooker with non-cook spray and add desired ingredients, mix well and let cook until eggs are firm.
  8. Spaghetti Sauce – Place desired sauce ingredients in rice cooker and cooker.
  9. Macaroni and Cheese – Place noodles and liquids into the rice cooker and cook. After pasta is done, add cheese and any other desired ingredients.
  10. Hard-Boiled Eggs – Place several wet paper towels in the bottom of the rice cooker. Next, place eggs in the rice cooker. Close lid and and press cook. Once done, let rice cooker sit with the lid closed for another 2 minutes. Open lid and you’re done.
  11. Jambalaya – Add all desired ingredients and cook.
  12. Cake – Yes, you can even bake a cake in your rice cooker!

Let us know if you try making something besides rice in your rice cooker in the comments! We’d love to see pictures and hear how it turned out. Do you know of any other recipes you can make in a rice cooker?

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Food Processor Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe

Foo Processor Peanut Butter

A trend that I have seen lately is people are tending to eat less processed foods and therefore, they are eliminating the foods that include ingredients they cannot pronounce from their diet.  To do this people are eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and meats as well as making more foods from scratch.  Unfortunately making things from scratch can be time consuming, but there are definitely some things you can make from scratch that will have you wondering why you ever bought them pre-made in the first place because they are so simple to make.

Many of the simple items to make can be made with the help of a food processor. Personally I feel that no home should lack this kitchen staple because there are so many things you can use it for.  If you do not already have one, I have the DLC2009CHB – Cuisinart 9-Cup Food Processor and I love it.

One of the simple items to make with a food processor is homemade peanut butter.  It is so easy I hate to even call this a recipe, but here it is:

Homemade Peanut Butter

Ingredients

4 cups of roasted unsalted peanuts
4 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar (optional for sweeter peanut butter)
Salt to taste (I only add a dash)

Directions

Place all ingredients in the food processor and turn on.  Let it process until the peanut butter consistency is to your liking.  I like the consistency of my peanut butter to be smooth and creamy so I usually let my food processor run for several minutes.

As mentioned, I have the DLC2009CHB – Cuisinart 9-cup food processor and I would recommend it to anyone.  I not only make peanut butter with it, but I also use it to make salsas, hummus, soups and even bring it out to chop onions because I always tear up when I do it by hand.

Let me know in the comments if you use this recipe to make your own peanut butter!

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