How to Make Mexican Brunch

This authentic, delicious and festive Mexican brunch has been designed to serve eight people. We've chosen recipes that make a hearty meal-perfect for those still-chilly early spring or late winter afternoons, when it may be too cool to be outside as much as you'd like, but it's perfect for hanging out, enjoying great food with a group of friends or family.

To start off with - if you're wondering about how to decorate your house to give it that special Mexican fiesta look, please check out the Holiday Appetizer Buffet. There are plenty of suggestions there to get you going!

As soon as your guests arrive, serve them a Baja-Style Bloody Mary's (or Maria's), either with or without alcohol, or spicy, cinnamon-laced Mexican Hot Chocolate. These drinks are guaranteed to put everyone in a great mood! When it's time to eat, wow them with Huevos Rancheros served with Frijoles Refritos, Papas Fritas con Chile Verde and a delicious Watermelon Fruit Salad.

Incomparable. Not difficult. Allow yourself two and a half hours to get everything ready before the guests arrive. The only thing you can't make ahead is the eggs, and they'll take you about 15 minutes. So grab one of your good friends, designate her or him as your assistant, and get that assembly line rolling!

Buen Provecho!

BAJA-STYLE BLOODY MARY'S & MARIA'S

No Mexican brunch would be complete without Bloody Mary's (even made without the vodka-virgin style-these are awesome). The Tomato Clam juice gives these a special flair, as does the salt around the rim. If you want to try something different that will really get your guests into the mood to fiesta-try making Bloody Maria's-using tequila instead of vodka! Makes eight drinks.

Margarita salt
8 ounces vodka (or tequila if you're making Bloody Maria's)
1/2 gallon Tomato Clam juice
10 limes
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce per glass
pepper to taste
hot pepper sauce to taste
3 sprinkles celery salt per glass
8 celery or carrot sticks for garnish

Rub the rims of eight highball glasses with lime and dip in Margarita salt. Fill glasses with ice and to each glass add: one ounce vodka, the juice of one lime, three dashes Worcestershire sauce, pepper, hot pepper sauce and three sprinkles of celery salt. Fill each glass to the brim with Tomato Clam juice.

Garnish with celery or carrot sticks. Distribute among guests.

TRADITIONAL MEXICAN CHOCOLATE (Non-Alcoholic)

True Mexican chocolate is sweet, hot and laced with cinnamon. It will please both kids and adults. It's perfect during cold weather or for a brunch where you don't want to serve alcoholic beverages. Makes 8 servings.

1 1/2 quarts milk
1 tbsp vanilla
One "pie" of Ibarra Mexican Chocolate

- OR -

8 ounces semisweet chocolate squares
8 cinnamon sticks

Combine milk, semisweet chocolate and cinnamon sticks (or Ibarra) in saucepan. Cook and stir just until chocolate melts. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon and stir in vanilla. Beat with electric beater until frothy. Place cinnamon sticks into mugs and pour in hot chocolate. Serve immediately.

WATERMELON FRUIT SALAD

What a healthy way to spruce up your party table! This scooped-out watermelon, filled with fruit, is made even more festive by its zigzagged edges. It's not only beautiful, but a wonderful, tasty salad! Hint: If you prefer a leaner dressing, try adding an eight ounce container of non-fat fruit yogurt instead. Serves eight.

1 large watermelon, well chilled
1 honeydew melon and/or cantaloupe, scooped into balls
1 cup seedless grapes
1 cup peaches and/or mangoes, diced
1 cup strawberries, halved
1 apple, diced
1 cup sliced bananas, sprinkled with lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Dressing:
1 cup whipping cream (fat free or low fat is okay)
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tsp finely chopped candied ginger

Trace a zigzag pattern horizontally around the top third of the watermelon. Cut through melon with sharp knife, removing top. Scoop out all the watermelon flesh except a shell one inch thick. Scoop removed watermelon into balls.

Combine all fruit and walnuts in the watermelon bowl. Chill until ready to serve. To make dressing, whip cream with powdered sugar and salt. Blend avocados, pineapple juice and candied ginger until thick and creamy. Fold into whipped cream mixture. Pour over salad and toss gently. Serve.

AUTHENTIC MEXICAN HUEVOS RANCHEROS

Huevos Rancheros, or eggs ranchero style are a traditional Mexican breakfast-one that everyone loves. They're terrific with frijoles, buttered tortillas, our tasty Watermelon Fuit Salad, and of course, a round of Bloody Mary's if you're so inclined. Serves eight.

16 eggs
8 tbsp butter or margarine
salt and pepper to taste
16 corn tortillas
1 cup corn or canola oil
8 cups Salsa Ranchera (recipe following below)
2 cups Chihuahua or Jack cheese, grated

Fry eggs in butter in skillet while heating salsa in a sauce pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fry tortillas flat in corn oil in small skillet. Drain on paper towels. Place one fried egg on each tortilla. Top with salsa and grated cheese. Place under broiler for one minute or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

MEXICAN EGGS LELAND STYLE

In a frying pan put olive oil, chili powder to taste, McCormick Mexican Seasoning mild flavor, curry powder and garlic salt.

Place eggs in pan and add La Victoria Salsa Suprema, 1 1/2 tsp per egg and scramble the eggs, fry and serve.

SALSA RANCHERA

This salsa is not in the least bit spicy, but its flavors are distinctively Mexican. Spooned over your eggs and tortillas, it will complete your incredible, authentic brunch and leave your guests praising you as the best Mexican chef around!

4 whole green peppers, thinly sliced
8 large, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 large, white onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp dried or fresh oregano, or to taste
6 bay leaves
6 tbsp powdered chicken bouillon (they use Knorr Suiza in Mexico)
4 tbsp olive oil
fresh ground black pepper to taste
salt to taste

Place peppers, onions and tomatoes in large skillet with the oil and saut

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