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Help with grad party menu!

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I need help! We're hosting a high school graduation party just weeks before we move with our two small kids. I'm feeling braindead when it comes to menu planning!

I need crowd-pleasing, easy to prepare and store foods that we can set out during the graduation party from 4-6. I'm thinking a few salads (pasta, etc), some finger foods, and some other snacky items and desserts.

I'd love to know some ideas to keep this simple and fun! After all, I'm the proud guradian of the graduate!

Thanks for your ideas!

Laura

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  1. You've got a lot going on. Try to keep it simple - a caprese salad usually works for most people, and is easy to prepare in advance. Instead of a fruit salad, what about a large tray of artfully arranged strawberries? Cut back on the prep as much as you can and focus on a pleasing presentation and everyone will love it. Best of luck!

    1. Bonnie's Buffalo Chicken dip...awesome for the young dudes/dudettes...it's easy to make and you can just leave it at room temp if you make it early in the afternoon that day...hummus and crudites and some pita chips are always popular, too.

      1. You don't give a quantity of people so......I'm guessing it's a pretty large crowd? Sounds like you're looking for heavy apps, as opposed to buffet style mains?

        These ideas are more like mains, and just off the top of my head:

        A baked ham is easy, you can pop in some biscuits and a selection of mustards, then people can slice and make sammies with it. Maybe a large dish of mac & cheese to go with, a crockpot of baked beans and a couple of salads.

        Or, pulled pork can be done ahead, again, set out rolls and people can make their own bbq sammies, with some cole slaw.

        Even a roast turkey breast, that can be cooked & carved ahead, and people can make their own turkey sammies.

        I have had luck with large pressed sandwiches. Take a large round loaf of bread, split it and take out some of the filling. Spread with condiments and layer with cheeses and your chooice of sliced meats, lettuces and tomatoes, or like a muffaletta with olive salad. Make ahead, wrap well and press with weights overnight in the fridge. Then you just need to slice off wedges for people.

        Or, there's always a taco bar option. Brown and season a few pounds of ground beef (or turkey meat) and leave out warm tortillas or crispy corn shells, salsa, avocados, shredded lettuces, cheeses and tortilla chips. Most kids I know can't pass up tacos!

        Enjoy and congratulations!!

        1. Nothing beats a good old fashioned finger sandwich - chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad, ham salad, and pimento cheese. I think that it's Wonder Bread that makes crustless white bread so there's no waste. Also, keep in mind that when you serve mayo based foods they need to be kept chilled. A solution that I found for a party I threw last year was to go to a local party goods shop and buy large aluminum pans (for about $2 a piece) and put ice in them and put the sandwiches in another tray on top of the ice.