Food & Drink

Birthday party recipes

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Birthday Fun Starts with Good Party Food!
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Be creative with the party foods for a sure hit!

The beginning of the year is a very busy time for my family because two of my children have birthdays within the first two months of the year. Birthdays are a big deal to us and we love to plan fun birthday parties. There is a lot of planning, decorating, food preparation and tweaking my all-famous birthday party recipes to make sure there's lots of food and lots of fun for the kids.

The birthday party food is probably my kids favorite thing (aside from the gifts of course), and they always look forward to it. They love seeing what new birthday party recipes I've come up with to make their party special. There are a few things that are standard for the party and those are things that I make at each party. But sometimes I like to introduce a new food item or try a new dish for fun. The kids enjoy it and if it's a hit, I get to add a new "favorite" to my repertoire of birthday party recipes.

* Roll Ups. This is a standard party food item for the kids and makes an appearance at every party. I start with a flat tortilla and spread room temperature cream cheese across it. I then sprinkle it with shredded cheese and top it with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, ham or turkey slices and a dash of salt. Roll it up from corner to corner and then cut it into thirds or fourths, depending on how thick you want each of them to be. A definite hit and it's super easy to make.

* Sugar Snaps. Another really easy birthday party food hit and it uses the same tortillas that you used for the roll up wraps. Take the flat tortilla cut them into squares or use a cookie cutter to make shapes. Brush the top of the tortilla with softened butter. Sprinkle them generously with cinnamon sugar and nutmeg. Put them in the oven on broil and let them brown to your (or the kids) liking. Serve hot.

Another alternative to this recipe is to use pita pockets cut in half and lightly stuff them with softened cream cheese. Brush the top of the pita with softened butter and sprinkle the top of the pita with cinnamon sugar. Brown briefly in the broiler until the cheese is hot and the pita browns lightly.

* Cheese Dip. My children think that cheese dip is a part of the five food groups and they love to put it on everything! So for this expected staple, I add a twist to it by melting my own cheese slowly in a slow cooker. I add a few extra spices like goat's milk to thin it out, finely chopped jalapeno peppers (because they like it spicy) and finely chopped pimentos for color. To keep this a healthy dish, surround the slow cooker with sliced vegetables on a serving tray. You can slice carrots, celery and even fruit like strawberries and put them alongside the tortilla chips that you use for the dip. Remember the tortillas we used for the other recipes? Multi-task them again and make your own tortilla chips. Here's how:

Cut up a flat tortilla into small squares, much like a tortilla chip is shaped. Flash fry them in hot cooking oil for two to three minutes. Or, you can spray them lightly with cooking oil and bake them in the oven until they're crispy. This is one of many birthday party recipes that work well with parties that are inside where the slow cooker is and it's not limited to kiddie parties. Adults love cheese dip just as much  too!

* Cool Party Punch. For the party punch, I like to make plenty of it and make it as tasty as I can. Most kids will like anything that has a fizz, so I use sparkling apple cider or grape juice and mix it with Sprite for the fizz affect. I then add frozen fruit from the can that acts as both ice and for color. As the frozen fruit melts, they can still enjoy the fruit. The punch tends to last longer this way and the kids love the flavor.

As an alternative, you can also use a powdered aid drink mix if you don't want to use the sparkling drinks. Serve the drinks in whatever theme the party is in. For instance, for one of my daughter's princess party, we served the punch in plastic princess heel shoes. The little girls loved it and they got to keep the shoes as party favors.

Having fun at birthday parties is a lot more fun when the food is good, visually appealing and in abundance. Make it easier for yourself by multi-tasking as many foods as you can and choosing items that everyone will love, including kids and adults. It's sure to be a hit!

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