Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids

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Everytime I host a family event I have the same issue with planning the meal.  I have four children from the ages of 2 - 14.  Many of our family has children and all of our friends have children.  Anytime a meal or get together is planned the children far outnumber the adults and there is just no way a "sit down" dinner is possible in my space or reasonable.  Now the big question for me always is what to serve that will not only keep the children happy the parents as well.  I don't mind a buffet idea but I also would like to serve something to make the adult feel like "adults" if you understand what I mean.  I just don't feel grown up eating chicken fingers lol. Then again I don't feel like spending all day in the kitchen when I invite anyone over for a casual dinner invite. 

Thanks for your input!!!


Spaghetti - meat sauce or meat balls, garlic toast, salad, and optionally some kind of soup to start.........if you want to be fancier - the adults could have chicken tetrazini (sp?) while the kids have meatballs.  Some of the kids may try the chicken and some of the adults may choose the meatballs - I've seen it happen!

The adults can have wine (if you drink) or iced tea if you don't - the kids can have grape juice or whatever else is the usually beverage where you live.

When I was a kid, at family gatherings, the kids just ate the same thing as the adults.  A nice turkey is something everyone can enjoy, or a brisket.  I can't ever remember getting served something different at home, and even at resteraunts, I tried my parents' dishes, and was off the kids menu fairly young.

I LOVED when I got to try something exotic.  As long as it doesn't look "icky", most of the kids I knew growing up would try it.

What I'd make for a buffet would never involve tomato sauce, though.  Maybe an alfredo or pesto?  Tomato sauce + 2 year old = mess.  Or maybe mini-meatballs in a mushroom type sauce.  Or any recipie that is easily expandable to lots of people.

I admit, I don't understand kids menus.  When I was a kid, I always wanted to order off the adult menu, it was so much more INTERESTING.  I wasn't allowed to until I was 8, and had a shot at eating a significant enough portion of it to be worth it (having a kosher home, though not keeping kosher in resteraunts made doggy bags not an option.)  I haven't eaten off a kids menu since I was 10.

I think you need to distinguish between a dinner party and a family and friends get together.

Dinner parties are formal with interesting food. Family & Friend get to gethers are buffets with a little of everything and are by no means supposed to be fabulous gourmand experiences.

Grilled food, briskets, taco bars, Italian buffets, etc. are the norm for F&F's.

If you want to do something more upscale, invite a few and ask them to get a babysitter.

Things that kids (and adults) can participate in making are great.  Some ideas:

* Pizza -- you make (or buy) individual sized pizza dough and provide lots of toppings for people to put on them
* Do-it-yourself burrito bar.  Provide tortillas and fillings.
* Taco bar.  Same kind of deal.


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