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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Menu Ideas & Help / Birthday party picnic at a state park.
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    Birthday party picnic at a state park.

    604 Center
    Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:57 pm
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    Hubby's and my birthdays are at the end of September. Since this is our first year being married, we decided to throw a picnic at the nearby state park where he proposed in October. This isn't for awhile, but I'm a planner and want to have things ready so I can begin buying whatever I can ahead of time. We considered making it potluck, but I don't know. I figure most people will volunteer to bring something and we'll say "sure, bring a side dish."

    I'm new to this whole planning a party for 20 people (adults and kids) and have no idea what I'm doing. I know I'm doing German chocolate cupcakes with pecan-cocunut frosting for dessert, but other than that I have no idea. We originally thought barbecue pulled pork and chicken wings, but I don't know how to keep this warm without electricity.

    My question is this...What would you prepare that would be good for something like this? How would you keep things warm? Cold?

    Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:36 am
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    Chafing dishes! They're easy to set up and last a long time (unless it's disposable). If you want to spend some money, you could get one from a restaurant supply. Or.. if you think you'll never use it again, WalMart. I have a few that I pull out whenever we have an outdoor party; it's easier than running extension cords out there!
    Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:41 pm
    Forum Host
    Wow! How completely fun!!! Only large outdoor party I threw at a park, I had access to electricity, so had crock pots going. I love the chafing dish idea!!
    Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:24 am Groupie
    I do these all the time, maybe not a picnic, but a BBQ at the beach or just parties for 20-40 often.

    A couple of notes. If you are hosting, either say pot luck or NOT. And ask people to tell you WHAT they are bringing. Otherwise you will end up with 3 pastas and 2 spud salads and nothing else.

    DO NOT leave it wide open. And people will not be offended.

    The best thing is for you to set a menu, then say "bring a dish" And tell them what you need a dip, a salad, pasta, dessert, etc. But ask them to let you know and say the reason is so you don't end up with 5 pasta salads which does happen.

    Crock pots, If made will keep pulled pork and even chicken wings, very warm. They are both good BBQ foods. Baked spiral ham. Also, easy, because it can be served warm or room temp. It is great sliced on a soft roll with a spicy mustard or a chutney. It is easy and simple to prepare and travels well.

    Pasta salads with out may is great and is more tolerable to HIGH heat. Fruit salads are great, pasta, but again, so many options other than mayo based. Carrot or peas salads are nice and so it roasted vegetables.

    I tend to stick with cold dips, antipasto skewers are easy and made ahead and travel well. Desserts, I stick with small portions, easier to transport and eat especially outside.

    Chili is also another travel good food. In a crock it will stay warm, travels good and made ahead. And don't think just beef chili. A white bean, chicken chili is great or a black bean chili is fun

    And rather than full large size sandwiches ... try little small rolls, so people can try a little of each item vs just one thing.

    And rather than a salad. Try a salad in a lettuce cup. You can mix tomato, cucumber, olives, onions and toss with a vinaigrette or ranch, or your favorite, add some shredded romaine and spoon into small lettuce cups. Easy to transport again and easy to eat vs on a plate and usually no waste because you just make how many people will be eating and then what is not eaten can be chopped up and mixed with more salad for the next night.

    So ...
    Ham, small variety of rolls, a couple of different condiments
    Chili, cornbread mini muffins
    Pulled pork, small rolls, coleslaw
    A muffaletta sandwich is also a nice change too
    Wings, baked or grilled and then kept warm in the crock, add a couple of dips
    Spud salad, pasta salad, pea salad
    Fruit skewers with a yogurt vanilla dipping sauce
    Antipasta skewers
    Marinated olives (made ahead and served chilled)
    roasted vegetable salad

    These are my favorites, I have recipes for all, but I thought I would throw out the ideas first.
    Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:25 am Groupie
    All good hints and tips from TWINIE!!!

    Especially about the bring a side dish as will end up with 10 pasta dishes and 10 cole slaws lol lol

    ok...Does the Area have BBQ access? Can you bring portable BBQ's?

    I do ALOT (lol) of entertaining too!

    And well, ok....I also like to do things in advance so there is no mucking around getting closer to the date and also helps re the budget too!

    I fond people like to graze!! lol

    Will there be any protected area in case of the weather? THAT is the ONLY thing I stress about lol

    I fond platters are simple, easy and make for good presentations icon_smile.gif

    Fruit and cheese platter with minimal decorations always go over well and are economical

    also platters are easily transpotable icon_smile.gif

    Chicken wing platters

    Maybe create a theme around the foods served icon_smile.gif

    Salad ideas

    Cold veggie lasagna rolls ups

    Cold chicken stick with satay sauce

    If it was me, would take out the other stress factor of keeping foods warm and find a wonderful colourful variety of foods and create a buffet table icon_smile.gif

    One less thing to worry about on the day icon_smile.gif

    Soba noodles in some really cute birthday themed Chinese takeaway containers...can get them at any 2.00 store icon_smile.gif

    three bean salad

    other salad ideas

    Even a subway type food long sandwich works too icon_smile.gif

    Good Luck

    Look forward to hearing your feedback too!


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