Y’all know that we love a good fiesta around here (especially as Cinco de Mayo approaches!) and last week the girls and I got together for an afternoon shindig on my back patio with grapefruit-jalapeno margaritas and my new favorite party menu… a build-your-own nacho bar! Since Garden of Eatin’ invited us to take part in their #ChippedChallenge this spring, we’ve been having a blast transforming some of our favorite guilty pleasures with our favorite better-for-you chips (remember our guilt-free queso?!) For this week’s challenge, we put our own spin on the “make-your-own” craze that’s popped up on the party scene by creating a colorful, delicious, and yes, even healthy, nacho bar setup that allows guests to tailor their creations to their personal tastes and dietary needs. Click through the slides for all the details on throwing your own nacho bar party this summer, and be sure to hop on over to the Garden of Eatin’ Facebook page to play the #ChippedChallenge yourself and win some amazing prizes.
*photos by Kate Zimmerman
The foundation of any great nacho bar is fantastic chips. Garden of Eatin’ tortilla chips are sturdy enough to hold tons of toppings, and the flavor variety is out-of-this-world: I stocked the bar with Blue Corn, Sweet Potato, and White Cantina Style with Lime (which is hands-down my favorite chip on the planet.)
The next step is offering lots of toppings so that guests can get creative and have fun putting together their own flavor combinations. I offered all the usual suspects, plus a few surprise ingredients, including:
- pico de gallo
- shredded cumin-roasted chicken
- homemade guacamole
- crumbled queso fresco
- sliced radishes
- pomegranate seeds
- diced onion
- sliced jalapeños
- torn cilantro
- lime wedges
Use colorful serving pieces and don’t be afraid to mix and match! A fiesta is the perfect time to pull out an eclectic mix of dishes. I stuck to a color palette in hot shades of orange, pink, and coral to tie it together, then went crazy with pattern. A striped Mexican throw with fringe-y tassels was the perfect impromptu tablecloth.
pictured: Garden of Eatin’ blue corn tortilla chips
To make the chicken, I rubbed 2 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts with a liberal dose of olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin, then roasted in a 450 degree oven for about 40 minutes until cooked through. After it cooled, I used two forks to shred it for the juiciest flavorful chicken. Though if you want to pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery, that’s a perfectly acceptable option, too!
One of the best parts of a build-your-own anything is that guests can tailor their plates to suit their own dietary needs and preferences. Chanel kept her nachos vegetarian and topped her mix of blue corn and sweet potato chips with an extra dose of guac and cheese to make them substantial enough for a meal.
Decorating for a fiesta-themed fête can be so simple! It’s a great time to use what you’ve got, and I seriously didn’t have to purchase a thing for this setup. We pulled these cool chairs from another area of our yard to create a cozy spot for conversation, then filled our outdoor fireplace with succulents gathered from around the house. A few Mexican blankets tossed over the chairs made the space fiesta-ready. You can always pick up Mexican prayer candles for super cheap at any local imports store, and a piñata is an easy way to add big impact.
A great margarita is a requirement for washing down spicy nachos, and this grapefruit-jalapeño spiked version is destined to be my new summer drink (the 5-week countdown to post-baby imbibing has begun!) Stay tuned for the recipe — I’ll share it here on the morning of Cinco de Mayo to kickoff festivities!
I bet we’re not the only ones who are excited to break out the summer wardrobes, and this party is the perfect excuse. Dresses and tops with Mexican-inspired embroidery make up my favorite poolside ensembles — click the shop-the-post thumbnails for some of the cutest of the season!
Nachos definitely have a “naughty” reputation, but there’s nothing guilt-inducing about these. Garden of Eatin’ tortilla chips are made with organic corn and expeller-pressed oils — no hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives in these babies! Plus, they’re gluten free, which means that all your #gf friends can fill up their plates without worry.
And since these nachos don’t contain the gooey, melty cheese that they’re typically associated with, they’re light enough for hot summery weather. The array of healthy toppings like fresh veggies, avocado and roasted chicken are totally swimsuit season-approved.
The best part of a build-your-own bar? Guests can go back for seconds (and thirds!) whenever they’d like without having to ask. And as the hostess, I’m free to lounge with friends outside instead of being stuck in the kitchen.
Did I mention that nachos might be the best thing ever when you’re pregnant? I’ve been craving Mexican food my entire pregnancy, and I have a feeling I might be setting up my own personal nacho bar for one a little too frequently in the coming weeks (shhh…)
Jenn sips her grapefruit-jalapeño margarita while I chow down on my own nacho creation: Cantina Style white corn chips with lime, topped with shredded chicken, pico de gallo, guacamole, queso fresco, pomegranate seeds, radishes and cilantro.
I don’t know about y’all, but we’re ready to soak up some summer sun! Hope you get inspired to host a little Cinco do Mayo soirée of your own, and if you happen to whip up some nachos for the menu…
Hop on over to the Garden of Eatin’ Facebook page to play the #ChippedChallenge yourself and win some amazing prizes!
*this crunchy, crispy, “chipped” post is sponsored by Garden of Eatin’. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.