Chilo Y Chela's Tamales plus homemade guacamole & Sangria for a great New Year's Eve party

What do you serve when you want a casual New Years, Birthday or any other Holiday? The same great food you serve when you want to be a little fancy: Tamales! That’s my family’s tradition. I’m from California, and my mom is Mexican. I love Tamales!

But tamales are hard to make; especially if you don’t have your five aunts and your grandma helping you to prepare the maze, the fillings, the husks and sauces. It can even take a few days to make authentic Mexican Tamales. It’s no wonder, in my family; Tamales were always served at special occasions, including Christmas dinner, alongside the turkey.

I just picked up three dozen Tamales at in Humboldt Park for my New Year’s Eve weekend. I got chicken with green Verde filling, chicken with red sauce, and cheese with chilies. Chilo Y Chela makes the best Tamales in Chicago and I just ask the counter person mix up the fillings and go. Three dozen Tamales cost 35 bucks.  When I get home, they go in the fridge and then I steam them for about 20 minute or more before serving them. Keep Tamales in the steamer standing up and turn the flame back on when they get cold. They are the perfect party food and it’s not very Chicago traditional and your guests will love them.  Chilo Y Chela is located at 4213 W. North Ave. (773) 269-2052

I must also have fresh guacamole on my table, with or without Tamles. You will need three ripened avocados, chunked-mushed with a fork. Add about a quarter cup of fresh salsa, a ¼ teaspoon of celery salt, and a big squeeze of half of lime. Keep it simple! Oh yeah, I like El Ranchero Tortilla Chips, with salt, for my guacamole.

Now here’s the best Sangria Recipe, EVER! It’s from my El Salvador friend, Evin. It’s his family’s tradition.

4 bottles of red wine

2 liters of Ginger Ale

8 oz vodka

8 oz rum

4 oz Grande Marnier

2 cinnamon sticks

You can add some sugar. But I left that out because I add peaches later.

Add all of the above and then let chill/set overnight (24hrs).Before serving: take out sticks. Add fresh fruit. I like sliced peaches frozen in sugar water and then broken/chopped just before adding. Also fresh sliced apples, oranges and frozen blue berries.

Happy New Year Chicago!

from Jon-David, the r and

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Jon David

Chicago author & digital marketing consultant at . Hosts #SalonSpaChatOwns Made in Chicago Speakers Bureau.

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