Kids' Cooking Party

by Sharon Miller Cindrich
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Kids Cooking Party

Kids crave two things: food and fun. So what could be more appealing than a party that offers both in supersize portions? Below you'll find everything you need to help your kids throw their very first dinner party (OK, lunch party). Ideal for a special birthday celebration or neighborhood get-together, our bash features lasagna that kids can custom-make (and eat!) and our Adorable Apron Cake for dessert. And because a party does not live by food alone, we've also come up with an impressive menu of food-themed crafts and games. The result? When we invited a group of apprentice chefs to give the party a test run, the response was unanimous: this party cooks!

A step-by-step guide to a foolproof bash:

TWO WEEKS BEFORE
•Choose a date for your party

ONE WEEK BEFORE
•Make a shopping list for all your party supplies
•Shop for the nonperishable foods, party favors, and craft supplies

THREE DAYS BEFORE
•Make Chef Hats as an after-school activity

TWO DAYS BEFORE
•Assemble the party favors (fill inexpensive plastic measuring cups with food-related candy like candy peas and carrots, gummy fish, and so on. Cover them with plastic and tie with colorful ribbon and personalized tags.)
•Write each guest's name on a place mat

ONE DAY BEFORE
•Shop for the remaining ingredients for the lasagnas, and Salad on a Stick

Salad on a Stick

As a perfect party activity (or just to encourage kids to eat at least a few veggies any time) have them make their own Salad on a Stick. Set out bowls of pre-cut carrot coins, red and green pepper wedges, cucumber slices, black olives, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. Then hand each child a skewer and let everyone build her own salad, mixing and matching as she sees fit. Serve with a dipping bowl of ranch dressing.

•Bake the Adorable Apron Cake
•Cook the lasagna noodles and meat
•Frost and decorate the cake
•Place the lasagna and Salad on a Stick ingredients in bowls on the kitchen table
•Choose some fun party music

AT THE PARTY
•Have the guests put on Chef Hats and wash their hands
•Line up next to the kitchen table and make the lasagnas
•Put the lasagnas in the oven
•Clear the table and make the Salad on a Stick; place the veggies on paper plates marked with each child's name
•Set the table with the cloth place mats and fabric markers; invite the kids to come find their seats and start decorating their place mats
•Clear the markers and set the table with plastic forks, knives, and spoons, and paper cups
•Place the slightly cooled lasagnas on the paper plates, next to the Salad on a Stick, and let everyone dig in
•Serve the Adorable Apron Cake (with ice cream!)
•Pass out the party favors
•Cover the kids' leftover lasagnas to send home

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