This weekend I’m heading down to Massachusetts for a graduation party. My niece Kaela graduated from high school a few weeks ago. She and one of her friends are joining forces and celebrating together. The girls go way back to toddlerhood.
Menu planning can be difficult for a big group that ranges from eight to eighty-five. My best advice, keep it casual. Although I won’t be cooking this weekend, I took Kaela and Morgan’s party was an inspiration to develop a menu for a fun and festive party for family and friends.
How to start? Think do-it-yourself. In other words, put out some dips and spreads, a platter of fresh veggies and a basket of crackers and pita chips. My favorites include Baba Ghanoush, Roasted Red Pepper Dip and Feta & Walnut Spread. And for the kids, add some of my Simply Delicious Salsa or Guacamole, or better yet, both. And if one salsa is good, two are better, especially for a big group so try my Grilled Corn & Black Bean Salsa.
On to the main event: A cookout works for me. What about you? Chicken is always a good bet. Who doesn’t love chicken? My favorite marinades include a spicy tomato-based BBQ sauce, an Asian-inspired hoisin and a white wine, mustard and herb marinade. Take your pick, they are all yummy. If you’ve got a big crowd, cook boneless breast of chicken. Unlike chicken on the gone, it only takes a few minutes.
Keep it cool and make all the side dishes in advance. Everyone will love Asian Noodle Salad and Crunchy Slaw with Cilantro, Mint and Peanuts. If you believe a cookout is not cookout without potato salad, try my New Potato Salad with Gorgonzola. And don’t forget to add a big garden salad with a Classic Vinaigrette.
And something sweet? With a big crowd, I’d suggest brownies or maybe brownies and more brownies. And for the graduates, Sweet Dream Bars and best wishes for a bright future.
Have fun with family and friends. Bon appétit!
Want more? Click Here! for more seasonal menus or Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
What’s on tap for you this weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below. I’d be delighted to add you to the growing list of blog subscribers. To subscribe: just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button.
And if you’ve got a minute … many thanks for taking a look at my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. Why not join me at the next Eat Well-Do Good dinner?
© Susan W. Nye, 2012