By Martie Duncan, MyRecipes Contributor

There are a lot of get-togethers with family and friends on the days after the holiday but let’s face it… leftover turkey doesn’t sound terribly appealing on day three, does it? How about a change of pace and take the menu south of the border this year? This make-ahead Mexican brunch will hit the spot and since you can make most of the menu a few days before, it will be simple to pull together, even with your hectic holiday schedule.

The key to this party is to have a plan so you can relax and enjoy time with your guests. Design your menu so that you only have one dish to cook before guests arrive. Have the others made and ready to bake. Try to use different cooking methods so you are not waiting for burners or the oven to finish off all of your dishes. For example, make the Mexican Hot Chocolate according to the recipe, and then put it in the refrigerator until brunch time. An hour before guests arrive put the hot chocolate in your slow cooker to reheat it rather than put it into a pot on the stove.


Casseroles like Breakfast Enchiladas or Breakfast Tortilla Strata are perfect for this brunch. Prepare either of these dishes without baking and refrigerate overnight. Let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes and then bake as directed.


A taco bar keeps the Mexican theme going and can make good use of some of your holiday leftovers. Leftover roast or turkey can become filling for tacos when sautéed with onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and tomato sauce. Assemble all of your favorite toppings like diced onion, lettuce, tomato, and cheese in bowls you can refrigerate and simply remove the lids and put them out on a tray at party time. Add fresh guacamole, salsa and chips from the store and your taco bar is done.

For dessert, you can use some of your holiday leftovers for the Mexican Bread Pudding. Assemble the bread pudding and refrigerate overnight. Or you can make a chocolate pound cake with Mexican chocolate and basic pantry baking staples and freeze it until the day of the brunch.

Decorations for this party don’t have to be complicated. Use red holiday plates and a few Mexican elements like this chile tree I made with a cardboard cone from the craft store and a hot glue gun. It took about 15 minutes and makes a nice statement on your buffet. Be sure to wear gloves when you handle the dried chilies and wash your hands thoroughly after you are finished with the project. If you’re not feeling crafty, bowls of fresh peppers are pretty and inexpensive.


See our collection of Mexican Recipes or Breakfast and Brunch Recipes for more ideas.

For more entertaining and party tips, see Party with Martie Duncan.