Kids want to be part of the New Year's Eve festivities too, so preparing a dinner that will appeal to them can help include them in the celebration. Though some children may fall asleep well before midnight, you can still plan a kid-friendly dinner for the evening. Choose a mix of dishes that will appeal to adults and kids alike or stick with a kids-only theme.
Few kids dislike pizza. Instead of ordering from your favorite pizza place, who'll probably be busy as ever on the holiday, make pizzas from scratch. Pizza-making is a fun way to get kids cooking. Each child can customize her pizza as she wishes. Roll out the dough beforehand or use bread such as pita rounds for the pizza crust. Let each kid top the pizza with sauce and cheese. Have a toppings bar with dishes of pepperoni, chopped mushrooms, peppers, and onions. Cook each pizza in the oven, then let them dig in.
If you're serving dessert too, have each child make a dessert pizza. Use puff pastry or pie dough rounds as the crust and let the kids top the pizzas with chopped, fresh fruit, chocolate sauce or chocolate chips.
If your kids love eating food in miniature, dedicate New Year's Eve dinner to small bites. Serve beef or chicken sliders as the main course, paired with tator tots. Add some micro-greens as a side salad or as a garnish on top of the sliders to get some vegetables into the kids' meal. Cocktail wieners wrapped in puff pastry and mini quiches can serve as appetizers. Continue the micro theme into dessert by serving two-bite brownies or mini-cupcakes.
Odds are, you want to celebrate New Year's too, rather than spend hours working in the kitchen both before and after dinner. A simple, kid-pleasing New Year's Eve dinner can consist of an assortment of sandwiches. Cut each sandwich into quarters so that kids can mix and match their selection. Prepare a batch of the basics, such as peanut butter and jelly and tuna fish sandwiches. If you know you have some adventurous eaters, make a few off-the-beaten path sandwiches, such as wasabi chicken or salmon salad sandwiches or chickpea salad sandwiches if you have any vegetarians in the mix. Set out an assortment of chips, pretzels and raw veggies to serve with the sandwiches.
If you're preparing a dinner for your immediate family on New Year's Eve, make it a favorites dinner. Write out phrases such as a "main dish," "side dish," and "dessert" on slips of paper. Place each slip in a hat and have your family members pick from the hat. Each person gets to suggest her favorite dish from the option listed on the slip. The dish has to be a home-made favorite, otherwise you may end going from take-out place to take-out place to assemble your meal. If one person's favorite is another person's absolute dislike, let that person choose another option to go along with the first favorite. Try not to let things get out of hand, though. You do not want to end up cooking a separate main course for every member of the family.