Ricky’s 2nd Birthday and Italian Pasta Salad

Our oldest little man turned 2 last week! I still can’t believe it myself. He is such a sweet boy and we are beyond blessed to have him in our lives. We had a little party to celebrate, just our immediate families and a few close friends. Ricky had a blast being the center of attention and everyone enjoyed watching him play, open presents, and of course- eat cake!

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We made sure all of the food was Ricky-friendly (i.e. nut free, egg free, dairy free) so no one would have to worry about smooching him or playing with him on his big day.Food allergy friendly party menus are not the easiest to create. You want everyone to enjoy the food (and not just “this is pretty good for being allergy food” enjoy it) but make sure it is 100% safe. Here is what we came up with for a nut free, egg free, dairy free dinner menu to serve ~25 people.

Appetizers:

Entre/Sides:

  • BBQ chicken on the grill (just chicken breasts slathered with some Sweet Baby Ray’s
  • Italian Sausage (be cautious of the buns used, not all are dairy free)
  • Applegate Beef Hot Dogs
  • Italian Pasta Salad (see recipe below)
  • Fruit Salad

Dessert:

Everything turned out great! The Italian Pasta Salad is a recipe of my MIL’s and I’m so glad she shared it! Most pasta salads contain dairy or Miracle Whip (i.e. eggs), so it is wonderful to have one that is completely safe for Ricky but still has lots of flavor!

Italian Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 box spiral noodles (we use Ronzoni Smart Taste)
  • 1 bottle Italian Dressing
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/2 package pepperoni, cut into halves (watch for dairy. we used Hormel)
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • Seasoning: This recipe originally used McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning, but since that contains dairy, we mixed up our own! There are no exact measurements, use each according to your taste!
    • Salt, Sesame Seed, Poppy Seed, Paprika, Garlic, Black Pepper, and Red Pepper

Directions

  • Cook pasta according to box
  • Cut up veggies and pepperoni and toss with the pasta
  • Mix seasoning into Italian dressing
  • Stir dressing mixture into pasta and veggies
  • Enjoy!

Cowboy Caviar

It is somewhat unrealistic to expect that all the food at a family or friend gathering is going to be allergen free when you have multiple food allergies, unless you are the one hosting. While I love to have people over, I also can’t be the one to host every holiday or BBQ. One trick I have found with group gatherings is that if the appetizers are allergy friendly, you are at least able to relax prior to the meal itself. Since appetizers are served while people are still walking around, mingling and probably playing with your little one, this is what I used to consider a high risk for exposure environment because people simply aren’t going to wash their hands every time they grab a chip (and understandably so). Until I started offering to bring the app. Cue the massive sigh of relief! If I know that what people are munching on is safe for my child to come in contact with, I don’t have to stress or request that people wash their hands 1 million times until after the main course. So, here is the take-away tip for parents of kids with food allergies (especially multiple allergies)- offer to bring the app!

All that being said, appetizers are one of the trickiest things to come up with when you are avoiding dairy (among other things). Let’s just be honest- most of the best apps involve some form of melty cheese. However, I’ve found a few great options that are crowd-pleasers to even the most dairy-loving friends and family members. This dip is very healthy and hearty- I may or may not have eaten this alone for lunch on more than one occasion… I was first introduced to the recipe as “Cowboy Caviar”- keep in mind, there are a lot of different versions of this out in the interwebs, but this is my favorite after tweaking a few recipes to suit our tastes.

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar

Ingredients

  • 1 can whole corn kernels
  • 1 can black beans
  • 3 large avocados (cubed)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (caution: use fresh cilantro, not dried- it will make a difference, trust me)
  • 6 green onion stalks (diced)
  • 4-5 roma tomatoes (depending on how much you like tomatoes)

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Dash of pepper

Directions: Mix first 6 ingredients together. Combine dressing ingredients in a separate bowl, pour over mixed ingredients. Serve with tortilla scoops (Tostitos Scoops are a safe option for DF, SF, EF, PN and TN Free)