HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Thanksgiving preschool potluck lunch

What are some potluck recipes for thanksgiving dishes that kids will eat, are healthy, relate to thanksgiving and will be easy enough to make an feed a group of picky preschooler's. I am drawing a blank at how to combine the easy, appealing to kids, thanksgivings part where i don't want to do a dessert an not make a whole turkey.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Many years ago, when I was a pre-school mom I learned from the teacher that kids love anything on skewers. At Thanksgiving we served cubes of roast turkey from the deli with cheese and fruit.

    1. You can roll sliced deli turkey around any number of things, Marisaann: string cheese, pickle spears, etc. Or, stuffing made in muffin pans, possibly the minis.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mamachef

        Skewers sound dangerous, unless you use popsicle sticks. What about something fun like a scoop of mashed sweet and white potatoes in a waffle cone, topped with tiny turkey cubes and peas and drizzled with cranberry coulis, to look like a delicious ice cream cone? It's weird, but wonderful. The same concept could be done in a plastic cup, like a sundae, if the cone is too messy or inappropriate. You could also do 3-layer party sandwiches with the turkey dinner basics between the bread layers. Another creative concept: tarts that have stuffing for the crust base, a layer of turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a green veggie, etc. Cranberry and gravy can be served on the side for dipping.

        1. re: 1sweetpea

          Most of the younger eaters I encounter don't like it when foods/tastes are mingled and I suspect the kid who thinks he's getting a neat ice cream cone and finds out it's potatoes is going to be a pretty unhappy camper. But I love the idea for a work potluck!

          1. re: 1sweetpea

            I didn't recommend the skewer idea, 1sweetpea - as mama to 3 kids who were young once upon a time, the thought scares the hell outta me.

        2. How about a sweet potato casserole? Maybe you can try to think of an alternative to the super sugary/marshmallowy topping to make it fit the "healthy" criteria. Maybe oats/coconut with a little bit of brown sugar?

          4 Replies
          1. re: yummfood

            When one of my sons was in preschool or kindergarten, I made a sweet potato and apple layered dish. The sweet potatoes were pureed with brown sugar, etc., with apple slices in the middle and on top. It was a chance, but well worth it. The kids loved it so much, the teacher made copies of my recipe and sent them home with the children. Most of the kids came back to the buffet table for seconds of that dish. Some of them had never tried sweet potatoes before. I was totally surprised by the response, and very pleased!
            I'll dig up the recipe, if you think you'd like to try it.

            1. re: jmcarthur8

              I'd love that recipe, if you don't mind!

              1. re: jmcarthur8

                jmcarthur; please post it NOW (and thanks for sharing). I've been looking for ideas to play aroundc with, and this looks terriffic, for kids or adults.

                1. re: mamachef

                  Here you are! Glad to share.

                  Sweet Potatoes and Apples

                  2 lb. sweet potatoes
                  1/4 cup melted butter, divided
                  1/2 cup dark corn syrup
                  1/2 cup light brown sugar
                  1/4 tsp. salt
                  1 tsp. cinnamon
                  2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
                  Pecan halves

                  Peel and boil or steam the sweet potatoes. Puree till smooth in food processor with corn syrup, brown sugar, 2 tbs. of the melted butter, cinnamon and salt.
                  Spread 1/2 of the mixture in greased quiche pan. Arrange half the apple slices over, and top with remaining sweet potato puree. Arrange the rest of the apples over, and dot with pecan halves here and there. Brush with remaining 2 tbs. melted butter.
                  Bake at 350, uncovered for about 35 minutes until lightly browned.

                  A couple of notes: the aforementioned son is now 22 years old, and there was no brouhaha about HFCS back in the day when I made this for the kids. If you'd like to substitute agave nectar, I think it would work just fine. I make it every couple of years, and have used dark corn syrup sometimes, and other times have left the extra sweetness out entirely.
                  Also, the original recipe that I took this from called for 2 tablespoons of dry sherry in the puree. It sounds good, but I've never tried it because I love the flavor of the dish just as it is. Of course, I did not put sherry in the dish that John took to school!

            2. I've seen this idea in the past and it might work for you if you are a little crafty - fruit skewers displayed as turkey feathers:


              1. Screw making it "kid-friendly." We are having a potluck at my kid's preschool and I am making homemade cranberry sauce. If the kids don't like it, they won't starve.

                1 Reply
                1. re: rockandroller1

                  Are you making a jelled cranberry sauce or whole cranberries? I find the texture of whole cranberry sauce puts my kids (and picky adults, sigh) off but the smoothness of the jelled style allows them to explore the flavor without having to deal with the texture.

                2. Preschoolers don't actually eat much. Our son's class last year just did a slice of white bread for each kid with a slice of turkey on top, a dollop of cranberry jello and a few raw green beans on the side. The kids loved it and actually ate, unlike every year prior when the preschool has done full "feasts". Keep it simple, it's just better. :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tzurriz

                    GREAT ANSWER, tzurris!! You can move up to Kindergarden now!!
                    Seriously: Plain and simple!!

                  2. I made homemade gravy for my child's Kindergarten feast because I knew if I didn't, some other parent would bring in canned gravy and kids who think gravy is gross already would just have that bias confirmed. Only about half the kids wanted gravy but I still felt good about it. Plus I had extras for my own Thanksgiving feast.

                    Probably the most popular item at that feast was cornbread. Here's a recipe my kids adore:

                    MOIST CORN BREAD

                    1 c. yellow cornmeal
                    1/2 c. flour
                    1 tbsp. baking powder
                    1 tsp. salt
                    1/3 cup sugar
                    1 c. sour cream
                    1/3 c. corn oil
                    2 eggs, slightly beaten
                    2 tbsp butter

                    Preheat an oven to 350°F. Put a cast iron skillet in the oven.

                    In a large bowl, beat sour cream, oil, and eggs. In a smaller bowl, combine dry ingredients. Fold into sour cream mixture. Do not overbeat.

                    Take skillet out of the oven and melt butter in it, and then pour butter into mixture and mix to incorporate butter.

                    Pour into skillet and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown.

                    Cool; cut into squares.

                    1. Macaroni and cheese but add cauliflower puree. You could bake them in muffin tins to make it fun.
                      Sweet potato rolls are good, too.

                      Are you making one dish for a pot luck or need something for a meal?

                      1. We have the full feast at our preschool and the most popular things among the kids are never the actual thanksgiving meals. The adults eat it as well as I swear nine kinds of quinoa or kale salad but the kids don't.

                        So, any sort of kid-friendly protein is good and usually the parents will be greatful for something simple like homemade mac and cheese or string cheese or a pan of chicken legs. GIven where we live, no one was surprised over tears when the tempeh was finished.

                        Other good options are a large fruit platter or a large veg platter with hummus as the dip.

                        I add butternut squash puree to the mac and cheese and the pan is usually done in the first twenty minutes.

                        ROFL imagining the look on my 3 year old's face is someone tried to give her a "turkey cone." And she is a pretty reasonable eater for her age.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JudiAU

                          Agree on the kid-friendly proteins. I attended my goddaughters' preschool Thanksgiving potluck a couple times and the most popular dishes were turkey meatballs and honeybaked ham.