Menu Ideas for a Graduation Party
Most graduation parties are open houses and most are in summer so that means outdoor parties. Of course this isn’t always the case but here are menu ideas for an outdoor graduation party. That means you need food that’s easy to eat (it’s hard to use a knife and fork sitting on a lawn chair or on the grass), and that will hold up for a few hours outside. For high school or college graduations you will have teen-agers there which means more than one feeding (at least if they’re like my kids).
Graduations are family affairs and most families like to bring something to the party. I usually point them to appetizers and desserts. That means I can focus on the main course and I don’t have to do things I’m bad at (desserts). Even if the aunts are bringing food you will want some basics.
- Chips and Salsa. Easy to do. You buy the chips and you can buy commercial salsas and everybody will be happy. If you want to make your own salsa try this Artichoke Salsa. Of course I happen to love artichokes!
- Mushroom Appetizers. Most recipes you can prep in advance and just throw a tray in the oven as you need them. Lots of variety too. Here are 20 top mushroom appetizers. Again, I'm a huge fan of mushrooms.
- Pizza. My Aunt Ann makes the greatest pizza ever and she insists on bringing enough for everyone. You may not have an Aunt Ann so just buy some. It’s easy and it’s universally liked. Oh, and it will hold up for entire party (even if it doesn't last).
If you like to grill and if you think most people will be eating at the same time this works. You all have your own grill favorites. Make what makes you comfortable. Trust me if you make burgers, brats and some chicken everyone is happy.
- Burgers. I’m sure you make a great burger and if you provide lettuce, tomato, onion and condiments you have a winner but I have to share the recipe for Michael Symon’s Lola Burger. I had this at his B Spot restaurant recently. Amazing.
- Six foot sub. Always a hit and really makes a WOW statement on your table. The key to success if finding a bakery that makes a great 6 foot loaf. Here are some suggestions for toppings but in the end put the things you or your graduate like on your sandwich.
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches. I like making pulled pork for large groups. It holds well in a crock pot and it’s delicious.
- Southern Fried Chicken. Here’s Paula Deen’s recipe for chicken or you can just grill some yourself. I do think that managing a lot of chicken on the grill is tougher than burgers or brats so I tend to order a full pan or two from our local deli. A bit pricey but it makes managing the rest of the meal easier.
I am very lucky because I never have to worry about desert. The family in a treasure trove of great bakers. If you have to do this the easiest thing is to buy a graduation cake and have some cookies. Who doesn’t really like cake and cookies? I also added a couple of ideas that can look great on any table.
- Grad Caps. This one is easy and really works for a grad party.
- Balloon Cupcakes. I think this one is fun for a smaller party or maybe a preschool graduation party.
- Hazelnut Butter Cookies w/Chocolate Cookies. All of you have some great cookie recipes but this one is great.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies. The PB&J one looks delicious but I haven’t tried it yet but what a great concept!
Have fun celebrating graduation!