Kid-Friendly Charcuterie… one of our favorite simple meals

posted by Andrea | 09/12/2018

One of our children’s most favorite things to eat is “meat and cheese” — a.k.a. a plate of food consisting of various meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, crackers, dips, nuts, etc.

They excitedly come to the table whenever “meat and cheese” is offered for a meal or snack, Nora eats some variation of “meat and cheese” almost every day in her school lunch, and because there are so many ways I can mix up the contents of a “meat and cheese” meal, it seems they never tire of this menu selection!

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, our current meal routine is to have a big, hot breakfast pretty much every morning — some type of eggs, some type of meat, and some type of starch (toast, pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc.)

We also almost always have a fairly large, hot meal for dinner — meat, potatoes, casseroles, pasta, pizza, soup and salad, fruits, veggies, breads, etc.

For lunch however, Dave and I often try to finish off leftovers or eat a sandwich or salad, while the kids almost always have some form of a “meat and cheese” meal.

This routine works well for us… and (for the most part) I would say our kids are fairly good eaters at meal times.

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Over the summer months (in an effort to spend less time in the house and more time outside by the pool) I decided to regularly serve up their favorite “meat and cheese” meal as a fun-looking, fun-to-eat, kid-friendly charcuterie board (pronounced SHär’kōōderē).

It takes mere minutes for me to compile all their favorite foods onto this big tray (I put a piece of wax paper down first), we don’t get any other dishes or flatware dirty, we can easily eat it outside in the middle of whatever else we’re doing, and everyone can pick and choose the items they want (which the kids LOVE!)

Of course, Dave and I enjoy it too — I mean, what’s not to love about a tray piled high with fruit, veggies, meat, cheese, crackers, dips, etc!!

I’ll often throw a few PB&J or grilled cheese sandwiches on the tray as well (cut into triangles) — for a little more substance, but our family of 6 (yes, Clara loves this fare as well) will polish off the entire tray pictured in this post for one meal.

The kids just keep grabbing one more grape, one more cucumber, another strawberry, one more slice of cheese, etc. and before we know it, the food is gone and our bellies are full.

They go back to playing, I bring the empty tray inside and enjoy the fact that I don’t have any dishes to wash or a kitchen to clean up.

I should probably clarify that we ALWAYS have containers of pre-sliced meats, cheese, veggies, fruits, etc. ready to go in our fridge. We eat these types of foods so often that I take time every few days to slice more in bulk.

If I didn’t have everything already sliced, chopped, cut-up, etc. it would take me more time to assemble this charcuterie board, but even still, it shouldn’t take that long.

One of the best parts about this meal is that you can customize the contents based on what you have in the house, based on what’s in season, based on what your family likes, etc.

You certainly don’t need to put it all on one platter either — I just enjoy making it look “pretty” and I do think the kids eat better when the presentation is so fun!

This same concept works well as an appetizer for almost any occasion — and I’ve even made dessert trays with chocolate covered strawberries, dipped pretzels, caramel corn, chocolate dipped marshmallows, a selection of tiny bars and cookies, candied almonds, dried fruit, etc. It was a HUGE hit!

I can see this type of food option being very helpful on busy weeknights when kids are coming and going from various activities and everyone needs to eat at a different time.

I can also see it working well for a Sunday night supper when you might want something lighter and you’re busy getting ready for another week ahead.

Whatever the case, these kid-friendly charcuterie boards are some of our family’s favorite simple meals (especially since they look so fun!) 

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10 comments

  1. Carrie

    09/13/2018

    This is probably a silly question, but what kinds of meats do you use?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    any type of meat really — we usually do summer sausage, salami, pepperoni bites, beef jerky, etc. but I’ve also done chicken nuggets, little chunks of grilled chicken, ham and cheese roll-ups, sausage links, and more.

    [Reply]

    Carrie Reply:

    Thank you so much!

    [Reply]

  2. Jenny

    09/12/2018

    This was my one of my daughter’s favorite meals/snacks, too! She called it “plate”, I guess because I would fix it for her on a plate she liked. Now it would be “crudites and charcuterie”!! Fancy!
    It was foods I always had in the house and was never the same twice. It was a good way to make vegetables fun, and use up small amounts of stuff.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — that’s funny! Our kids just call it “meat and cheese” even though that’s only one small part of the meal.

    [Reply]

  3. Rhonda

    09/12/2018

    I took this idea a while back when I had a birthday party for our 8-year old, and the friend-list at the party at our house became fairly large (usually most can’t make a summer party – but this time all 12 girls could come!) We ordered pizzas and then I made a tray like this – it really made the food prep easy. Thanks for the suggestion!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    sounds like a super fun party!! Nora will be having her first “friends birthday party” this fall — so I’m already trying to come up with ideas of what we can do, foods to eat, etc.

    [Reply]

    Rhonda Reply:

    I’m sure you have a lot of ideas! We rented a bouncy house from a local family that owns one, had water balloons (won’t probably go well in Michigan in the fall), and giant balloons. Good luck!

    [Reply]

  4. Maria

    09/12/2018

    This is a great idea – especially for my picky eaters as the charcuterie has such a large variety of food. I especially like that it’s so easy to put together. Thanks for sharing! Also, the pictures of your kids eating are so cute – they really do look like they enjoy their food.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yup… always something for everyone (and any diet). This is basically my go-to appetizer when I have to bring something — it can accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free, Keto, whole 30, etc. Everyone loves it!

    [Reply]