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Low Key Baby's First Birthday - what else for the menu

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Having about 10 adults and 7 kids over for my daughter's first birthday. I'm making ziti & meatballs, a salad and a birthday cake/cookies. I was thinking some antipast (cheese, olives, mushrooms) to put out when people arrive, but should I have any other mains/sides? Maybe some veggies & dip?

I don't have much time to prep/cook so it would need to be something pretty easy. Not a family of foodies either, so not much pressure for fancy foods. Thanks!

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  1. I'd probably add garlic bread with the meal, and I think the veg/dip with the antipasti sounds nice as well. Otherwise, I don't see any reason to change a thing!

    1. I don't like to serve cheese ahead of dinner, as folks often fill up on it. Epicurious has a fabulous recipe for ranch dip and vegetables that is always a hit with children and adults. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
      Another thing I sometimes serve ahead of Italian food in particular is Caponata from Trader Joe's along with some crackers or thinly sliced baguette. It comes in a jar, so it couldn't be easier, and everybody loves it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bitchincook

        agree about not serving cheese as a starter, even more so because there is a cheesy main. the thought of ranch dip before tomato sauce makes me a little queasy, sorry.

        olives, cured meats and some marinated veg can all be purchased and put out for when people arrive.

        i'd skip the salad and serve a side veg instead. salad dressing (being by nature high acid) is not a good companion to tomato sauce. a big bowl of steamed or roasted broccoli, or green beans, would be great.

        i'd also put out some fruit for those who might be too full for cake.