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Whip up this tropical party menu, slide on your sunglasses, and pretend like you’re on vacation. Starting with Pineapple Salsa, spiked with a Blue Hawaiian cocktail, and ending with Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, this easy party menu is almost too cool.
Cue up a beachy music playlist, slip on a floppy hat and flip-flops, and say “ahh…” This tropical party menu will practically make you feel like your toes are in the sand!
Featuring fresh fruit salsa, crunchy shrimp, a blended rum cocktail, a creative pasta salad, and my favorite retro dessert, this island-inspired party plan oh-so maika’i loa (Hawaiian for “good”). Any time your next vacation feels a bit too far away, invite your pals over or assign out dishes potluck-style for a sunny soiree featuring these tropical recipes.
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Love the fried shrimp appetizer or entrée from your local seafood restaurant? This deep-fried treat is a copycat recipe of that exact creation. No need to fear if you don’t have access to a fancy fish counter near you; this easy shrimp recipe is designed to be made with thawed frozen shrimp.
Few of the classic fruit salsa recipes you’ll find online or by the jar at the supermarket include the most common fruit for salsa-ing: tomatoes. (Yes, it’s technically a fruit, not a vegetable!) My easy Pineapple Salsa features the tropical fruit, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and so much more. The zesty blend works beautifully as a snack or a condiment.
Hawaiian Plate Lunch is a concept that gives a nod to the Japanese bento box; a mix of crowd-pleasing, affordable food offered in separate compartments. Plate lunches were first sold in the late 1800s, feeding immigrant workers in sugar cane and pineapple fields. Along with a meat entrée and white rice, you’ll often find creamy, vegetable-loaded Hawaiian Macaroni Salad as an option. I can’t resist ordering it any time I see it, which is why I knew I had to recreate the unique pasta salad recipe at home.
Admittedly more of a retro dessert idea of the mainland than a tropical dessert recipe, this pineapple dessert is a hit at every gathering I’ve ever served it. In 1925, Dole held a pineapple recipe contest, and “Mrs. Robert Davis” from Norfolk, Virginia won with this showy yet simple cake recipe. What I love almost as much as the caramelized pineapple topping? The hands-on time: a mere 10 minutes.
Fruity, tropical, and no-sweat to make, this Blue Hawaiian cocktail is my go-to drink recipe for any adult summer party (or any party I want to feel a bit more sunny). This frozen drink recipe comes together in your blender for easy party prep. And the gorgeous blue hue, courtesy of Blue Curaçao, offers dreamy “ocean views.”
Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.