Menu planning help please!
I'm having a birthday lunch in mid-may for my one year old son - I have another 2.5 year old son and we are hosting about 25 people, including 6 other (older) kids. It has to be non-meat as my in laws keep kosher and don't want to eat meat in my house ;)
I also should note that I'm very busy with the kiddies so really want to do as much as possible in advance.
Here's what I was thinking:
3 salads - some sort of orzo/tomato/pinenut thing, a snowpea/radish/sesame-miso salad and a crunchy vinegary slaw with cucumbers.
I'm going to order party sandwiches so there's some protein and it's easy.
Then I was thinking I should do some sort of quiche or tart and I'm stumped on something that would be both easy and/or possible to do in advance- any suggestions?
Pesto pea crostini
Cupcakes for the kids
Ina's Lemon Yogurt loaf
Mini peanut butter chocolate cheesecakes
So what am I missing? Is this doable? Any suggestions? Feedback? Thanks in advance!!
Cooked egg dishes are great to do in advance. If you're going with quiche, do a crustless one to avoid the sog factor. You could also make a large vegetable frittata and cut it into individual pieces, or make egg muffins.
I might skip the salmon sandwiches and make a salmon dip or mousse to serve with crudités & crackers.
Oh, and I have a terrific recipe for orzo salad - here's a link:
I would probably make a strata, a savory bread pudding. Assemble it the day before and bake it at the last minute. I make mine in a big springform pan and unfold it and serve it like cake. Delicious! Smitten kitchen has some wonderful ideas, the lentil chickpea salad, French onion tart etc....most of her dishes are vegetarian and she has a huge sweet tooth. She has great recipes for homemade junk food ie pop tarts, Oreos ding dongs...you could have a lot of fun with this. I have 2teenagers and I've never had success with party sandwiches, they, and all their friends, always hated them.
How much older are the 'older' kids. I have 1 chowhound, and 1 who has not yet discovered how delicious some food are. Even though my chow son (age 11) eats a lot of different foods, he'd probably only eat a pb& j and sweets here. These flavors are a bit above him. The non chow kid (age 13) would be filling up on cupcakes, and begging for pizza on the way home. (Neither like mayo at all, so sandwiches would be. No go.) how about some pizza or pasta item for kids who don't have such adventurous palates? (I would be all over the orzo salad)
It all sounds good but I think you should sub out one of the salads for some kind of green salad. I love this Orzo with Tomato, Feta, Green Onions. You can make the orzo and dressing in advance and assemble the day of the event.
And the pesto pea crostini sounds good but here is another favorite of mine and my guests always love it...Pea dip with parmesan. Can be a dip or crostini.
My only other suggestion would be to maybe add in a tomato/mozzarella sandwich or a cheese plate.
How about Mac n cheese? You can put together a day ahead and just bake the day of, has good kid appeal.
Another option is a savory bread pudding, maybe with sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and asparagus. I think sun dried tomatoes give a great flavor punch to egg dishes, especially if you are not using a pork product like ham or bacon.
Quiches are great to make ahead of time and then reheat quickly in the microwave. There are lots of recipes out there for meatless quiches, with lots of cheese and easy to blend/hide veggies inside for picky little (and even grown-up) eaters! If you go this route, I recommend doing an oblong/square quiche so that it's easier to cut into pieces.
What are you doing for beverages?
Quiche is great at room temp but since everthing else will be, it might be nice to have them warm. It's easy enough to freeze the dough in pie tins (or buy frozen), chop/cook fillings and have them ready to go, as well as mix up eggs/milk/custard part. Just assemble quickly before baking, an hour before party, and bake. I love savory bread pudding but you're already having sandwiches. You could also make mini quiche in advance and freeze. Reheat from frozen. But that would take a lot more work.
Where's the food for the kids? I've got 2 kids who are adventurous eaters, but most kids aren't going to be thrilled with snow pea radish salad and pesto pea crostini. Heck, I don't think my kids would eat that.
I get that you're trying to impress the adults with this menu, but this is a kid's party. You should have some kid friendly foods -- basic pasta salad, hummus and pita, crudites, maybe some pizza or flatbreads? A lot of kids like simple foods.
I would also refrain from serving PB&J and peanut butter unless you know for sure that no one is allergic. Plus many parents dont give peanut butter to kids under 2 years old as a precaution.
Thanks everyone for all your great feedback and suggestions. I've decided to make some changes so that it's a bit more kid-friendly (mac n cheese, veggies and dip) and less crazy for me (no crostini, one less salad, and some quiches for the grownups).
I really appreciate all your suggestions - you guys are great! Hopefully it all works out...:)