When you are throwing a birthday party, whether it is for a child or an adult, you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen, preparing elaborate dishes while everyone else is having fun. Keep your guests fed and your kitchen clean by whipping up a variety of quick, simple snacks. If you don’t go overboard with the food at a party, guests will have plenty of room left for the most important part–the birthday cake.
It may sound lazy, but you can serve chips and pretzels from a bag at a party. Just make sure you pour them out of the bag and into a fancy serving bowl before any guests see them. Set out a few different types of dip to accompany the chips and pretzels. You can also arrange pre-cut vegetables on a platter and set out bowls of nuts. If you serve nuts, ask around first to make sure none of your guests are allergic.
Children and adults love the idea of a make-your-own sundae bar. When it’s time to make the sundaes, assign one adult the task of scooping ice cream. Hand small paper bowls out to the guests. Lay out sundae toppings on a table, in the order that they’d most likely go. Place sprinkles, chopped nuts, candy pieces and crushed cookies in small bowls, then set out a bottle of chocolate sauce and a bottle of strawberry sauce. Put several cans of whipped cream at the end of the table along with a few bowls of maraschino cherries.
Anything on a Stick
For whatever reason, food does taste better on a stick. Thread cubes of fruit onto skewers and place on a platter. Wrap mini-hotdogs in crescent dough and bake on skewers. A few nights before the birthday party, brainstorm ideas for food on a stick with the guest of honor. Who knows, you may end up serving birthday cake on a stick, in the form of cakesicles.
Mini-sized portions of food can be more fun to eat than full-sized versions. Make mini-pizzas using small bagels or English muffins. Serve sliders or other petite sandwiches. Purchase or bake mini-muffins or donuts. Serve cupcakes instead of a large birthday cake to cut down on a clean-up time after the party. Continue the mini theme by setting out bowls of miniature or fun-sized candy bars.
Salsas and Dips
Homemade dips are easy to make, and add a personal touch to a spread full of bagged chips and snacks. Choose an assortment of dips, such as hummus, French onion and tomato salsa to give your guests plenty of options. You can cheat and buy some dips pre-made if you want, but you should really try to make at least one at home. Hummus is particularly simple. All you need to do is blend lemon juice, tahini and a can of chickpeas together, spoon it into a bowl, drizzle olive oil on the top, and serve.
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