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Night in guide: How to make staying in as fun as going out

By Brian Dillon

May 8, 2020 at 2:11pm



We are all more than accustomed to a night-in nowadays, and many of us are getting creative and finding new ways to enjoy ourselves while at home.

Through what you cook, make for dessert, make to drink and decide to do, you can have a seriously spicy evening without passing your front door.

We have teamed up with Old El Paso to bring you all of the weekly inspo you need (and then some) to make the most of your night at home.

At the start of May, we were treated to a whole heap of Netflix goodness. One of the Netflix originals recently added to the platform was Hollywood, produced by TV magic-maker Ryan Murphy. The show is set in post-WWII Hollywood where aspiring actors and filmmakers will go to lengths to make their dreams a reality.

If you're in the mood for something incredibly touching and tear-jerking, then A Secret Love should probably be on your list, as it has had audiences in floods of tears since it was added to the streaming service.

When looking to add that extra excitement to your night in, the natural route to take is cocktails. And why not? They're fun to make and if you follow this recipe, they are guaranteed to taste delicious.

This week, we're feeling some Cranberry Lime Margaritas. For 26 servings (loads leftover for nights in to come), you'll need 225 g caster sugar, 240 ml water, 240 ml fresh lime juice, 360 ml tequila, 120 ml orange-flavoured liqueur and 2 litres cranberry juice. And to serve, you'll need lime wedges, coarse salt and crushed ice.

Then, follow this method:

Step 1: In a large saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Step 2: Remove from heat and pour into a large heatproof jug. Cover and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Step 3: Add the lime juice, tequila, liqueur and cranberry juice to the sugar syrup in the jug and mix. Chill in the fridge until you're ready to serve.

Step 4: Rub rims of margarita or lowball glasses with lime wedges and dip in salt.

Step 5: Fill your glass with crushed ice. Fill with margarita mix and garnish with a lime wedge.

I don't know about you, but I think this is the most exciting part of any night in. We're taking inspiration from Old El Paso and putting together some halloumi skewers.

For these, you will need the following ingredients: 250 halloumi cheese, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 2 medium courgettes and 12 small chestnut mushrooms. And for the marinade, you'll need 1 packet Old El Paso™ Spice Mix for Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Fajitas, 1 tbsp concentrated tomato puree and 8 tbsp olive oil.

Then, just follow this method:

Step 1: Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least half an hour before use.

Step 2: Mix marinade ingredients and set aside.

Step 3: Cut your block of halloumi into 12 equal pieces.

Step 4: Cut each pepper into 12 large pieces. Slice each courgette into six thick rings. Clean and trim mushrooms.

Step 5: Thread vegetables and halloumi onto the skewers. There should be space for two of each ingredient on the skewer.

Step 6: Baste the skewers generously with fajita spice marinade.

Step 7: Cook over a hot BBQ for 5-10 minutes. Turn regularly until the vegetables are cooked and beginning to char. Dab on extra marinade during cooking, as required (add more oil if you run out).

Step 8: Serve with corn tortillas and a scoop of salsa on the side.

Make a creamy salsa dip to enjoy with some tortilla chips on the side. Simply mix 120 g sour cream 1/2 jar (226 g) Old El Paso™ Thick 'n Chunky Salsa, 3/4 cup chipotle salsa and a small handful of coriander and serve it there and then.

Let's be real, there are only so many games we can play with friends over zoom. Luckily, there are plenty of class virtual events taking place to keep us entertained.

Bingo Loco has been hosting weekly Quarantine Quizzes with unreal prizes up for grabs.

Meanwhile, drag queens Davina Devine and Victoria Secret have been providing us with the drag entertainment we need with their weekly Queens of Captivity online show on Thursdays.

The cherry on top of your simply gorgeous night in is going to be your dessert. There are plenty of insanely delicious desserts you make at home in a matter of minutes, such as these quick chocolate chip cookies in a mug.

First, melt 2 tbsp butter in the microwave (10-15 seconds). Add 2 tbsp sugar, 1tbsp brown sugar and mix. Add 1 egg, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, and whisk together. Add 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder and stir as you add chocolate chips. Then, just heat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.

If that doesn't sound like the tastiest night in at home, then I don't know what does!

Keep an eye on our Instagram, where some familiar faces will be creating their very own Old El Paso fajita night at home!

And for more stunning Mexican recipe inspiration, you can head over to Old El Paso's website.


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