Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 27, 2011 08:18 PM

Menu ideas for birthday party in a park

I'm throwing a birthday party (for three year olds and their parents) in a park, scheduled for the 10-2 time frame, and would appreciate recommendations for menu ideas. I'd like to have mostly food that can be prepped and/or purchased the night before. Chow-worthy food, but not too complicated. Last year, we did bagels, costco smoked salmon, tuna and egg salad, and let everyone make their own sandwiches. We could do the same thing this year, but I was wondering if anyone had other ideas. One thought was to prep some pulled pork in a crock pot and buy a bunch of dinner rolls and let people make their own mini-pulled pork sandwiches, but I'm worried the meat won't stay warm long enough without being plugged in. I've seen people do small tea sandwiches, but those are never appealing to me unless made the same day, and I would like to mimize the a.m. prep work.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. How about muffaletta sandwiches? They're actually supposed to be made in advance!

    Stromboli could work, too - I think they're just as good at room temp as they are hot. You could do a few different fillings, and I bet the kids would love them.

    1. How about grilled chicken skewers, satay-style, along with a nice chilled cous cous salad? Cilantro, diced onion, dried cranberries and apricots, olive oil, salt, etc. in the latter. You could also make summer rolls, which would hold fine overnight if you wrap them well.

      1 Reply
      1. How about the tried and true hoagie tray for the parents, with a roasted pepper relish tray on the side? And for the kids, how about a big Wiggles worthy fruit salad. The new trend around here is pudding. A new pudding store just opened and business is brisk. Maybe you could do pudding in souvenir cups? Mostly everyone would enjoy an assortment of chocolate covered snacks. I attended a party recently that had a huge centerpiece of chocolate covered pretzels, chips, licorice, marshmallows,etc. At the end of the event, it looked like a swarm of locusts hit it. Not a crumb was left. It wasn't homemade, they bought it. I'm sure you could go online and find someone in your area.

        1. Spiral cut ham and assorted cheeses, breads, mustards. Make you own sandwiches.
          Basic picnic food: fried chicken, potato salad, fruit salad, cole slaw, bean salad
          Adults: Cold or room temp salmon atop vinaigrette dressed greens. Served with French bread smeared with olive tepenade.

          1. With 3-yr olds in an outdoor setting, you should think in terms of finger foods and those not requiring utensils other than spoons.

            Wraps are versatile and easy to eat, and can be cut into smaller pinwheels for the kidlets. Costco's turkey wraps are sold this way. People like them a lot - they are spread with a cranberry cream cheese. Costco's chicken salad is quite good too.

            Instead of a traditional birthday cake, do cupcakes arranged in concentric circles or on a tiered server. Maybe both regular and mini-size, and definitely baked in papers. You can get various decorative ones in party stores and online.