Dinner Party Themes: Ideas For The Perfect Texas Dinner Party

Throwing a Texas-themed dinner party is a lot of fun. All you need to do is keep Texas in mind with your decorations, your drinks, your appetizers, and your main course.

DECORATIONS AND APPAREL

Decorate your home with Texas touches.Tie bandanas around door knobs and lamps... and be sure to wear one yourself, and supply one for each of your guests.Cut construction paper into the shape of cowboy boots, and hang them throughout the house.You could even string them together to make a garland.You could also hang some cowboy hats around.Tell your guests to dress in Texas-inspired clothing, such as denim boot-cut jeans, a belt with a big buckle, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat.

MUSIC AND ACTIVITIES

Play some good old-fashioned knee-slapping country music, something just right for square dancing.When your guests arrive, just let everyone mingle, and show them your classic southern hospitality by offering everyone drinks and appetizers.After you finish the main course, gather everyone for some square dancing and dance the night away!

DRINKS

Mint Juleps are a Texas favorite, and it is no wonder - they are a really refreshing drink for the hot Texas weather.To make a mint julep, boil 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar together until they blend into a syrupy consistency, about five minutes.Once the sugar is dissolved, cool the liquid for 8 hours with 8 fresh bruised mint sprigs.This drink requires lots of prep time, but that is actually good because you won't have as much work to do on the spot.You will have enough syrup for about 40 drinks, so depending on the size of your guest list you might want to make a few batches of syrup.To serve, fill a julep glass with crushed ice, and add 1 tablespoon of the mint syrup and 2 ounces of bourbon, such as Jim Beam.Stir rapidly, and garnish with a fresh mint sprig.Keep any unused syrup refrigerated.

APPETIZERS

All of the foods at your party should be Texas style"¦ and that means lots of spice and flavor!Here is a great appetizer:

Texas Caviar

Ingredients: ¼ cup chopped onions, ¼ cup chopped green pepper, 3 chopped jalapeno peppers (take off the seeds), 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 4 large chopped tomatoes, 2 chopped plum tomatoes, ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, 1/3 cup chopped pea pods, ¾ cup vegetable oil, ¼ cup sweet pickle juice (the liquid from a jar of sweet pickles), 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons curry powder.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.If you are not going to be serving the caviar within the hour, combine all the ingredients except the cilantro, and add the cilantro just before serving (so that it is crisp and not soggy).One of the greatest things about this appetizer is that you can make it as much as a week in advance - just cover it with some plastic wrap and keep refrigerated.Serve with tortilla chips (recipe below).

Tortilla Chips

Ingredients: 2 12-ounce packages of corn tortillas, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 6 tablespoons lime juice, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons red pepper.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Combine all ingredients in a large bowl except for the corn tortillas.Cut each of the tortillas into 6 to 8 chip-like pieces.One piece at a time, soak the chips in the mixture.Place the soaked pieces onto a cookie sheet, and bake for about 7 minutes or until crisp.

MAIN COURSE

For dinner, serve a classic Texas meal of Chicken Fried Steak and Hush Puppies.

Chicken Fried Steak

Ingredients (for each serving): round steak, cooking oil, 1 egg, pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon red pepper, 2 tablespoons milk, ¾ cup flour.

Directions: Beat together the milk and egg.In a separate bowl, combine the salt, red pepper, and flour.Place ½ inch of cooking oil on a skillet and heat the oil.Coat your steak in the flour mixture, then dip into the milk/egg mixture, and then coat it in the flour mixture again.Add to skillet and fry until golden brown.Remove from skillet, and drain on paper towels.Repeat the process for each round steak.Serve with steak gravy.

Hush Puppies

Ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1 cup cornmeal, dash of salt, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, 1 egg, 1 cup buttermilk, one small chopped onion, fat for deep frying.

Directions: Sift together all dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder).Mix in the egg and onion, and slowly add buttermilk until it is a consistency that can be shaped into 2-inch balls.Fry the hush puppies until they are golden brown, and drain on paper towels.Serve hot.

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