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Planning a Family Reunion?

Simple menus are key to making any big gathering fun for all (even the cooks)

pam anderson family reunion salted toffee bars recipe

These easy salted chocolate toffee bars are an ideal dessert for a family reunion. — Photo by:

Family members tend to scatter for afternoon activities so we make bagged lunches — sandwiches, chips, fruit, drinks (we take turns making the lunches).

The second night a local barbecue restaurant caters the dinner. In addition to ribs and chicken, the meal includes baked beans, corn, cornbread and slaw, all of which creates a meal for the meatless crowd. Our last night we order pizzas — veggie and even cheese-less are easy — and make big, fresh salads.

But the first night we gather, everyone's been traveling. Whether we've flown in or made a road trip, we're craving a simple homemade supper. Here's one of our typical opening night menus.

We offer “Grown-up” Sloppy Joes for our mostly carnivorous crowd, but we also make a batch of Lentil Sloppy Joes. There's corn on the cob, which requires very little preparation (and completes the protein for those eating Lentil Sloppy Joes). We make a big salad, too, and carb watchers can skip the bun and top their salad with either of the Sloppy Joe mixtures.

The Salted Chocolate Toffee bars are the perfect little first-night dessert. They travel well, making them easy to pack. Except for vegans and dieters, everyone loves them. You can put out some fresh seasonal fruit, but in the end most everyone nibbles at the bars. Who can resist the irresistible?

Enjoy this year's family reunions. With a little thought and preparation, it's easy to take care of just about everybody in the family.

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