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Menu for Summer Backyard Birthday Party

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I'm planning a backyard party for my 3 year old daughter's birthday in July. We'll probably have about 15-20 children (2 and 3 year olds) and 30-40 adults.

I'd like to prepare the food myself but am stumped as to what to have on the menu. I was thinking of making PB&J and turkey and cheese sandwiches for the kiddos along with some fruit. However, I'm at a loss as to what to prepare for the adults. I'd like to do a little fancier than turkey sandwiches but also want something that is fairly easy to put together the morning of the party. Any sandwich, green salad, and/or pasta salad recommendations?

Thanks!!!

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  1. Sounds like so much fun! How about chicken, ham, egg, or tuna salad sandwiches on croissants? You can have the salad mixed up the night before, the croissants sliced and ready to go so last minute assembly won't take too long. I also have a recipe for a wonderful bundt cake sandwich that I was recently served, but I haven't prepared it myself yet so cannot speak to the ease of serving. I will say that it was absolutely divine--the presentation was beautiful and the flavors were amazing. It uses puff pastry shells, ham, cheese, roasted red pepper, red onion, and basil leaves in addition to a little mustard.

    My easiest pasta salad recipe is to combine pasta with any combination of the following chopped ingredients: cheddar, swiss, ham, turkey, pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, celery, carrots, olives (you get the idea) and then mix with a bottle of Cheese Fantastico salad dressing. Salt, pepper and season to taste. There is plenty of flavor in the salad dressing so it doesn't require much.

    Fruit - you could skewer fruit pieces for the adults to have fruit kabobs, though that may not be too great of an idea with such young children around.

    8 Replies
    1. re: jlhinwa

      Ooh, I'd like the recipe for the bundt cake sandwich if you don't mind

      1. re: ChrisKC

        Here it is: Hearty Layered Sandwich

        2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
        1 - 17.3 oz packaged frozen puff pastry, thawed
        4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or a combination of cheeses)
        8 ounces thinly sliced ham
        8 ounces thinly sliced turkey
        1/2 cup red onion rings
        1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepers
        1 tablespoon butter, melted
        1 tablespoon country dijon mustard
        Handful of fresh basil leaves

        Heat over to 350 degrees. Butter a bundt pan and sprinkle the bottom and sides with sesame seeds.

        Roll one sheet of pastry into a 16 x 14 inch rectangle. Make a 3-inch cross-shaped cut in the center of the pastry. Place the cross-cut over the center tube of the pan, gently fitting the pastry over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Gently pull the cross-cut edges up about half way on the tube. Brush the dough lightly with dijon.

        Layer 1/3 of the cheese and half of the ham, turkey, onion, and red peppers over the dough. Repeat layer and top with basil leaves and final 1/3 of cheese. Cut a 3-inch cross shape in the second sheet of pastry. Place cross over the center of the tube pan. Pinch edges of pastry sheets together to seal in the filling. Brush entire top with butter.

        Bake at 350 for 60 to 65 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 15 minutes. Invert onto serving place; serve warm or at room temperature. Cut into wedges to serve; makes 10-12 servings.

        The flavors are really amazing and it does not look like a kids' sandwich. I don't think I have a bundt pan so was just going to try it out in a baking dish without the cross-shaped, work-around-the-bundt-tube issue, but I haven't done so yet.

        1. re: jlhinwa

          Yum, that sounds good. Thank you!

          1. re: ChrisKC

            You are welcome. It was really good--my friend brought it to a Memorial Day picnic and I kept sneaking more. I have all the ingredients ready to go--just need a bit of time to assemble it. Maybe for dinner tomorrow night!

            1. re: jlhinwa

              This sounds delicious! Can you describe the 3inch cross-shaped cut?

              1. re: wineos

                I'm sorry--I can't. I learned of this recipe from my friend, who brought it to a party and I loved it so much I had to have the recipe. I haven't tried it yet so have no experience with the cross-shaped cut. She said it wasn't hard to do, though.

      2. re: jlhinwa

        OP could also put all the sandwich fixings on platters, condiments in bowls and people could fix what they want.

        I also once did a 'salad bar' for that size party and it was a huge success.

        1. re: jlhinwa

          We have our son's birthday party in the backyard and this is my go to menu, as most things can be done in advance:

          1. Sesame noodles - it is surprising how many of the kids eat these

          2. Hot dogs & burgers with all the fixings, including cooked bacon & thousand island dressing

          3. Quinoa salad

          4. Veggie Platter + Aoili: veggies arranged vertically in glasses, so they look happy :)

          5. Corn on the Cob

          6. Fruit Chaat

          Easy since so much is prep the week of rather than the day of :)

        2. Almost forgot you asked about a green salad: my latest favorite for a light summer salad is a mix of spring greens and spinach with raspberries and/or strawberries, blue cheese, and toasted walnuts or pecans. Tossed with a raspberry vinaigrette and topped with croutons.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jlhinwa

            Thank you so much, jlhinwa! Great suggestions!

          2. If you want to offer something hot, you could do a couple of roast pork shoulders, and cook in the oven or crockpots overnight. Morning of you just need to shred meat, season with bbq sauce and take out a couple dozen mini Hawaiian rolls (or other type) and serve bbq pork sliders. Should probably plan two per person. And you can round out the menu with large salad, cole slaw & even a tray of macaroni & cheese, which believe me, will be gone in about five minutes. Easy and tasty.

            Make it easy on yourself, take it from me, I've catered every one of my boys' parties, you realize that, esp at that age, the parents are just glad there's decent food, not kiddie food.