Chrystal and I were recently sent a party pack in the mail along with some samples of Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light. Our task was to highlight the batch of Bacardi cocktails by throwing a “Shiny Chic” themed party that featured some of own recipe creations. Well, everyone knows you have to seize any opportunity to throw a food gathering when a variety of booze is provided. And that’s exactly what we did! We sent out an invite to a dozen friends, began brainstorming dishes to whip up, and in no time, we were off and running.
Our package contained lots of shiny and chic party enhancers, including bedazzled tea light candle holders from Z-Gallerie, stylish silver napkin rings with cloth napkins from West Elm, metal cocktail garnish picks and an assortment of mirrored serving bowls and platters from CB2. We were confident these cute pieces would pair well with our usual white serving accessories, adding just the right amount of sparkle to our table arrangement of food and drinks. As for the drinks, we received two different varieties of the Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light–Mojito and Pina Colada. All that was left to provide, other than cups of course, was ice and some simple garnishes. Just twist the cap, pour over ice, and sip away. Best of all, this guiltless cocktail is low in calories, but still packs plenty of alcoholic punch and flavor. We admit, we were definitely dubious of the “diet” drink, but to our surprise, both flavors of the Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light were indeed, light refreshing and crisp with an appropriate level of sweetness. Quite honestly, I would be hard pressed to detected a taste difference between them and any other bottled pina colada or mojita I’ve tried. And we weren’t alone. Each of our guests were pleased with the cocktails, heralding their enjoyment along with us. A friend, who is currently on the Weight Watchers program, stated over and over how much he enjoyed them. And, according to his calculations, he joyfully proclaimed throughout the night, “This drink is zero points!” Additionally, Chrystal served spritzer-style mixes for herself and a few guests, topping off half-filled cups with club soda to create a bubbly summer treat.
With some decorations and drinks checked off the list, that just left the food. Sticking with the “light” motif, we cooked dishes that were on the healthier side of the spectrum. Additionally, I’m currently in the middle of a vegan challenge (going 30, maybe more, days eating a strict vegan diet), so we had to include some items that I could enjoy with my libations. Plus, with flashes of heatwaves happening all over the country, along with the fear of the San Fernando Valley’s burning temperatures, we wanted to serve up simple dishes that didn’t require a lot of cooking time. The longer the oven was off the better, so many of the dishes can be made well in advance. Try a few of them out at your next party or on your own. Grab a bottle of Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light while you’re at it. Summer will thank you.
Bulgar Wheat Mediterranean Salad – Serves 6
2 cups bulgar wheat (quick-cooking variety)
2 cups water
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, with stems
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium hothouse cucumber, finely diced
8 ounces kalamata olives, halved
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine wheat and water. Let sit at room temperature for one hour.
2. Meanwhile, make dressing by processing herbs, lemon juice, and oils in a food processor just until well combined.
3. Stir in dressing and remaining ingredients into the bulgar wheat. Cover and refrigerate for another hour to overnight before serving.
Smoked Salmon with Tarragon and Caper Cream – Serves 8 to 10
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 ounces smoked salmon
Crostini or crackers
1. Mix the cream cheese, capers, chives, tarragon, lemon zest, juice and salt together until incorporated. (For a very smooth sauce, place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.)
2. Using crostini or crackers as the base, top with a bit of smoked salmon followed by a topping of sauce. Use more or less salmon or sauce to your liking.
Spicy Roasted Pepper Hummus – Serves 8 to 10
14 ounces garbanzo beans, drained
10 ounces roasted red peppers, drained
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, plus more to taste
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil, plus more as desired
1. Place the drained beans and roasted peppers into the base of a food processor. Blend until chunky. Add the lemon zest and juice, along with the cayenne pepper and salt.
3. Slowly stream in the sesame oil, followed by the first 1/4 cup of olive oil. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the processor’s bowl. For a thinner texture, continue to stream in the remaining olive oil.
Rajas and Corn Quesadillas – Serves 8 to 10
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as desired
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4″ slices
3 large poblano chiles, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/4 – 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
4 large flour tortillas, halved
Chopped tomatoes, guacamole, avocado slices, lime slices, optional
1. Start with the rajas first. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, shallow pan over medium high heat. Add the chipotle powder and salt, then the onions, peppers and corn. Cook 3-5 minutes until they just begin to soften.
2. Add the lime zest and juice, then pour the first 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and the liquid smoke into the pan, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook another 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more veggie stock a tablespoon at a time as necessary. Remove the lid and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Slide the peppers and any liquid into a separate bowl, and stir in the cilantro.
3. In a separate pan or flat skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive. Layer 1 tortilla half with an eighth of the vegetable mixture, then top with another tortilla half. Place into the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, approximately 1-2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, adding more oil 1/2 tablespoon at a time as necessary.
4. To serve, cut the tortilla halves into 3 or 4 pieces. Serve with chopped tomatoes, guacamole, avocado slices or lime slices.
Kalamata Olive Hummus – Serves 4 to 6
14 ounces canned chick peas, drained
1/4 cup almond butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup kalamata olives
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable broth, if desired
Process all ingredients in a food processor until a smooth spread forms, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth or liquid from can if hummus is too thick. Serve with your favorite pita or tortilla chip.
Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars – Makes 16-20 bars
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon Earth Balance (or any vegan butter substitute)
1 1/2 cups peanut butter, chunky or smooth
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
12 ounces vegan chocolate chips
1. Line a 13″ x 9″ x 3″ dish with parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large, deep pot, melt the 1 1/4 cups Earth Balance and peanut butter over medium high heat until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and salt, then carefully fold in the cereal. Be sure to coat everything completely with the peanut butter mixture.
3. Scrape the crispy peanut butter mix into the prepared dish, spreading it all the way to the edges and pressing everything down evenly with the back of a spoon or spatula.
4. Pour the chocolate chips and remaining tablespoon of Earth Balance into a heat-resistant metal bowl and set the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Allow the chips to melt, stirring occasionally. Be sure the water in the pot is not so hot that it touches the bottom of the metal bowl.
5. Once the chocolate has melted completely, drizzle or spread over the peanut butter and cereal mixture. Slide the dish into the fridge to set for an hour. Cut into squares and serve. (Store any uneaten squares in the fridge.)
Brand Statement: BACARDÍ Classic Cocktails Light is a new line of low calorie, ready to serve cocktails. At less than 95 calories for a 4-ounce serving, BACARDÍ Classic Cocktails Light is available in Pina Colada and Mojito flavors and is made with natural flavors, real juice and pure cane sugar. Whether enjoying a favorite cocktail after a long day or throwing a party, BACARDÍ Classic Cocktails deliver classic cocktail taste that’s a hit with friends, won’t add inches to your waistline and won’t take all day to prepare.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Bacardi via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Bacardi.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.