Overnight guests give you a chance to visit and spend time with family or friends who live far away. As you're planning their visit, spend a little time thinking up tempting menu ideas for your guests. When you're hosting families with children, there are many reasons for keeping the menu manageable. Because children usually have basic tastes, disliking new and different foods, everyone will be happier if you stick to simple fare.
Some people can dig in to a hearty breakfast in the morning and others are mere nibblers. When you entertain overnight guests, keep breakfast uncomplicated. By serving pastries and fruit, you avoid the problem of keeping food warm for late sleepers. Because almost everyone -- kids included -- enjoy a cinnamon roll or muffin for breakfast, you know your guests will like what you serve. Create an attractive platter of assorted fruits, served with yogurt on the side. Add cold cereal, milk, juice and coffee and you've got a breakfast that just about everyone will enjoy.
Keep lunches low-key. Throw together a sandwich table with assorted fixings and let everyone make a sandwich. Include deli meats, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and spreads and most guests will succeed in fixing a sandwich they'll like. Add some veggies and creamy dips, chips and salsa, fresh fruit, juice and a platter of brownies and your guests of any age will fill their plates.
Plan kid-friendly dinners to appeal to every guest. Hamburgers on the grill, homemade pizza, spaghetti and meatballs or chicken tenders can satisfy both the young and not-so-young. Corn-on-the-cob and potato salad go well with hamburgers. A tossed salad and a fruit salad complement the pizza menu. Garlic toast and a vegetable platter with dip make suitable sides for spaghetti and meatballs. Serve chicken tenders with a variety of dips - barbecue sauce, honey mustard, ketchup and ranch - and provide a tossed salad with a selection of salad dressings. Try ice cream topped with berries for a dessert that's simple yet delicious.
Because kids can rarely stretch between meals without a snack, you'll be smart to set out snacks for your guests. Keep a big bowl of washed fruit on the table, make up a batch of muffins and place them in a basket, serve string cheese and crackers or make a big bowl of popcorn.
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- "Handbook for Hosts: A Practical Guide to Party Planning and Gracious Entertaining"; Adam Bluestein, et. al.; 2006
- "Menus for Entertaining"; James Beard; 2004
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images