Easy Entertaining – Taco Bar

Taco bar party prep flowers

Last weekend we had a little get together at our house for my husband and his cohort before everyone starts to head off in different directions as their PhD program comes to the beginning of the end. It was a potluck of sorts, but since we covered the main food as we were hosting, I thought it would be fun to talk about it here.

Life has been crazy lately and while I do love entertaining there was absolutely no time for anything complicated. I’ve previously discussed my love for taco night, so when I started brainstorming ideas for food I realized that was the perfect solution. Fun, simple and able to accommodate various dietary allergies and restrictions. Win win and win.

A Little Advance Planning

A few days before the party, I finalized my menu for the day and made up a grocery list of everything I would need. I refuse to go back to the food store more than once a week – so either I get it then or not at all (I’m also obnoxiously organized which may have something to do with it).

The morning of the party, I set up the table I planned to use for our food, threw on a tablecloth (with a table protector underneath – can I just say that I felt like my grandma when I bought this but it has been a lifesaver for our poor dining room table at times) and then set out all the serving dishes and utensils. No running around later to try to find what would be best for each component of the meal.

I bought a small bouquet of flowers and then arranged them in mason jars (my favorite) on the table. I have an obsessive need to make things pretty, if you can’t already tell : ) Hence the color coordinating bowls. I think I have a problem.

Taco bar party prep table setup

Taco Bar

Moving along to the food. Since this was a potluck, our friends brought all drinks (other than water), the appetizers, such as chips, salsa and guacamole, and dessert.

Now, for the actual taco bar. Below is exactly what I served. However, you could easily change this up to what works for you.

To build the tacos:
– corn and flour soft tortillas
– hard corn taco shells (since my husband whined enough and convinced me we needed these)

For the fillings:
– crockpot salsa chicken*
– ground beef

For the toppings:
– shredded lettuce
– freshly grated cheddar and pepper jack cheese
– diced tomatoes
– diced avocados
– sour cream / greek yogurt

For the sides:
– spicy citrus black beans** (which also doubled as a vegetarian filling)
– cilantro lime rice***

As far as the recipes I used:
*For the salsa crockpot chicken, I seasoned 4 large chicken breasts with various spices and then threw them in the crockpot with ½ cup low sodium chicken broth and 2 ½ cups of salsa. Covered and let cook on low for 6 hours before shredding to serve. Easy and a solid base for toppings.
**For the spicy citrus black beans, I used Annie’s recipe (see link). One of my favorite mexican type side dishes.
***For the cilantro lime rice, I used Jess’s recipe (see link). Also delicious and went over really well!

Taco bar

Taco bar toppings

So, looking for a simple entertaining idea?  The taco bar has got you covered.