Rather than menus I thought I would talk about the specific foods we heavily rely on when guests are coming. The premise with all of our menus is that the kids dinner can be a variation of the adult dinner. Of course, the kids are always welcome to eat what the adults are eating but I can work the ingredients into a meal that appeals to even the pickiest eater.

Chicken: I generally purchase chicken breasts and cut them into ‘tenderloin size pieces.’ In the summer they get marinated with a little olive oil, S&P;, garlic and lemon and go on the grill. In the winter we bread the chicken (dipped in egg & homemade bread crumbs) and bake it. The kids love these chicken ‘fingers’ and we serve them with veggies and dip. For the adults I may toss the chicken in a salad and serve it with crusty bread or I may make an easy chicken parmigiana like this one.

Pasta: Of course, the possibilities are endless. I love to make a tomato & cream sauce that is really simple and appeals to vegetarian friends and kids alike. Its basically a ‘vodka sauce’ minus the vodka. I just use a heavier hand when garnishing the adult portions with basil & good parmesan. This is also excellent served as a side to the chicken. Or with turkey meatballs.

Pizza: Most popular at our house. Our easiest ‘time-crunch’ menu is to order thin crust ‘take & bake’ pizza which we may then embellish with goat cheese, roasted tomatoes & fresh herbs. Even better is to pick up pizza dough (or make it yourself) and have guests make their own individual pizzas.

Salmon: (wild, preferably!). My kids love salmon. I just brush a filet with some olive oil and then cover it completely with thinly sliced lemon & dill. It is so quick and simple and crowd-pleasing. Couscous and a salad (or crudite for the kids) complete the meal.

I will end the week with a few of our favorite activities that keep the kids entertained … stay tuned ….