Party menu feedback.wanted for duel birthday party for 85 yr old mom and 28 yr old daughter.... duel

Planned a surprise 85th Birthday party the end of this month on the same day/time as her granddaughter/my daughter is having a 28th Birthday party. I have my hors d’oeuvres settled but not sure if my menu works. Would love feedback. Baked ziti (lasagna type), sweet & spicy London broil, au gratin potatoes, chicken cordon blue roll ups, sausage & peppers, honey/garlic shrimp and jasmin rice, potato salad, tossed salad, rolls. My hors- are shrimp cocktail, 7 layer taco dip with chips, spinach dip with sourdough bread, pico de Gallo with chips and veggies and dip (crudités). Ideas, criticism, questions?

Christine Vichi


Nancy June 5, 2021
Christine - so far, your menu sounds abundant, generous and tasty. Also fun.
Here are a few suggestions I'd make to make it even stronger.
Do you have at least ONE FAVORITE DISH of each birthday honoree?
Are you serving the hors d'oeuvre with people STANDING OR SEATED? If standing, I'd go for more finger food and fewer dips.
Avoid REPEATING A MAIN INGREDIENT. For example, choose to serve shrimp in either the first or main course.
Unless you know for sure no guests have dietary limits, it's good to include a VEGETARIAN/GF dish in each course. And the omnivores can eat that food too. The bean-cheese combo in 7-layer dip works; just add one vegetarian main (like a roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce - easy, festive and good).
NUMBER OF DISHES. There are many dishes in your menu. If you have the resources to make this work and want the variety for a crowd, go for it. In any case, I'd reduce the # of carbs offered (bread, rice, pasta, potato) and add one cooked green or orange vegetable. If you want to simplify the offerings, I'd serve 3 apps total, and 2 each of protein, vegetable and carb for the main course.
Enjoy your gathering (after so many months apart)!

Stephanie G. June 5, 2021
I think everything sounds delicious but I am not sure what you are asking...are you looking for more cohesiveness in the menu? I would include more vegetable dishes and get rid of one of the potato dishes. I think with all the heavy food, you can get away with light nibbles like the crudités.
Christine V. June 5, 2021
Great advice- ty. What do you think about a ratatouille mix. Yellow squash, zucchini, string beans, onion, tomato? I could just do green beans in olive oil and garlic but wondering? Your thoughts?
Gammy June 5, 2021
Ratatouille would be a great addition and super easy as it could be made up a day or 2 in advance and any leftovers would easily freeze for a later date. Don't forget the eggplant and a loaf of good crusty bread.
Stephanie G. June 6, 2021
That sounds delicious.
Gammy June 5, 2021
Sounds magnificent! Enough dishes that everyone should be pleased. Just some thoughts from one who gave her MIL a surprise 80th birthday party. On the pretext of taking her out to dinner, we first had to make a stop at our son's home (the party house). Once there, we had asked her guests to arrive slowly after a given time, not all together, so she would get a chance to greet each and every one and not be overwhelmed. We requested no gifts, but set up a table outside for everyone to sign a picture mat and pick up a rose (her favorite flower) to hand to her when they greeted her. We asked a couple of family members who lived far away to be the last to arrive, as she wasn't expecting them at all. Our advance planning worked really well. The only thing I would have changed is to have more help in the kitchen.... I wasn't able to visit with relatives and friends as much as I wanted to. We did hire a couple local college kids to play drinkmeister/bartender and to circulate picking up empty plates and glasses. Well worth it! Happy birthday to both your mom and daughter!
Nancy June 5, 2021
Love the whole story! Especially clever is the staggered arrival of guests, with those from farthest away coming last.
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