Author Topic: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids  (Read 3013 times)

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tiggnduff

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Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« on: March 14, 2007, 12:40:55 AM »
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!!!

Karen

VorFemme

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2007, 01:18:00 AM »
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.

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RoseRose

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2007, 01:51:45 AM »
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.



MadMadge43

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2007, 02:17:08 AM »
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.

artk2002

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2007, 06:55:19 AM »
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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kherbert05

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2007, 07:23:57 PM »
Sounds like one of our family parties. We really don't have "kid food" if the child is too young to eat what everyone else is eating his/her parents are responsible for his/her food. Sometimes we will have a spicy/not spicy choice. That is usually more for a couple of the grown ups who have problems with really spicy food - not the kids. The kids eat  what their parents eat at home and the food at the parties isn't much different from what we all eat at home.
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bamagator

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2007, 03:22:24 AM »
Try baked spaghetti.  It is fairly inexpensive and feeds many.  Most kids and adults enjoy this dish.  Since it is mixed together, it isn't nearly as messy as regular spaghetti.  I usually cover it with mozzarella cheese and bake until bubbly.  It is yummy! 

Suze

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2007, 07:05:49 AM »
Ahh "red spaghetti"  we always used elbow macaronie instead of long spaghetti

Just mix all the elbows with the sauce and fill a roaster up and let cook.  This was always at least one food at any family party.

shreded beef was a sandwich food, and around this area BBQ means something sort of like "Manwich"  only made from scratch. 

no one complained that the food was not "adult" enough and there was plenty of it
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Saki_Fiz

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2007, 05:29:12 PM »
Spaghetti is always good as mentioned above.  Just make sure the none of the kids are wearing white shirts.   :)

Another suggestion that I enjoyed as a kid is fried chicken with some of the standard sides.  What my mom would do is make the potato salad, beans, biscuits, and dessert herself and then to some save time is actually just pick up the chicken from KFC.  And I think KFC has assorted buckets now where you can get some chicken fingers for the kids and then real sized pieces for the adults.

Pixie

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2007, 05:35:01 PM »
I am # 9 out of 13 kids..... trust me, we did NOT have kid's menus.... every night was a huge meal. Some of my favorites.....

Burgers and fries,

chili and or chili dogs, 

chili and grilled cheese sandwiches

Lasagna, with French/Garlic bread and salad

Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, home-rolls, and a veggie (usually Corn on the Cob)

Turkey, stuffing, green beans and rolls

Ham, scalped taters, veggies (I cheat and put the veggies IN my scalped taters!)

roast beef, smashed taters, veggies

Swedish meatballs over noodles with fresh garden veggies

Pork roast with  sauerkraut, new potatoes and creamed peas

Pork roast with wild Rice casserole and fresh garden veggies

Taco bar

Basically Mom (and I) cooked regular family dinners, we just cooked a LOT of food, on very special occasions we got Mom's home-made Italian Spaghetti sauce with home-made meatballs, French bread, and a lovely green Salad

Every Christmas Eve we kids made Home-made pizza and got to choose our own toppings while Dad had oyster stew.... Mom got to sample the pizzas


The hard part for me now.... although its easier than when I first got married.... is remembering that I only have one husband and 3 kids..... I still tend to cook too much food.


sparksals

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2007, 05:35:42 PM »
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.


This is how I was raised too.  There was nothing different for the kids when we had people over for dinner or went to other's homes.  We were taught to eat what was placed in front of us and to absolutely NOT say anything negative about the meal.  

However, we were also raised that most dinner parties were adult only events and that everyone was expected to get a babysitter.  In the case of family dinners or Sunday dinner when children were included, we ate what the hostess provided.  

Since the OP's dinner is family friendly, I think a buffet would be most appropriate.  There's a great pistacio pudding salad with pineapple, nuts and coolwhip that kids absolutely LOVE.

Venus193

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2007, 06:47:49 PM »
I'm with RoseRose and Sparksals on this one.  There is no good reason for children to get a different menu.  If you want to make something spicy, though, either be sure the chlidren can handle it or provide hot sauce/salsa/cayenne/whatever for the adults.

sparksals

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2007, 07:58:45 PM »
I agree, Venus.  To me, it sounds like the kids are controlling the party and the menu rather than the adults.  Also, with kids being such picky eaters, isn't there the chance that half the kids don't like spagetti so they want pizza, but then the spagetti eaters don't think it's fair the others get pizza and want some too, then the pizza eaters are ticked because they other kids got spagetti AND pizza.  lol

Bijou

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2007, 12:38:03 AM »
We always just have one menu for adults and kids.  Someone mentioned a taco bar.  That's a good idea as is a tostada bar.  We used to do tostada bars and crisp the corn tortillas in the oven (but you can buy them already crisp and just heat them).  We just rubbed them with oil and put them in a pan and let them bake at I forget what heat, until they were done. 

I LOVE Lazy Gravy and I think it is something kids like, too.   
Fry about a pound of lean ground beef in large (bite sized) crumbles till brown,add a little oil and about a heaping tablespoon of flour and fry until the flour is golden and the meat is coated, add half a package of dry onion-mushroom soup mix, a can of chicken broth and about a cup of milk and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  I love this stuff over bread, potatoes, rice...topped with fresh chopped tomatoes.
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Venus193

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Re: Menu suggestions for family with LOTS!! of kids
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2007, 09:08:42 AM »
Also, with kids being such picky eaters, isn't there the chance that half the kids don't like spagetti so they want pizza, but then the spagetti eaters don't think it's fair the others get pizza and want some too, then the pizza eaters are ticked because they other kids got spagetti AND pizza.  lol

I don't know what's up with parents who put up with picky-eater kids.  My parents would have had a fit.