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HS Graduation Party

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Any ideas for a menu?? I will be throwing a HS grad party for my daughter in August here at home. Expect about 50 people (adults and teens) and want to do the food myself. We have a very large Vermont Castings grill so BBQ type food would be doable. Suggestions would be great. Thanks

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  1. When I had graduation parties for my son and daughter, as I recall the big "hits" were Caeser Salad (especially with the girls), Quesadillas, and Chicken, Broccoli and Ziti; less popular was a 6' long sub. Since you are doing it in August and you have the large grill (and you won't be competing with other graduation parties where the kids come and go from other parties and, therefore, eat less), I say keep it simple with burgers and dogs.

    1. If simple is ok you could do big platters of grilled chicken (Nigella's simple recipe for grilled chicken with lemon and rosemary tastes great and there's no messy sauce), sausages and peppers with good rolls, and maybe some grilled portabellos (hmmm, i don't know how to spell that) with grilled onion, peppers, and good cheese melted on so you have a tasty grilled veggie burger option.

      All simple foods both kids and adults can enjoy and all easy to prepare and eat.

      Congratulations to you and your daughter!

      Back to add a link:

      When I looked for the link I discovered that her recipe is for oven baked but we always do it on the grill. Also, for ease you may prefer to use chicken pieces rather than whole, butterflied. For a small crowd I do it butterflied because I like how moist it stays but obviously cutting it up is a step you could easily skip!

      2 Replies
      1. re: xena

        I have done the grilled chicken and cut them in longer pieces, skewer with a long wooden skewer that was soaked in water and people pick up for a clean handle.

      2. I have 3 easy things I do for big company.
        Sausage & Peppers - Grill the sausage the night before (to brown them). Cut up some peppers & onions (dependent on taste). Thrown them in a huge stock pot the morning with a bunch of Ragu (or your favorite sauce I add redwine and spices to taste) of the party and let them simmer for a few hours (sausage & Ragu bought a Costco).
        Lasagna – Using the no cook noodles you can make & freeze these ahead of time. I can pop out 4 trays in and hour and a half (to freeze or cook the next day).
        Wings – If you have a big fryer or wok, I get frozen wings from Costco. Cook them until they look done (around 20-30 minutes depending on how frozen they still are). For the wing sauce I use a cup of Franks hot sauce and a half a stick of butter (melted together) and toss in the wings.
        These are my stand-bys as their pretty easy to make, feed a lot, and get pretty good reviews.

        1. I bought some hummus at Costco ($5-6 for a big tub) and served it with pita chips. They sell the Sabra brand there; be sure to carefully scrape off the mound of garlic that comes on the top of the tub. Way too much garlic, IMO. The Sabra hummus is pretty decent, and the kids loved it; no leftovers from 2 big tubs. I brought it as an appetizer to a neighbor's graduation party. Inexpensive and easy.

          1. I recently made a delicious Italien summer salad that might be good for a crowd. Toss a loaf of italien bread (cut into cubes about 1.5 inches each side) with some olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to coat. Put it in the oven and broil (watch carefully!) until lightly browned and crispy. Set aside and let cool. Chop some fresh Mozzarella cheese into small pieces. Slice two red onions into thin slices and then place in cold water for an hour or so to take out some of the bite - then drain and dry with paper towels. Cut a bunch of tomatoes into eight pieces each and chop up some green olives as well. I added some arugula and some chopped basil to the mix. Make a simple vinagrette with olive oil and balsamic and salt and pepper and mix it all in. Let it sit for no more than ten minutes with the bread mixed in and then serve! I think serving this salad or another one with simple burgers and other BBQ foods would be amazing!

            1. Shrimp on the barby was big with my son and his friends when they were in high school. Then they all went to college and became vegetarians and we had Boca Burgers - much cheaper.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ginnyhw

                I like serving Lasagne for a crowd because it's easy to make in advance and you can enjoy yourself during the party. This is a great recipe and always a hit with family and friends.

                Lasagna with Wine

                This is a long-time family favorite. Serve with a tossed green salad and garlic bread.
                1 medium chopped red onion
                3 tablespoons vegetable oil
                1 1/2 pounds hamburger
                2 cloves garlic (minced)
                2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
                1 6 oz. can tomato paste
                1/2 cup of dry red wine
                1/2 cup of water
                1 teaspoon oregano leaves
                2 teaspoons basil leaves
                1/2 teaspoon of pepper and sugar
                1 teaspoon salt
                12 ounces of lasagne noodles
                1 lb. ricotta cheese
                8 ounces mozzarella cheese (sliced)
                1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

                1. Saute the minced onion until soft.
                2. Add hamburger and garlic to the onion. Cook until meat is browned.
                3. Add and stir: tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, water, salt, oregano, basil, pepper, and sugar.
                4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer slowly for 90 minutes.
                5. Cook noodles according to the directions on the box.
                6. Lay 1/3 of the noodles in the bottom of a 9X13 inch baking dish.
                7. Cover with 1/3 of the meat mixture.
                8. Top with 1/3 of the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses.
                9. Repeat 2 more times so that all ingredients are used.
                10. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
                11. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

                This will make 6-8 servings.

                Tip: I usually double the recipe and freeze one dish to use at a later time.

                Recipe is from the June 2006 issue of Cheers2Wine News: