Hosting a New Year’s Eve party for your children can offer family and friends a fun and safe environment on a night usually known for its excesses. Whether its kids only or a kids and parents night (in separate rooms, of course), planning party activities and the menu can be a shared activity that will give you a chance really listen to your to your kids and share ideas.
Once you have a basic plan, get creative in fleshing it out. Make a list of their desired party treats and offer a few dishes of your own. If it looks like it’s becoming a junk-food fest, offer compromises and healthier alternatives. Pizza is a kid favorite, but it doesn’t have to be Domino’s. Make some whole-wheat pizza dough (or buy fresh or frozen at a natural foods store) and let guests build personal pizza creations with a variety of healthy toppings.
Remember to be positive when planning: offer oven-baked tortilla, bagel and pita chips in addition to fried potato chips. Make your own yogurt-based onion dip, salsa and guacamole. Instead of a huge cake, serve trend-savvy cake balls on skewers decorated like Christmas tree ornaments or pretty cupcakes from a natural foods bakery.
As for drinks, create your own festive fruit punch in a big bowl instead of a bottle of Hawaiian Punch. The possibilities are endless for creating a festive holiday party menu that will inspire in kids and adults the celebratory spirit to bring in the new year.
Wherever possible, recipes have been adjusted to reflect healthier modern cooking methods and serving sizes.
* * * * *
Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party Menu
Baked Tortilla Chips, Bagel Chips, Pita Chips
Seasonal Fruit Platter
Fresh Vegetable Platter
Linguine with Marinara and Mascarpone Cheese
Frosted Cake Balls and Cupcakes
Assorted Butter Cookies
* * * * *
- ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until well blended. Cover and chill one hour or overnight.
2. Serve with fresh vegetable platter and homemade chips.
Based on a recipe from Rick Bayless
- 1 ½ pounds fresh tomatillos
- 5 fresh serrano or poblano chilies
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and stemmed
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. Remove tomatillo husks and rinse under warm water to remove residue. Place on a baking tray with serranos and garlic.
3. Broil vegetables 1 to 2 inches from heat, turning once, until tomatillos are softened and charred, about 7 minutes. Remove from broiler and cool until easy to handle.
4. Peel garlic and pull off tops from chilies. Puree tomatillos, chilies, garlic, cilantro, onion and salt in a blender until desired consistency. Serve at room temperature or chilled with baked tortilla chips.
- 2 avocados, halved and cored
- ½ lime
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Dash cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup chopped tomatoes
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1. Scoop flesh out of avocado peel into a medium bowl. Squeeze lime juice over avocadoes and mash until desired consistency with a potato masher or a large fork. Mix in salt, garlic powder, and cayenne.
2. Fold in tomatoes and cilantro. Cover and chill one hour. Serve with baked tortilla chips.
Even though this sophisticated dish is often thought of as for adults only, I remember not being able to get enough of this sweet, gooey treat on many a New Year’s Eve night at my 14-year-old friend’s house (her sleepover specialty).
- ½ package 17.3-ounce frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 8-ounce brie cheese round
- ¼ cup wild berry preserves
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface. Place brie round in center of pastry. Spread preserves on top of brie.
3. Fold pastry up over preserves to cover. Trim the excess pastry and press to seal. Reserve any pastry scraps for decoration.
4. In a small bowl, whisk egg and water until blended. Brush the seam of the pastry with the egg mixture. Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Decorate with the pastry scraps, if desired. Brush top with egg mixture
5. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Based on a recipe from the Allrecipes.com
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 cups warm water (110oF)
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 4 cups whole-wheat flour
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Stir in olive oil and salt; stir in the whole-wheat flour and 2½ cups of the all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together into a ball. Tip dough onto a work surface dusted with the remaining all-purpose flour; knead until all the flour has been absorbed and the dough is smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat the surface. Cover bowl loosely with a damp towel and let stand in a warm place until dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Tip dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide into 8-10 small balls for mini pizzas. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes..
4. Preheat the oven to 425oF. Roll out dough balls with a rolling pin and stretch out with hands. Place 2-3 circles on oiled baking sheets. Have kids put on their favorite toppings—have bowls of marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, olives and nitrate-free pepperoni slices at the ready.
5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges and cheese is melted on the top. Serve hot.
Serve up this tasty punch in a big glass punch bowl with ladle.
- 1 ½-gallon container strawberry or raspberry sherbet or sorbet
- 1 64-ounce container cranberry-raspberry juice
- 1 64-ounce container apple juice or pear juice
- 1 2-liter bottle fruit juice seltzer, such as Izzy, or cane-sugar ginger ale
1. Place sherbet in the bottom of punch bowl. Pour juices and selzter over top. Serve immediately.
For kids who are used to the powdered variety, this home-brewed hot chocolate will be a revelation.
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅔ cup sugar, divided
- ½ cup water
- Pinch of salt
- 4 cups whole milk (you can also use soy milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup whipping cream, chilled
1. In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together cocoa powder, ½ cup sugar, water and salt until smooth. Place over medium heat and cook until it just begins to bubble.
2. Whisk in milk. Heat until it just comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
3. In medium bowl using an electric mixer or a whisk, whip cream with remaining sugar until soft peaks form.
4. To serve, pour hot cocoa into mugs. Let kids dollop the wop with whipped cream.