Help planning menu for birthday party?!

Question: Help planning menu for birthday party?
I am planning my son's first birthday party, and I'd like to serve something a little more exciting than the traditional sloppy joes or pizza. It's going to be a fairly big event, probably 30-35 people, and I can't afford to cater it, but I'd like suggestions on something maybe a bit more unusual. It doesn't necessarily need to be super kid-friendly, either, as most of the guest list will be adults.


Keeping in mind that most homes don't have chafing dishes available to keep food at proper serving temperatures, or refrigerated salad bars, you need to be selective with the food choices. Anything mayonnaise or dairy based can go bad when sitting out too long. You will probably need to use crockpots or something like that to keep hot foods hot too.

I, personally, like an appetizer type offereing at parties. You can serve a lot of different type foods and usually everyone can find something they like. Think:

Finger sandwiches - Ham, turkey, salami on mini crescent rolls with cheese and leaf lettuce (no dressing as this will make the bread soggie and the sandwiches go bad faster. Have condiments on the side, preferable on ice.

Veggies and or Fruit Baskets - instructions for making one here:

Cheese ball and crackers - line platter with leaf lettuce and have a 2 tiered basket with crackers next to it.

Pulled Seasoned Roast Beef or Pulled BBQ with slider rolls - Use a crockpot to keep meat warm and have the rolls nearby for guests to make their own sandwiches.

Pinwheels - Assorted meat, cheese and finely chopped veggies rolled on a tortilla and sliced. Simple to make and pretty in presentation

Bread Bowl with spinach dip and tortilla chips

Assorted Finger Desserts - mini brownie bites, mini muffins, mini cookies, mini pastry cups filled with assorted mousse - all of these can be displayed on tiered racks

For tips on displaying your foods -

Here is an idea, You could prepare a couple of different types of pasta like Angel Hair, Rigatoni, Spaghetti etc.. then have a couple of different sauces on hand, it doesn't have to be fancy you could even buy the sauces already made there are some good ones on the market. Then grill up some chicken strips or breasts and or make some meatballs, then spread everything out and let everyone make their own pasta dish. Have a bread basket and some Parmesan cheese and maybe a large bowl of salad. If you wanted to go wild you could buy some canned biscuits or some type of small frozen pizza doughs some pepperoni and some shredded mozzarella oh yeah! some pizza sauce and let the kids make their own individual pizzas throw them all on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven.The kids can have pizza and the adults can have pasta.

Check out my blog at for information on culinary arts and tips on cooking plus I will be posting recipes periodically.

I'm a chef and I have done a lot of catering some for kids bdays

Taquitos...and have bowls of cabbage, tomatoes, black olive, lime and sour cream.

lunch spagetti and meatballs or chicken tenders dessert big ice cream cake

I'm not sure what you want to spend...or how much you want to cook...but you can do batches of lasagna, a salad, rolls or garlic bread slices, fresh green beans w/lemon, garlic, s&p, a fruit platter.

1 12 oz package Oven Ready Lasagna
2 15 oz OR 1 lg container Ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 eggs. slightly beaten
1 tsp dried basil
2 jars spaghetti sauce.. (leftover sauce for serving and leftovers!)
1 cup water
1 lb. lean ground beef, cooked and drained

Oven set to 375^. In medium bowl, combine Ricotta, 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, and basil; mix well.

In another medium bowl, combine 1 jar of sauce, 1 cup water and browned beef; mix well.

In 9x13 pan, spread 1 1/2 cups meat sauce. Place 4 sheets of Lasagna over sauce. Use 1 more sheet to lay the opposite way lengthwise to cover the space at the end.
Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture over noodles, top with 1/3 of meat sauce. Repeat layering once.

Top with 4 sheets of noodles, then sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Wrap Lasagna tightly with a double layer of foil.
Bake for 55 to 60 min or until the lasagna is fork tender. Let stand 10 min. sealed in foil before cutting and serving.....serves 4 HUGE portions...or 6 big portions or 8 moderate portions.

Chicken nuggets for kids? Mini sliders? Fancy baked potato mice for kids>>…

You can do a taco bar with sides

You can make bacon wrapped pork medallions>>>(this recipe is only for 4, so adjust accordingly)


* 8 slices bacon
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder
* 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 2 pounds pork tenderloin
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Place the bacon in a large, oven-safe skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and still flexible, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove any excess bacon grease from the skillet. Combine garlic powder, seasoning salt, basil, and oregano in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Wrap the pork tenderloin with the bacon strips securing with 1 or 2 toothpicks per strip of bacon. Slice the tenderloin between each bacon strip to create the medallions. Dip both sides of the medallions in seasoning mix. Melt butter and oil together in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook each medallion for 4 minutes on each side.
4. Place skillet into the preheated oven and bake until the pork is no longer pink in the center, 17 to 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

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