While I loved our Pirates of the Caribbean family movie night with it’s assortment of Jamaican specialties, the movie is a tad on the scary side – so to balance things out, today we’re sharing our Princess & the Frog family movie night menu and activities!
Ella and I have been loving our twice monthly family tradition of a Disney movie night. We make a few recipes inspired by the movie or the culture that the movie is set in, and while it’s cooking Ella does a craft inspired by the movie.
She also loves the task of decorating the table to go with the theme of the night – and I’ve got to say, she’s been doing a pretty good job with items we already have in the house! (I’m planning a Princess Tiana theme for her 6th birthday so I’ve been picking up little fun things as I find them and they went to great use for this movie night theme.)
This same menu and itinerary would also work for a family movie night with the Haunted Mansion (supposedly set in Louisana) or the Rescuers (set in a swamp setting) – just change out the crafts a bit!
If you’re planning a Disney trip anytime in the future, this is a fun way to build anticipation and count down to your trip. If you have kids with distinctly different movie tastes, try alternating who gets to pick the movie and get everyone involved in planning the menu and activities.
Check out the bottom of this post for a printable shopping list to make planning your own family movie night easier.
Princess & the Frog Movie Night Menu
Ella immediately vetoed any suggested of frogs’ legs for supper, so we decided to go with a Cajun-inspired feast.
Cajun doesn’t have to be spicy, but if you wanted you could do foods with a green theme (pesto, avocadoes, etc) or a swamp theme (soup with kale, swamp water to drink, etc). But don’t underestimate the magic of these family movie nights for opening kids up to new foods! Tiana’s gumbo and “man catching” beignets are mentioned and shown several times in the movie, so your kids may be more interested in trying them alongside the characters.
- Crockpot Gumbo
- Milk Punch
I made Ella a virgin milk punch with a swirl of purple and green food dye and made myself a classic milk punch cocktail. (A Sazerac would also be perfect but I wanted to try something new.)
If you’re going to follow this family movie night plan, prep the beignet dough either the night before or the morning of. You could even make them a few hours before the movie night, but they are amazing fresh!
Princess & The Frog Movie Night Decor
Ella decorated the table with a plain purple tablecloth and covered it with a mix of Mardi Gras and Princess & the Frog table scatter.
We had this cute wooden platter with a raw edge which was reminiscent of Tiana and Prince Naveen’s time in the swamp, preparing their supper on a tree stump.
This gorgeous plumeria garland is from Oriental Trading Company and only $8 – we’re going to use it for our Princess & The Frog Party and it would also be great for a Mulan or Moana Family Movie Night. (And they also have matching hair clips.)
If you have any Mardi Gras decorations – from beads to masquerade masks – they would be perfect for this theme.
Princess & the Frog Crafts
For her craft, Ella made this easy Tiana-inspired crown headband. It was so easy and quick to make and we had all of the materials on hand already.
Materials to Make a Princess Tiana Headband Crown:
- Plain headband
- Pliers or wire cutters
- Pearl beads
- White flower (we used a poinsettia)
- Fishing wire
- Hot glue gun and glue
We also loved making mardi gras handprint masks and this “Catch the Fly” homemade frog toy – any of these crafts would be perfect for your own Princess & the Frog movie night.
Gumbo is a delicious cajun staple and gets a lot of attention in the movie so it’s a great opportunity to encourage the kids to try something new. Chock full of flavor and veggies (along with sausage and shrimp) this one-pot stew is now one of our family’s favourite comfort foods.
I wanted to spend my time making beignets so I adapted my Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo recipe to work in the crockpot, and I swapped out the shrimp for crawfish and we actually couldn’t find okra this time but it just serves as a thickener to make your gumbo more stew-like.
I now make small batches of my cajun spice mix so I just used that instead of measuring out each spice.
How to Make Crockpot Gumbo
- 2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 5 Tablespoons flour of choice
- 6 medium-size andouille sausage, sliced
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large sweet peppers, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 head garlic, minced
- 2-3 teaspoons cajun spice mix
- 8 medium okra, chopped
- 1-16oz can tomatoes
- 20-25 large shrimp (uncooked and with shells, preferably)
- 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Set the crockpot to high and add the butter and flour. Stir frequently until the mixture darkens – the darker you let the flour get, the darker your broth will be. (Chocolate brown is ideal, but if you don’t have the patience for that just make sure it’s a light brown before you proceed with the recipe.)
Add the sausage, onion, sweet peppers, garlic and celery to the crockpot and sautee until the onions and celery are translucent.
Add the broth, spices, tomatoes and shrimp and cover. Heat on high for 45 minutes.
Taste and adjust as needed before serving on rice. (You can add the rice to cook directly in the crockpot, but I find it more reliable to cook it on it’s own.)
Tiana’s “man catching” beignets are a must-do dessert for this family movie night. We have our standard “square beignet” recipe which looks more like the one they show in the movie, but I thought doing a heart-shaped beignet would be a cute nod to Tiana & Naveen’s love story.
Be sure to prepare the dough the morning of your movie night (or even the night before) so it has time to rise before you are ready to cook them.
Ingredients to Make Beignets
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 envelope active dry yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup shortening PLUS 1 Tablespoon
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour (regular flour is okay but will be less chewy)
- 6+ cups oil, for deep-frying
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
New Orleans Milk Punch
I wanted a simple and delicious cocktail that would go well with our menu and this milk punch was the perfect choice. It also easily converted into a tasty virgin mocktail for kids. (I added food coloring and a colored sugar rim to Ella’s drink for whimsy and also to prevent getting the drinks confused!)
You can use rum, bourbon or brandy to make this cocktail – I already had brandy on hand but bourbon would probably be more authentic.
How to Make a Milk Punch Cocktail
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 oz brandy
- 1 Tablespoon icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Sugar crystals, for a sugar rim
Place the milk, brandy, icing sugar and vanilla in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake well for 1 minute until well chilled, and carefully remove the top.
Pour into a glass garnished with a sugar rim and enjoy immediately.
Planning Your Own Family Movie Night
I’ve made this free Family Movie Night planning sheet for you to plan your own movie night – whether that be for Princess & the Frog or another family favourite.
The first couple times you host a family movie night, try to take it easy – stick to recipes that you’ve tried before, pick a craft or activity well within the kids’ skill level, and don’t over plan the night. The movie will probably get started later than you expected and the kids might be a little over-excited at the new family tradition (especially if eating supper in front of the TV)!
We originally tried to do these weekly, but for now doing them every 2 weeks has allowed them to still be a fun family time that we look forward to, without feeling like just another thing I have to schedule and plan for.
And be sure to pin this Princess & the Frog family movie night for later:
Does your family host movie nights, or have any other fun traditions for spending time together?
What movies would you like to plan our next family movie night for?