Entertaining Ideas
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I need some fresh ideas

I have my daughter's bday party and my son's baptism coming up.  Bday will be noonish in early April.  I'd like to do easy apps and a casual meal since the parties tend to last all day.  The baptism will be Mothers day ~2ish.  Again parties tend to last awhile so I'd like heavy enough food to feed people but nicer than hot dogs on the grill. 

I need some fresh ideas for food.  Even one thing could help me get started.  If it makes a difference I'm going for a cat bday theme.  I found some cute chocolate cat cookies, but I WON'T be doing a litter box cake. 

Re: I need some fresh ideas

  • What about your normal fare are you tired of?  The one time I veered from my usual (that Mexican e-party), it didn't turn out well because I was so unfamiliar and I wished I hadn't.
  • Hm, I feel like I make the same broccoli slaw, deviled eggs, veggies and dip for casual parties. Ham, cheesy potatoes, etc for nicer stuff.  I'm bored.  (I'm also a little tired and hormonal and had to jump through a bajillion hoops to get thes things scheduled.)

  • what about sandwiches (have cold cuts and cheeses on hand with rolls), a green chef salad, fruit salad with yogurt dip, veggies and dip, and a macaroni salad?


    my favorite macaroni salad is cooking spiral 3 color pasta, throwing diced green peppers in about 2 min before the pasta's done, draining the pasta, adding sliced black olives (and any other veggies you want), and then the "dressing" is italian dressing and shredded cheese (i use a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar).  the whole thing turns into a delicious pasta salad with just enough cheesy goodness!

    other ideas are crockpot pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs and italian sausages on the grill (with sauteed peppers and onions!), macaroni and cheese,  bean salad, chilli, garlic bread..... so many things! =)

     hands down my favorite kid-friendly dessert is pretzels with hershey kisses and m&ms.





    have fun with it! =)

    i do suggest that if you're doing anything REALLY out of the ordinary, that you do a dry-run first. just so you feel comfortable and non-stressed on party day! 


  • It's hard to change what you feel comfortable preparing.

    I am a cook book "whore", and have tons of them. But the funny thing is, I usually end up finding exactly what I want online.

    Look up Mother's Day brunches on foodnetwork.com, cookingchanneltv.com, or marthastewart.com. Whatever one would serve for Mother's Day would be fine for another party that day.

    Kid's parties are hard, you don't say how old your daughter is. Around here you can buy large frozen portions of appetizers at stores like Costco or Gordon Food Service (which is local to the midwest I think). I've purchased large frozen portions of various types of appetizers like meatballs, which are perfect for Sweet & Sour meatballs, or meatball sub sandwiches, or "mini-sliders" in small buns. Bags of chicken tenders with various sauces for dipping. Kids are picky, so I'd go with maybe small cocktail weenies wrapped in sections of Pillsbury Crescent rolls (I'm sure the recipe is online somewhere).

    Hope that gives you some places to start. Good luck.

  • I should have mentioned that these parties will mainly be adults.  My daughter is 2 and both parties will be family.  30ish people, but I have the only young ones.  The other kids are over 10.

    I've never actually done italian so maybe I'll just do an antipasti platter, baked ziti, tossed salad, meatballs, and garlic bread for the bday.  Since the baptism is getting more into warm weather I might do sandwich wraps and experiment with/purchase some sides.

  • Hi!  Even though I promised myself not to "nest" until my business website was up  I had to stop working to reply to this... 

    Happy New Year everyone BTW.  Our family has pretty much recovered from the hurricane.  Thanks for your kind words during our tough times. :)

    I wanted to suggest...  a Parmesan Chicken Cutlet recipe that I just did the other night from Taste of Home.  (I can find it for you if you like).  My family devoured it and it would be a nice compliment to your proposed Italian Menu which has a lot of red sauce already.  I also have a great Eggplant Parmesan recipe for you to try and a great Lasagna recipe that I have worked on over the years and modified for a crowd.

    Also...  this month's issue of "Taste of Home" has some fun recipes in it and may inspire you to entertain again.  It has sparked my interest.  Please let me know if you need me to type up any of the recipes I mentioned. 

    @ hope you and your family are doing well.  Health, Happiness and Prosperity to everyone in the coming year. :)

    ~ W.

  • PS.  Also... I do have a great Basil Pesto Sauce recipe -which can be made in advance and tossed with pasta right before serving.  Would also compliment the red sauces...

     Would also consider adding the following to your cat dessert: (though I don't have recipes for):

    Tartuffo ( individual frozen Ice Cream treats with cherries inside), Tiramisu - can be made in advance or purchased frozen.  Cannollis, Napoleons etc.

    & if you can brew espresso/cappuccino and serve with Sambucca Liquer and - of course 3 espresso beans in the liquer - for good luck!

  • Hello wjw2!  Miss seeing you!  Hope recovery is going well for you and your family.

    6, what about quiche?  Either frozen bites or a homemade full size one?  Perfect for spring, and special, but not over the top. Do with croissants of meat for the guys and kids and chicken/tuna/egg salads for the ladies.  I think whoever said "think Mother's Day" was on a good track.  Or to go in a different direction, grilled chicken, cut into tenders to cook more quickly.

    This French onion dip is out of this world.  The onions need a while on the stove to cook down, but you don't have to do anything more than stir every now and again.  You can make the onions up to 3 days in advance (or 2 months in the freezer) and blend with the base right before serving - I think it tastes best when the two haven't been together more than a couple hours. 

  • Y'all have got me thinking.  I'm still like italian for the bday.  The kid loves pasta ane meatballs so it sort of makes sense.  I found some cool ideas for apps and bruschetta.

    The quiche is making me think heavy apps.  I can do some premade wraps and cmini croissant.  Then get some frozen quiche and see what else.  I could also do some pasta salad skewers and maybe even some fruit skewers (like an edible arrangemen?)  I've clearly got some time, but I'm really liking this idea. 

  • WJW2- forgive my manners.  It's wonderful to see you here.  I'm glad you are recoverying from the hurrican.  I would love an eggplant parm recipe.

  • Thank you!  No worries~  I'm glad to be back.  I missed you guys!  I'm only doing very casual entertaining myself these days but I finally got my website up and our businesses and family back on track. :)

    Here is my version of Martha Stewart's "Lighter Eggplant Parmesan" - mine ends up being heavier though...


    1 Large Eggplant, (aprox 2 lbs.) sliced 1/2" thick crosswise

    Olive Oil

    Kosher Salt and Pepper

    1 Cup Milk

    3 Tablespoons Flour

    2 Garlic Cloves, minced

    2 1/2 Cups of homemade or Good Store-Bought Marinara Sauce (I like Newman's)

    1/2 Cup (or lots more) Grated Part-Skim Mozzarella

    1/3 Cup (or more) Grated Parmesan

    Ricotta Cheese (I'm adding a layer)

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in the upper and lower thirds.  Arrange eggplant on two rimmed baking sheets.  Brush eggplant ( and baking sheet) on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake until golden brown and very tender, 20 to 25 minutes, turning slices and rotating sheets halfway through.

    Meanwhile make the pink sauce:  Off heat in a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/4 cup milk, flour, and garlic.  Gradually whisk in remaining 3/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup marinara sauce - or more.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until pink sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

    Spread marinara sauce in the bottom of a shallow baking dish (9 x 13").  Alternate layers of baked eggplant with pink sauce.  (I also add a layer of ricotta).  Dollop with reamining cup marinara sauce,  Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan.  Bake on upper rack for 10 to 15 minutes. :)

    Be sure to buy the "skinny" eggplants - if you can.  They have less seeds. Hope you enjoy this recipe.  ~ W.

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