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Cook Talk

Surprise 40th birthday party

I am planning a surprise 40th birthday celebration for my spouse on December 14th 2013. There should be about 50 people in attendance. I plan on serving honey bbq meatballs, chicken wings, veggie stir fry rice, and coleslaw. For appetizers I plan to have Chips & Salsa, Olives (black & green), Grapes, Deli Turkey, and Slice Cheese Platter. For drinks, I plan to have Dr. Pepper, Sweet Tea, and water. For dessert, I plan to have a chocolate buffet (his favorite candy bars and pastries... I am starting to think it would be easier to do lasagna of various types??? Thanks for your advise!

Hi, Janelle,

That is a family birthday for me, too.

Wonder if you could tell me which if any of the dishes are must-haves or favorites?

Lasagna is indeed easier for large parties because it can be done ahead. Also, wings have gotten very expensive- about $2 per person in entree size amounts, and good fried rice requires last minute prep. So write back about your menu options and we'll have a go at your shopping list.

Thanks for responding so soon!

My hubby, the birthday guy is not a picky eater. However, he does not like cantaloupes and is not really into nuts. My main goal is to make majority if not all dishes the evening before then heat up in the microwave and/or oven as needed. I will get heating pans as needed as well.

As far as favorites, the birthday boy loves dr. pepper, sweet tea,kit kat, twix, wafers, M&M pretzel(planning to include these with chocolate buffet). He obviously loves sweets. Not included on the menu, however he has always said that he loves pot roast. He also loves hotdogs of various types.

I know that he will be surprised and satisfied with whatever I come up with. That being said, I can definitely aim for lasagna(veggie and meat). These items I can prep ahead and put in the oven the day of.

I plan to also have my son's 4th birthday party on this same day (earlier). I should be able to get by with all the planning as I normally plan for my kids birthday gatherings. I could plan to do a lasagna for my son's party for the adults and hotdogs and chips for the kids. I can also have the chocolate buffet set up and add more treats as we near my hubby's SURPRISE! I am so excited about it all. I want to be able to enjoy myself.

Thanks for your suggestions!

OK, so let's just toss those wings and meatballs right out and do either lasagna or easy oven pot roast, maybe with make-ahead mashed potatoes?

To do everything make ahead is not hard- you can even do oven-roasted veggies that can be served at room temp as a veg, make a day before salad (see, "salads" that hold in Big Pots, they're delicious) or artichoke-olive condite. 6 pounds of French bread or garlic bread.

On the spaghetti page there is a guide for amounts for lasgana, if you are going to split meat/veggie, do one extra pan and do 2/3 meat and 1/3 veggie.

Now, about the appies. Since you are doing such a heavy dessert, how about a bit of shift on the appies?
Chips, 1 pound per 12
Salsa, 1 cup per 5
Olives (black & green), 2 quarts
Grapes, expand to fruit trays, see the fruit tray page for ideas and amounts
Deli Turkey, 1 pound per 10
Slice Cheese Platter- about 4 pounds
Add tiny cocktail bread (Pepperidge Farm makes it) or crackers, 3 pounds
Have some mustard available

Dr. Pepper, about 1 can per person, 1/3 Diet
Sweet Tea, 4 gallons, with at least 1 unsweetened with some lo cal sweeteners available
water, if bottled, 2 per person, people drink more when bottled.

Candy buffets, allow 1 pound per 6, maybe a little less if there is also cake.

If this saves you time, trouble or money, please make a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.
Let me know if you need more info.

Yes, I will make a donation. You have been very helpful.

I do want to have something memorable for my guest and the guest of honor as well as save time, trouble, money, and keep it a SURPRISE!

I was wondering if you think I can save time and money by purchasing the Stouffer'sŪ Lasagna w/Meat & Sauce (10.98/12 serving)from Sam's Club while making the veggie lasagnas from scratch?

That Stouffers is a good lasagna, I find a pan serves about 8 if they are serious lasagna eaters.
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