January 18th, 2010
My oldest Hungry Baby turned 3 (!!!) and we recently hosted a construction themed birthday party in his honor. I’m amazed that we pulled anything off seeing that his birthday is at the end of the always busy holiday season, just days after new years. And this year, we had a little baby, too. But we did. And with style.
To keep things easy, I had first planned on ordering pizza and buying cupcakes from BabyCakes. Then I thought better of it—I had to cook. No. I wanted to cook! So, instead or ordering in, I capped the shindig to 5 of my ChowBaby’s closest playmates to make cooking, hosting and cleaning manageable, even with an infant in the house.
The menu was simple, wholesome, and easy to make ahead:
mama made chicken fingers
carrot sticks (which never made it out… oops)
black bean dip
tortilla chips and
chocolate chip & devil’s food cupcakes with chocolate chip buttercream
The idea was to offer comfort food that would appeal equally to kids and parents, and this menu worked perfectly!
Check out the menu plan, my low-impact cooking schedule and recipes after the jump.
One week before the party
1. Prep chicken fingers; freeze
Two nights before the party
1. Make buttercream; store in an airtight container in fridge
The day before the party
1. Bake cupcakes; store in an airtight container at room temp
2. Prep and bake corn pudding; let cool completely, cover, store in fridge over night
Day of the party
1. Take buttercream out of the fridge first thing or, if the party is later in the day, several hours before the party; allow to come back to room temp
2. Reserve an hour sometime before the party to make guacamole, prep carrot sticks, put bean dip and chips into serving bowls; if you do this earlier than an hour before the party, store the guac, bean dip and carrot sticks (in a little bit of water) in the fridge until people arrive
3. About an hour before guests arrive, ice cupcakes and keep at room temp
4. 60 minutes before serving time, preheat oven to 350 degrees
5. 50 minutes before serving time, put corn pudding in the oven; heat through, for about 30 min; set aside
6. As soon as pudding comes out of the oven, put frozen chicken fingers in; cook for about 20 min
This corn pudding was, by far, the hit of the party. It’s SO, SO, SO yummy and only ONE STEP! I considered a lot of recipes before landing on this one, by far the simplest of them all. In the end, I decided that we didn’t need green chiles, parmesan, or any of the other ingredients that seem to be common in corn pudding. Though I’d never had corn pudding before, I had a strong sense that it is all about perfection in simplicity. Plus, this recipe calls for you to put all of the ingredient in the food processor and then pour into a buttered baking dish. That’s it. You can’t beat that, especially if you’re making this for a crowd (or on a busy weeknight).
I doubled this recipe and ended up having to use two different sized baking dishes, which meant that I had to wing the cooking time. It turned out to be no problem at all. The recipe is very forgiving—bake until it’s golden brown around the edges and just firm in the middle. Perfection.
Simple Corn Pudding
From Bon Appetit
(can be served to kids 10+ mos)
4 c organic frozen corn kernels (about 19 ounces), thawed
4 large organic eggs
1 c organic heavy cream
1/2 c organic milk
6 tbsp organic sugar
1/4 c organic butter, room temperature
2 tbsp organic flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Blend all ingredients in processor until almost smooth. Pour batter into prepared dish. Bake pudding until brown and center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; serve.
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