15 answers

Informal Dinner: Adults and Kids

My husband and I bought a house about three months ago and would like to invite some friends over that have kids for an informal dinner. Our daughter is under two but our friends' kids are six through eight. I threw out the idea of making lasagna to one of my friends and the friend said her kids don't like Italian food! I don't want to make a separate meal for the kids being that this isn't a dinner party, just an informal get-together and I wouldn't expect a separate meal for my child. Any ideas on informal entertaining? I know my friends like meat so we could do a roast, potatoes and a vegetable with rolls and maybe an appetizer. Thank you!

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So What Happened?™

Moms: Just want to say I love the suggestions you gave me as I've never had dinner other than a barbecue in my home. I am not used to the above five through ten age group so thanks for the heads up. My under two year old is pretty picky so I guess it doesn't change much even when they are a bit older!
A few of you expressed how it is rude for a parent to say their kid wouldn't eat something. Well, I told her if I brought my daughter over her house and she made something Alyssa didn't like, I wouldn't expect her to make something else. So if her kids will only eat the bread, so be it! The idea of making tacos sounds really great, easy and pretty inexpensive! As for pasta without sauce, that was a good tip too because I was picky like that myself as a kid. I didn't even like ketchup on my burger! Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

Featured Answers

For casual meals we usually serve roast and potatoes, spaghetti & veggies, or frito pie with homemade chili (and hotdogs for the kids).

We also serve buffet style- much easier for large groups.

2 moms found this helpful

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We do informal dinners for families all the time, both as host and as guest!

As host, I usually ask if anyone is allergic or vegetarian or doesn't like a certain food though before I decide what to make.

Make the lasagna if you want, the kids can eat the side dishes or learn to eat around the parts they don't like. Or do something they can create buffet style if they are picky, like tacos, fajitas, chicken and rice, burgers. The roast idea sounds wonderful.

I have to admit, the mom saying her kids don't like a certain food is interesting, I would never say that, even if they were serving raw tripe and brussel sprouts... though I would enthusiastically offer to bring some garlic bread or a nice salad or bowl of fresh fruit or brownies..

5 moms found this helpful

nothing is better than Mexican for informal. How about tacos? You can have fish, beef, chicken, or all the above. You can snaz it up by using shredded cabbage instead of lettuce, make a cilantro and lime sour cream, two different kind of bean, rice.....That way its customizable for picky kids.

4 moms found this helpful

A., make whatever you make best and like. If her kids don't eat it, offer to pop a frozen pizza in the oven for them...otherwise you end up tearing your hair out. Or add a mac and cheese from scratch, platter of corn dogs or chicken tenders just in case.

3 moms found this helpful

roast, potatoes and a vegetable sounds yummy. You could make that a pot roast and cook the potatoes and veggie in the same pot. Or an oven roast and cook veggies in oven.

I wouldn't expect a parent to expect you to cater to their child's likes and dislikes. And.....just because one child doesn't like Italian food doesn't mean the rest don't. I'd serve whatever you want to serve. Let the parents know what you're serving so that they can bring something for their child if they're that picky of an eater.

By the way, most children love spaghetti and lasagna has a similar taste. I'm guessing her child is in the minority, anyway.

If you did a buffet then it's easier for moms to dish up kids' plates. There aren't kids having to wait to be served, while sitting at the table. They usually aren't good at sitting or being patient. Our family frequently does the buffet from the kitchen so that we can use the table for actual eating. Sometimes, when the kids were young, we'd feed them first and send them off to play while we ate.

3 moms found this helpful

I agree with the buffet idea, and just be prepared for the kids not to eat anything and don't take it personally. I have finicky eaters (sigh), and have long ago given up on expecting them to eat anything besides macaroni and cheese outside the house. They don't like spicy, they wouldn't touch any Italian or Mexican food outside the house. They'd pick at a roast, ignore the veggies, and maybe eat the bread. At home they eat other things, but not other people's food...except mac n' cheese.

By the way, short of them (your guests) having a wheat/gluten allergy, that might be a good thing to have on your buffet. Most kids will eat that.

2 moms found this helpful

I would make something that you can make a couple of extra sides with. So a roast would work - then do potatoes, vegetable, egg noodles, rolls, salad. For appetizers you could just do chips and salsa and hummus and pita, and you can ask each set of friends to bring a dessert. At a minimum the kids would eat the chips and salsa, hopefully the noodles, and dessert (and I'd make sure that you have some plain cheese on hand).

And while I agree, it's kind of rude to tell you that her kids don't like lasagna, if it really is an informal dinner, it would also seem like a waste to make a whole big thing if a lot of people weren't going to eat it. Maybe she doesn't like lasagna and was blaming it on her kids! Anyway, I'd try not to get too bent out of shape about that - better just to try to enjoy dinner.

2 moms found this helpful

For an informal get togehter, why not do a buffet with a small variety of foods.

You could do a mexican type theme and have a make your own taco bar. I did this once and it worked out very well. Since I knew one of the guest was a vegetarian, I included some black beans. I also put out salad dressing, so guest could make a salad instead. For an additional side dish, I had some spanish style rice.

I think serving a meal is a great idea. However, you may want to have friends over and just serve a variety of munchie/appetizer type foods.

2 moms found this helpful

For casual meals we usually serve roast and potatoes, spaghetti & veggies, or frito pie with homemade chili (and hotdogs for the kids).

We also serve buffet style- much easier for large groups.

2 moms found this helpful

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