Appetizers for the Kid in All of Us

I recently threw my son a super small 2nd birthday party. As usual, I promised myself that I wouldn’t go overboard (haha). One thing I have learned is that the food at most birthday parties is more about the adults than the kids, ’cause they just want cake and ice cream. I love to use it as an opportunity to try out new appetizer and dessert recipes. The party was a Disney Cars theme, since my son’s vocabulary has been reduced to “Mater! McQueen!” Here are a few of my faves:

Watermelon Feta “Engine Blocks” with Mint

 I tried this incredibly easy yet elegant appetizer at a wine pairing at Chateau Chantal in Michigan; they paired it with a delicious champagne. Try it out at your next party:

  • A quarter of a watermelon
  • 1 tub of Feta Cheese Cubes from Trader Joe’s (they are pasteurized)
  • A handful of mint leaves

Slice the watermelon into 1″ cubes. Place a piece of feta on each cube. Roll mint leaves and slice; place a curl of mint on each block (or just cut into pieces and place between feta and watermelon).

Stoplight Antipasto Skewers

Again, an easy yet impressive appetizer that you can put together in no time!

1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 jar green Queen olives
1 stick salami (I love using peppered salami for an extra kick)
1 bag frozen or fresh multicolor cheese tortellini
Bamboo skewers

Boil and drain tortellini; immediately run under cold water to prevent from over-cooking. Layer red tortellini, cherry tomato, white tortellini, a slice of salami, green tortellini and an olive all on a bamboo skewer. Serve cold. 

Mini Hot Dogs

I found this idea in Peter Callahan’s book, Bite by Bite. He is one of New York’s best caterers and makes his outstanding recipes actually doable. Yes, the buns are ridiculous- unless you can find mini buns, you have to MAKE each bun, but they are super cute and kids love ’em. It is tough to tell the size here, but they are only a couple of inches long.

  • 1 package cocktail weenies
  • 2 packages Pillsbury crescent roll dough

I am not going to be a jerk and ruin his method online on how to make the buns, but if you are truly interested, drop me an e-mail 🙂 Grill the cocktail weenies on an indoor grill (Foreman worked for me!) and add some mini fixins. 

Chocolate Donut Tire Tower

I bought the chocolate donuts for the tower; made for a simple dessert! I am so sorry, but I can’t find the source for this adorable sign. I will post the link if I can find it again.

Iced Tea

Drinks are best served in beverage dispensers- leaves you without having to refill cups. The one on the left is awesome- it has a built-in ice tube going down the middle to keep the drinks cold without watering them down. I made Arnold Palmers with the iced tea and lemonade!

Watermelon on a Stick

 Literally. This is just small watermelon slices on popsicle sticks. Cut a small slit in the rind of each slice and insert a stick just past where the rind stops. Note: DON’T use colored sticks- the dye gets all over.

Yeah, so I was going to get all creative and make Mater cupcakes. I even went through the hassle of baking them, and when I started to decorate they totally crumbled (as did my sanity). I went to Costco last minute to see if they could do a Cars-themed cake. Um…no. I had to buy a music note cake and scrape off the frosting, then re-do it myself. It wasn’t all that bad- a heck of a lot easier than baking my own! Here is what the cake looks like normally:

Costco Music Note Cake

Annnddd….here is the cake after I performed surgery and added my son’s toy cars:


Get creative and play with your food!


1 Comment

  1. Anonymous
    July 10, 2013 / 3:00 pm

    Love the party ideas, Cheryl! Look forward to trying some of these delicious recipes!