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Challenge 7 - Pirate and the Sea Party
Posted by Lori Ross - Viewed 24158 times

Dear Lori,

Could you make 5 recipes for a 9 year old’s Pirate and the Sea –themed birthday party aboard?

Janet McLaughlin
Norfolk, VA

Dear Janet,

Thanks for the great challenge!  I love pirate lore and a child’s Pirate Birthday party with great food, on a boat would be a blast!  In fact, my 8 year old nephew is besotted with the Annapolis Pirate Ship Cruise, and wore his pirate patch, hat, sword and scarf all day including dinner at the yacht club the last time he came to visit.

The first step is to get the makings of costumes for kids attending the party.  Eye patches, colorful scarves to tie around their heads, plastic swords, feathers, toy parrots and pirate booty like Mardi Gras necklaces, clip on dangly earrings and bracelets all contribute to pirate fun!  Paint pirate mustaches in black, pirate scars in red and give each child a pirate tattoo.  If you can find them, pirate hats will trigger a spate of creative dress!  For party costume supplies and ideas.

Decorations and pirate themed paper products also add to the pirate ambience as do Pirate Sea Shanties or videos of “Pirates of the Caribbean.”  For pirate party supplies, go to:

For pirate songs and lyrics go to:

Next, hide some “treasure” (gold chocolate coins, bags of Swedish fish or other colorful candy, candy jewelry, games, iTunes gift cards) throughout the boat and write up some hints for kids to find the prizes. More pirate games are available at:
As kids come aboard and dress up, offer them welcome drinks. 

•    RUM PUNCH: Fruit punch
•    FROSTY ALE: Root Beer
•    BLOODY RED WINE: Grape Juice
•    SEAWATER: water with sliced lime

Scatter bowls of pirate nibbles around the boat.  My favorite is the DEEP SEA MIX - equal part Chex mix and goldfish crackers.  And, pass a platter of PIRATE SWORDS – skewers of cubed cheese and salami and cherry tomato.

While I love clever themed food preparations like OCTOPUS DOGS (slice hot dogs lengthwise in 4 about half way and then boil for 3-5 minutes. The sliced parts of the dog curl up like octopus tentacles) or PIRATE BOATS (baked small potatoes halved with bacon and cheese and topped with a homemade sail), I offer the following dishes that kids will enjoy aboard the “Pirate Ship” after battle!


Have fun!

My mother always made these wonderful chicken legs for family picnics!  They are delicious and fun to eat and you can be creative with spices if you wish. 

2 cups cornflake crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
3 eggs
24 chicken drumsticks (about 4 ounces each)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 shallow roasting pans with aluminum foil covered with a light coat of vegetable oil.  Mix together cornflake crumbs, cheese, salt and cayenne pepper (if using) in large bowl and beat eggs in a shallow glass dish.  Dip each chicken drumstick in egg; then roll in cornflake crumbs to coat. Place on aluminum foil and lightly coat chicken with PAM or other oil spray. Bake in 350 degrees F oven, without turning, for 1 hour until juices run clear or until internal temperature registers 180 degrees. Serve warm, cool or room temperature with dipping sauces.  Dipping sauces might include: BBQ sauce, tomato sauce, honey mustard, Chinese duck sauce or sweet and sour sauce or ranch dressing.

•    Make chicken wings using the same recipe
•    Buy chicken fingers and heat and serve with same sauces, calling them PIRATE SWORDS.
•    Grilling the chicken legs – if you don’t have an oven or don’t want to make the crumbed chicken legs in advance, marinate them for 2 hours in equal parts honey, lemon juice and olive oil and grill for 20-30 minutes, turning often to avoid burning.
•    If you prefer seafood, make FISH STICKS with mild white fish using the same recipe or simply grill some very large shrimp marinated the same way as the chicken and call the CAPTAIN HOOKS.

Kids and adults alike adore cocktail meatballs in sauce.  Serve them with toothpick swords!

Meatballs (makes 30 meatballs)
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
½ cup minced onions
½ cup minced celery
1 ½ cup bread crumbs
3-4 eggs
Salt and black pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine meats, onions, celery, salt, pepper and eggs. Using your hands, blend all ingredients.  Mix in bread crumbs. Shape mixture into 1-inch meatballs and sauté in 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil until nicely browned (or bake in oven at 325 degrees for 60 minutes).
While meatballs are cooking, make a sauce.  Place cooked meatballs in sauce and warm through; pour into covered casserole and serve with plastic sword toothpicks!

3 Sauces Kids Love:

Sweet and Spicy Sauce: Mix equal parts chili sauce and grape jelly (or other favorite jelly). Combine ingredients in pan, bring to a boil, stir in meatballs and cook for 10 minutes or so until meatballs are heated through

Sweet and Sour Sauce: Mix ½ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 13 oz. can pineapple chunks, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon soy, 1 chopped green pepper. Combine all ingredients in pan, bring to a boil, stir in meatballs and cook 10 minutes.

Sweet and Smoky: Mix 2 cups ketchup, 1 ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup minced onion, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. . Combine all ingredients in pan, bring to a boil, stir in meatballs and cook 10 minutes.

•    Use frozen cocktail meatballs in place of homemade. 
•    Use your child’s favorite BBQ sauce or Marinara sauce instead of making sauces
•    Replace meatballs with cocktail franks and call them PIRATE DOGS!
•    Use already cooked meatless meatballs if you want a vegetarian dish.

1 lb lump crab meat, approximately 2 to 2 1/2 cups
1 cups bread crumbs or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 egg, well beaten
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Place crabmeat in a mixing bowl along with the egg, mayonnaise and 1/2 of the bread crumbs. Mix gently. Shape the mixture into 12 to 16 crab balls. Mix remaining breadcrumbs with Old Bay seasoning and roll each ball into the breadcrumb mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour before cooking. Place balls on baking sheet, spray with PAM or other oil spray and bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Alternatively, you may heat 1/4 cup cooking oil over medium heat and sauté each crab ball for 3-5 minutes until browned. Serve with cocktail sauce and toothpicks.

•    Use canned salmon instead of crab meat if you are worried about shellfish allergies.

Using Goldfish Bread, make assorted cold sandwiches:

•    JELLYFISH SANDWICH – Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on goldfish bread.
•    SHARK’S BREATH SANDWICHES – Tuna Sandwich with shredded lettuce. Mix tuna with mayonnaise, salt, pepper and a little lemon juice, spread on bread and top with shredded lettuce
•    SEAGULL EGG AND SEAGRASS SANDWICH – Egg Salad with Sprouts. Mix hard boiled eggs with mayonnaise, salt, pepper and chopped celery, spread on goldfish bread and top with alfalfa sprouts

Serve sweet or sour pickle slices and green olives in a bowl on the side and call these SLICED SEA CUCUMBER and PIRATES EYES

SEAWEED AND SEASHELL SALAD - Pasta salad with pesto and peas
Children seem to love this salad because the bold flavor of the pesto is mellowed by mayonnaise and sweet peas.

1 pound seashell shaped pasta
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup pesto sauce (I like store bought for this dish)
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup fresh or frozen peas, defrosted
Salt and pepper

Cook pasta for 10-12 minutes until al dente.  Drain and toss with oil and cool to room temperature.  Mix pesto with lemon juice and mayonnaise.  Add pesto mix to cooled pasta, and then add parmesan, peas and salt and pepper.  Mix well, taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve at room temperature.

Finally, serve a pirate-themed no bake cheesecake that was my favorite birthday cake when I was a child:

1-1/2 cups graham-cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter melted (3/4 stick)

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind and ½ teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tbsp milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
1 can Redi-whip or other whipped cream

1 can blueberry pie filling, refrigerated

•    Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and pat in bottom of an 8-inch square pan, or a round pie pan, or spring-form pan, to make crust. (Variations: Add crushed walnuts to the graham crumbs. Or use crumbled ginger snaps, lemon cookies, or chocolate cookies as alternatives to graham-cracker crumbs.)
•    Mix sugar, milk and cream cheese until smooth and spread this mixture over graham crust. (Variation: Sprinkle with ½ cup walnuts or almonds or coconut.)
•    Cover cream cheese filling mixture with whipped cream.
•    Mix pie filling topping with ½ tsp of vanilla or almond extract and pour evenly over whipped cream.
•    You may serve immediately or refrigerate for 3-4 hours to firm up, and then serve.
•    Top the cake with a few toy boats or some Swedish fish plus candles.

 Variation: Consider topping the cream with fresh berries or marinated fresh fruit, or another favorite pie filling instead of the blueberries. 

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