Entertaining Ideas
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New poster here, looking for some ideas!


We are having an informal dinner New Years Eve. There will be 4 adults and 3 kids, 2 children under 2. I am normally good about picking a menu, but am at a loss. We have plans with the family in the afternoon so I am looking for appetizer, dinner, and dessert ideas that I can make ahead of time and just have to pop in the oven that are also child friendly.  Any ideas? Tia and happy holidays to everyone! 

Re: New poster here, looking for some ideas!

  •  The kids might have fun with a make-your-own pizza idea. The dough and sauce could already be laid out and they could choose from dishes of toppings.

     Have you ever made Bridge Dessert?  You could make it ahead of time and it has pretty layers if you serve it as slices from a pan or if you layer it in stemware or more sturdy glasses for the little ones.

  • My family's Christmas dinner is fairly simple since no one really wants to put a lot of work into it:

    Honeybaked ham (or similarly precooked ham), specialty breads and mini croissants, mustard, mayo, cheese for making your own sandwiches. A side dish is usually three cheese scalloped potatoes that my mom makes on Christmas Eve and just warms up on Christmas - it keeps really well and actually tastes better after marinating in the yummy, cheesy sauce all night. And usually fruit salad of some sort, like ambrosia or something that can be made before hand and stuck in the fridge. If you don't want to do sandwiches, you could just serve ham warmed up and sliced.

    For an appetizer, I would do a veggie and olive tray. It's not necessarily a hearty appetizer, but just something to have out while everyone is waiting.

    For desert, anything goes really. Pies, cakes, and cookies can be made ahead.

  • We like to do fondue for New Year's bc it is a long night and it gives us time to sit and talk around the table and eat all night:)  You could do cheese fondue for apps, oil to cook meats, and then chocolate for dipping at desert.  The kids would love to just pick all night and you could do chicken nuggets and those types of foods for them.  The only real work during the evening would be switching out the fondue pots, but you can have that all set up ahead of time too. 
  • For an app, I think cheese and crackers are popular for kids and adults.

    For dinner you could make a ham, and serve it with green beans with slivered almonds, and baked macaroni and cheese.  That way you please the adults and the kids.

    For dessert, you can make chocolate mousse drizzled with raspberry sauce and garnish with raspberries and mint leaves. Or even just do an assortment of cookies.

  • I really like all the previous ideas!

    Another thought would be to do some kind of pasta dish--perhaps a chicken parm or chicken fettucine alfredo? Those are usually pretty kid-safe, and for the adults you can serve it with a nice, light salad. You can also serve homemade garlic bread, which I've found is usually a huge hit with the kids: buy a loaf of French bread (or a baguette). Cut into slices, but keep the bread intact so that each slice has to be torn off from the bottom. Mix butter with fresh, minced garlic and dill weed (just eyeball it to taste). Spread on each slice of bread VERY liberally, and then throw it in the oven at around 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on how done you want it.

    I would do some cheese and crackers with a fruit tray and a veggie tray for an appetizer. If you want something more substantial, you can make a dip. Last night I made a fabulous dip for DH: 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, one pound of sausage, and one can of Rotel. Browned the sausage, drained it, added the cream cheese and rotel, heated it through, and served with tortilla chips. Delicious!

     Good luck!

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  • New Year's eve just isn't right without pork and kraut in our house.  Put it in the crock pot and forget it.  Mash some potatoes the night before, put in a casserole dish and reheat that night.  Most kids love mashed potatoes and will pick around the kraut.

    Apps- cheese, veggies, shrimp

    Dessert- head to Sam's and pick up a cheesecake.  They have plain ones you could have different toppings for or get a sampler with different flavors.

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