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Please help me with my birthday menu...

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I'm throwing my mom a surprise 60th birthday dinner party with 45 women attending. I'm a 26 year old who doesn't have an endless budget . I've booked my mom's favorite Italian restaurant for the party. The restaurant has a bunch of different dinner party packages but with 45 people coming I need to go with one of the cheaper packages.

The package I've chosen gives guests their choice of either casear or house salad to start.
Then 2 types of pasta served family style...I'm going with vodka rigatoni and penne and broccoli tossed with garlic and oil.

Now the entree selection is where I need your help. Again, since I'm going with a cheaper package, its nothing fancy, just your usual Italian dishes. But of the 5 selections to choose from, I can only choose 3 and the guests must choose from the 3 selections.

So here are the options:

Chicken Parmigiana
Chicken Marsala
Chicken Piccata
Chicken Francese
Eggplant Rollatine

I'm definitely going with the eggplant, but can't decide which 2 chicken dishes to go with. Please don't suggest asking for another entree option like a fish or veal because that will bring me to the next higher package and at $7 a person more, I can't afford to do that.

I appreciate all your help!!

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  1. First of all, I think the menu looks really good and you really can't go wrong with any of the combos. I love chicken marsala, but that's just a personal choice of mine. I would suggest looking and the saucing of each (I don't know what the sauce is for the francese or the rollatine). But I would try to stay away from all three selections being red sauce. I like that you have two different sauces with the pasta, so I'd continue breaking it up for the entree. So if the eggplant has a red sauce I wouldn't pick the chicken parmigiana. I think the eggplant is a good choice to break up the other two chicken dishes. All in all, it sounds great and I'm sure your mom will appreciate it.

    1. Ask 3 or 4 of the women you're inviting which two chicken dishes they would most likely order. Then add up the votes and pick the two top vote-getters. Or ask your mom which 2 she likes best since it's her favorite restarant.

      But whatever you pick I'm sure everyone will find something they like and have fun. Bottom line is, they're there to celebrate your mom and you're doing a nice thing for her!

      1. For a Big crowd like that I'd go with the Eggplant, Parmigiana and Piccata.

        1. The meal and event sound wonderful!

          I'd go with the eggplant, the piccata and the marsala. Each has a different sauce, so this gives more variety. Looking on line, the francese is similar to the piccata sauce.

            1. i echo the sentiments of others... obv avoid three of the same sauce, except i think parm is one of the most familiar dishes that might be "safe," so i'd say parm and piccata as well, unless of course, you know your mom prefers marsala. you might try to ask, pretending you're having people over for dinner, so she has no idea it's regarding a party for her (yay for surprises!), and see what she says...

              what a lovely idea for her, and i'm sure she'll be thrilled, flattered, and honored at your lovely spirit and generosity... she obviously raised a lovely caring daughter!

              1. I would avoid having the same sauce on two different dishes. Therefore, I would not get Chick Parm. Instead I would choose Marsala and Piccata. That way you get three different sauces, which should make everyone happy. Is the rollatini vegetarian, or does it have prosciutto in it? If you're trying to have something vegetarian, I would ask about that.

                Your menu sounds good to me. It's really nice of you to do this for your Mom.

                1. I'd go with Chicken Parm, even if the Eggplant has the same sauce. You will probably find the fewest people will order eggplant and chicken parm is one of the most popular dishes in Italian restaurants of this nature. Then I'd go with Piccata as a lighter offering.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mojoeater

                    that was my thinking, too.

                    most people know chicken parm, and i'll bet it is the most popular -- by far,
                    followed by the piccata (for those who want to go lighter, or for those who don't want cheese or eggplant or tomato), then the eggplant -- although my family loves eggplant.

                    personally, i'm going for the piccata! ;-).