Barley Balance: Host a Barley Fiesta Night!

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Barley Balance: Host a Barley Fiesta Night!

By Jane Dummer RD

Jane Dummer RD HSG 2014 (427x640)If you’re like me, you crave your favourite Mexican restaurant foods more than a few times per month.

Savour the Mexican flavours you love and say, “hola” to spring by hosting a barley fiesta themed party with amazing menu ideas and more. It’s a fun way to introduce new flavours and ingredients to your family and amigos.

I’ve put together my favourite Mexican barley dishes along with some quick tips that will make your fiesta easy to prepare. Let’s get started—or should I say, Vamos!

 

Tapas: As guests arrive, it’s a nice idea to include simple appetizers such as tortilla chips and guacamole.

 

Featured drink: Margaritas are the traditional fiesta go-to.

For a non-alcoholic version, try “mock-a-ritas” using frozen strawberries and limeade, topped with club soda for extra fizz—a great option for kids as well!

 

Entrees:

Now for the main event, I’ve assembled three fiesta themed recipes, all with whole grain barley.

Mexican Barley Salad

Use the colours in this delicious salad as the palette to decorate for the fiesta. The starter course will also introduce the essential Mexican flavours of cumin and cilantro to your guests—plus it’s packed with fibre and antioxidants, which promote digestive and immune health.

 

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip

This is one salad that becomes more flavourful when made ahead and refrigerated, providing time for the flavours to blend. To make a vegetarian version, substitute low sodium vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

 

Barley and Veggie Enchiladas

Nothing says fiesta like enchiladas. The vibrant colours of the barley, corn, red pepper, onions, zucchini and carrots make this recipe another crowd pleaser. More Mexican flavours including jalapeno peppers and chili powder will spice up this hearty dish.

I like to add shredded pork for extra protein and texture, but it’s “mucho bueno,” either way.

 

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip

Make sure you plan time (about 30 minutes) to cook the barley ahead. Cook extra barley, package it in 1 cup (250 mL) containers and freeze to have on hand to add to fillings, soups and salads. Prepare and measure all the other ingredients before firing up the skillet.

 

Chocolate Cake

End your fiesta night with a festive chocolate cake made with whole barley flour and cocoa.

Our infatuation with cocoa and chocolate first began in the 1500’s with its discovery in Mexico! With less than 200 calories per serving, this recipe will satisfy both the adults and kids at your fiesta.

 

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip

To spice up the cake’s fiesta style, I recommend adding 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. For the final touch, I dust the cake with icing sugar.

 

It’s a nice idea to decorate your fiesta with tissue-paper streamers, bowl bands and flags. You can also match the decorations to the bright colours and flavours of your menu items.

Now you’re prepped to throw a fun, festive barley fiesta. Who knows—you may be in the mood to form a conga line afterwards. Olé!