Girls Night (Spicy & Gluten Free)

Movie night with my girlfriends inspired me to host a girls night in before girls night out.
Girls Night (Spicy & Gluten Free)

On Wednesday night I went to a screening of the new movie Hot Pursuit starring Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon. Set in Texas, the movie felt like a modern, female take on the buddy cop genre. Witherspoon plays the overly precise by-the-book cop and Vergara is the sexy witness under her protection. My friends and I had a blast and now that summer is finally here I’m looking forward to a lot more get-togethers and movie nights.

Here we are at the movies:


The movie inspired me to come up with a Girls Night menu – tasty finger foods that you can whip up in minutes. Spicy passion fruit and jalapeno sangria, Gazpacho shots with quesadillas, Taco stacks, Spiced chocolate milkshakes!I wanted to keep the food light and make sure to have lots of gluten free options since so many people are steering clear of it lately. If you’re looking for more ideas try Taco cupcakes , Salad skewers, or  Honey sriracha popcorn they would all be delicious additions to this table.


Spicy Passion Fruit and Jalapeno Sangria

DSC06349Sangria is one of my go-tos. This version is spicy and tangy, you can adjust the heat pretty easily by adding more or less jalapeno. If you want to really amp up the heat – muddle the jalapeno and limes before adding them in and let the Sangria chill longer. If you want a milder drink add the jalapenos to the drink about 30 minutes or so before serving. Passion fruit can be hard to find so this recipe relies on passion fruit juice. If you are able to get your hands on fresh passion fruit, definitely use it! Just scoop the passion fruit seeds out and add them into the sangria along with the passion fruit juice.

  1. Slice the citrus and jalapenos. Place them in a large pitcher and stir in the other ingredients – white wine, passion fruit juice, orange liqueur (like Cointreau or Grand Marnier), club soda and fresh passion fruit if you have it.DSC06334
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to a day. Serve over ice!

 Blender Gazpacho Shots


This is the simplest recipe – just chop, blend and refrigerate! To make gazpacho more party friendly I’m serving it in disposable shot glasses and right before serving I’ll add quesadilla wedges to the glass. I’m making the quesadillas with sharp cheddar cheese and blue corn tortillas (gluten free). Yum!


  1. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumber, onion and peppers.DSC06360
  2. Use a blender to puree (or pulse in a food processor) the vegetables, olive oil, vinegar and hot sauce until everything is the right consistency, liquid but a little chunky. DSC06365
  3. Taste! The ingredients really dictate the seasoning so add salt, pepper and cumin and keep stirring and tasting. Sometimes you need a little more olive oil or vinegar or salt… just trust your taste buds and adjust as needed.
  4. Refrigerate, let the flavors come together by chilling the gazpacho for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days. Garnish with a little cucumber and parsley.DSC06379

 ‘Taco’ Stacks


For those of us who are always in the mood for tacos – aka me – this is the healthier bite size version. Start with a thinly sliced vegetable, I used watermelon radish, and layer on your favorite taco toppings. I’ve done this with jicama and red peppers and it is always a hit!

There is no real recipe for this just use whatever you’re in the mood for (or happen to have) and build your stacks. I think guacamole + protein + crunch + cheese is always a winner. For this batch I started with the watermelon radish followed by guacamole, then pulled chicken, some diced peppers and a little farmer’s cheese.DSC06393

Spiced Chocolate Milkshakes


I’m a big believer that no meal is complete without dessert. These milkshakes are satisfying and super cute! The mini shot glasses are so adorable I don’t even mind that I’m only getting a quarter of a milkshake! I added a little chili powder to some but that’s totally optional – the sprinkles are a good way of letting my guests know which are spicy and which are just spiced. I dipped the shot glasses in melted chocolate for the chocoholics among us – just microwave the chocolate stir and dip the rim of the glass.

  1. In a blender combine the ice cream, milk and spices, blend until combined.
  2. Serve with a little whip cream and a pinch of cinnamon. Add sprinkles if you have them and trim straws to the right height if using small glasses.DSC06453