How to Set Up a Taco Bar

taco salad image by Kathy Burns from

It's your turn to host the local gathering and the guests are going to revolt if served another sandwich tray. Up the game a bit and serve an impressive looking taco bar instead. A taco bar can look very elaborate, impressing your guests with the large variety of foods, but most of them take very little time to prepare. Add some Margaritas, virgin or otherwise, and you'll have a complete south-of-the-border feast.

Cook the boneless skinless chicken breasts, either on the stove or in the microwave, until no pink is showing in the center. Remove them from the heat and allow them to cool slightly. Shred the cooked chicken meat with two forks and season it according to the taco seasoning package directions.

Cook ground beef or ground turkey in a frying pan on a stove until the meat is cooked thoroughly and broken into small bits. Season the ground meat according to the taco seasoning package directions.

Cut vegetables into small pieces appropriate for tacos. Shred the lettuce into very small threads. Cut tomatoes into cubes, removing the seeds. Dice the onions. Slice avocado thinly.

Set up the table according to how people will use it. Begin by arranging plates, napkins and utensils at the beginning of the table. Use enough of each so that all of the guests can get a clean plate when they come back for seconds.

Place a row of four slow cookers next on the table. These slow cookers are ideal for keeping food hot without cooking them further. If you don't have access to this many slow cookers, purchase inexpensive disposable chafing dish sets at variety stores and set them up instead.

Add the cold area to the table last. Set up large tubs or plastic bins and fill them almost to the brim with ice. Nestle bowls into the ice, pushing the bowls down into the ice so that the rim of the bowl is one inch above the surface of the ice.

Place corn tortillas flat into one slow cooker and flour tortillas into another. Fill the other two slow cookers with the seasoned ground beef or turkey and seasoned shredded chicken. Place a bowl of tortilla chips in this same area, to give your guests the option of having nachos instead of tacos.

Fill the bowls in the ice with the chopped and shredded vegetables. Add a bowl or tub of sour cream. Finish with a bowl of shredded cheddar cheese or other taco cheese.

Set appropriate serving utensils in each bowl or next to each slow cooker. Make sure that they are plugged in and set to the lowest temperature.