Thank you to Material Maidel for inviting me to contribute to Kosher Cuisine. While I was happy to be included, I wasn’t sure what I could bring to the table here (ha ha ha! That’s so punny!) I’m not the world’s best cook, and I don’t really have any recipes in my repertoire that are so exceptional that they deserve to be shared here. One thing I do know, however, is how to feed hungry kids on a tight budget. Another thing I know (hey! I know two things!) is how to throw a fun birthday party for the young’uns that won’t burn a hole in your wallet (think arts & crafts, jewelry beading, painting, and “manicures & makeovers” for the girls; outdoor ball games for the boys, because you don’t really want so many rambunctious little boys inside your house at one time).
So I thought I’d share with you some menu ideas that will allow you to host a fun, inexpensive and easy to prepare birthday party that DOES NOT INCLUDE PIZZA (kids eat way too much pizza). The rule of thumb here is that most kids like food that is cut up, crunchy, easy to eat, and presented in a fun way- in colorful little bowls, or on a stick. Added bonus: you won’t need to provide any cutlery- this is finger food (except for the ice cream).
***For ages 3 and up only. Some of these foods present a choking hazard to children under 3.
*Bowls of potato chips, pretzels, licorice bites, M&Ms, etc. for snacking.
*Miniature bagels filled with cream cheese, butter, strawberry or grape jelly, tuna salad, egg salad or grilled cheese.
*Cut up cucumbers, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and red/yellow/orange baby bell peppers arranged attractively on a tray or on colorful toothpicks. Provide small bowls of creamy salad dressing for dipping.
*For dessert (and instead of an expensive birthday cake that no one will finish) prepare in advance little 4 oz. cups with one scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with a bit of chocolate syrup. Before serving, top each one with whipped cream and colored sprinkles. Put a lit candle in the birthday child’s cup and sing Happy Birthday.
*Bowls of potato chips, pretzels, licorice bites, popcorn, etc. for snacking.
* Alternate cocktail franks on toothpicks with crunchy pickle slices. Provide ketchup and mustard for dipping.
*Put out trays of french fries, mini corn on the cobb, and small potato burekas (just fill store bought puff pastry squares with mashed potatoes and bake at 425 degrees Farenheit for 15-20 minutes).
*You can add a tray of homemade chicken nuggets if you’d like.
*For dessert: put out little bowls of fruit: grapes (plucked off the vine), baby apples, cubes of seedless watermelon, and orange sections. Put each type of fruit in a separate bowl, so the kids can select the ones that they like.
Instead of birthday cake: brownie squares with colorful sprinkles. Put a lit candle in the birthday child’s brownie and sing Happy Birthday.
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