You've figured out what to do to create awesome family nights, whether it's Candy Land, Yahtzee Jr., or the perfect movie. Entertainment: covered. Now what about the snacks?
Here, Circle of Moms members share fun food ideas for sweetening the pot at your brood's next family night.
1. Make-Your-Own Pizzas
Homemade individual pizzas are a sure-fire win suggested by several members. Christy H. suggests buying a frozen or preformed crust, putting toppings out in bowls, and letting everyone layer on their choices before you bake them.
2. Mini Snack Bars
Christy H. also suggests creating what she calls "a mini snack bar" with a selection of your favorite movie candy, or making popcorn and mixing in some healthy items like little boxes of raisins or trail mix.
3. Finger Foods
Chicken fingers served up in the family room are a favorite of Rebecca P's family. "I have small children, so for us it has to be something kid-friendly to eat in the living room," she says, suggesting finger foods "like chicken fingers with a honey-mustard sauce, chicken/turkey rolls with cream cheese and olives (or anything else you like inside), or homemade soft-baked pretzels."
Chips or crackers with dips make for a fun communal snack, and there are infinite variations on the theme. Amanda R. offers a great tortilla and hamburger chip dip: Saute hamburger, minced garlic, and chopped peppers. Once cooked though, place the mixture in a small container, layer it with sour cream, salsa, and shredded cheese. Add tortilla chips and serve.
Michelle W. offers this recipe for a Mexican-themed dip: Take a 9" pie plate and layer it first with refried beans, then cream cheese mixed with taco seasoning, cheddar cheese, black olives, green onions, and chopped tomatoes. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.
Finally, this four-cheese spinach dip, served with chopped bread or crackers, is a favorite of Kacie W.'s family: Combine 8 ounces of plain (or light) cream cheese; 8 ounces of flavored cream cheese (she recommends herb and garlic or roasted red pepper), 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, and one box of thawed, chopped spinach. Then add seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder) to taste. Mix it all together and place in a hollowed-out loaf of sour dough bread. Wrap in tin foil and bake in the over at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour.
7. "Hankie Pankies"
All families have their favorite appetizers, and in Michelle W.'s house, they love "Hankie Pankies." She browns one pound of ground beef and one pound of sausage together, then drains the meat and adds in a pound of Velveeta. She then put a spoonful of the mixture on appetizer-sized rye bread slices and melts it all under the broiler for about 5-10 minutes. "YUM!"
8. BLT Sandwiches
BLT sandwiches are a standby for many families. Kacie W. offers this unique twist: BLT Dip, served with crackers: Combine 1 cup mayonaise, 1 cup sour cream, a half pound of crumbled, crisply cooked bacon, and 1 medium-sized tomato diced and drained of all liquid. Stir together and serve with multigrain crackers.
9. Ham Roll-ups
Another twist on the good ol' sandwich is an easy ham roll-up, suggested by Kacie W. "Take sliced ham and cheese and layer [them] on a rolled out-puff pastry, then roll it into a log and cut into 1-2 inch sections. Brush them with egg whites and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Use pre-made puff pastry, sliced ham and cheese."
10. Ice Cream
Few families can say no to ice cream. Julie G.'s family likes ice cream sandwiches. Laurie C.'s goes all out with ice cream sundae bars. "We get vanilla yogurt, [which is] somewhat healthy, and a variety of toppings. My favorite is heating up peanut butter and topping with blueberry syrup."
Of course, the point of family night is just to enjoy being together, and some moms suggest lowering the ante by keeping the snacks simple. Shannon S.'s family treasures their Friday night game night ritual, and all it takes to throw it together, she shares, is "a big bowl of popcorn and a bowl of chips," which they munch while playing games until bedtime.
What's your family's favorite snack?
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