Menu

Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Say congrats to your grads with a celebration of fun, food and great gifts.

It’s a Graduation Celebration!

Graduation is a time of pride and ceremony…and celebration! With diploma in hand, it’s time for your grad to start the party with some easy-to-make Sweet and Tangy Cocktail Sausages and flavorful Cheeseburger Bites. Partygoers can also munch on spicy, cheesy Pomp and Circumstance Pepper Pops and delicious Hot Italian Sliders while toasting grads with a Diploma Daiquiri. For a unique celebration, you can Build Your Own Gourmet Baked Potato Bar!

Any grad party needs plenty of sweets, and we’ve got you covered! Try some Mini Fruit Cookie Tarts, with fresh fruit and vanilla cream. Maybe guests would prefer some Tiny Peanut Butter Cup Cookies, bringing two favorite flavors together!

Remember to help the graduate in your life with the journey ahead. Take a look at some Tech Gifts for Grads, for handy ideas to make their special day even more memorable!

Mini Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches

Mini Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches

These little sandwiches are still hugely satisfying with melty cheese, fresh tomato and toasty bread.

Hands-on Time: 25 min. | Total Time: 25 min. | Serves: 20 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 40 slices cocktail bread
  • 10 slices Havarti cheese, cut into quarters
  • 3 each Roma tomatoes, sliced into ⅛” slices
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
Directions:
  1. Place tomato slices in a single layer on a kitchen towel or paper towels to absorb excess moisture.
  2. Lay out 20 pieces of cocktail bread on a work surface. Top each with 1 quarter piece of cheese, 1 slice tomato, another quarter piece of cheese, top with second slice of bread. Brush tops with melted butter.
  3. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Place sandwiches, butter side down, in pan; cook 2-3 minutes until golden brown on one side. Brush other side of sandwich with melted butter; flip sandwiches and cook another 1-2 minutes until browned and cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining sandwiches if necessary.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 120, Calories from Fat 70, Total Fat 8g (12% DV), Saturated Fat 5g (25% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 20mg (7% DV), Sodium 220mg (9% DV), Carbohydrates 10g (3% DV), Dietary Fiber 1g (4% DV), Sugars < 1g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 15%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Cheeseburger Bites

Cheeseburger Bites

These little sesame seed buns pack a flavorful punch stuffed with classic cheeseburger ingredients.

Hands-on Time: 40 min. | Total Time: 3 hrs. | Serves: 32 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • ⅔ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 small chopped onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mild cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup drained dill pickle relish or finely chopped dill pickles
  • 32 frozen dinner roll dough, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Sesame seeds
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line baking pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard; refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a 12” skillet over medium high heat cook ground beef, onions, salt and pepper until beef is browned and cooked through. Remove from heat to stir in cheese and pickles; cool completely.
  3. Flatten 1 piece of dough, place 1 tablespoon of meat mixture in the center and tightly pinch dough closed around it. Place on prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough pieces. Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  4. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve with sauce.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.
Tip:

Frozen rolls take 2-3 hours to thaw at room temperature.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 200, Calories from Fat 110, Total Fat 12g (18% DV), Saturated Fat 3.5g (18% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 20mg (7% DV), Sodium 320mg (13% DV), Carbohydrates 16g (5% DV), Dietary Fiber 1g (4% DV), Sugars 1g, Protein 8g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 10%, Iron 8%.

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Mini Fruit Cookie Tarts

Mini Fruit Cookie Tarts

Sugar cookies become dessert worthy when topped with vanilla cream and fresh fruit.

Hands-on Time: 90 min. | Total Time: 2 hrs. 40 min. | Serves: 36 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • Assorted berries and/or thinly sliced fruits
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar together until fluffy; add egg and 2 tsp. vanilla beating until well mixed. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat on low speed until combined. Mixture may be crumbly; use hands to form into a ball. Divide ball in half; flatten each half and wrap in food plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  3. On a lightly floured surface roll dough out to ⅛-¼” thickness. Using a 3” circle or square scalloped edge cookie cutter, cut dough; transfer to prepared pan.
  4. Bake 12-14 minutes until just beginning to brown on edges; transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  6. Frost cookie with cream cheese mixture; top with fruit.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers.
Tip:

Cookies can be made up to 3 days ahead but should be frosted and topped with fruit on the day you plan to serve them. If desired melted orange marmalade or apricot jelly can be brushed on the fruit to give it a shiny glaze.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 130, Calories from Fat 60, Total Fat 7g (11% DV), Saturated Fat 4.5g (22% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 20mg (7% DV), Sodium 55mg (2% DV), Carbohydrates 14g (5% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 6g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 2%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Tiny Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Tiny Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

You definitely can’t eat just one of these tiny peanut butter and chocolate treats.

Hands-on Time: 50 min. | Total Time: 60 min. | Serves: 12 dozen | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Sugar for rolling
  • Peanut butter cup minis (not wrapped miniatures) or chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line baking pans with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl beat together butter, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Add flour, baking soda and salt; beat on low until combined.
  3. Scoop level ½ teaspoon size balls of dough; roll into smooth balls. Roll balls in sugar and place on prepared baking pans about 1”-inch apart. Bake 4-6 minutes until bottoms are golden brown. Immediately press 1 peanut butter cup in the center of each cookie allow to cool completely.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 40, Calories from Fat 20, Total Fat 2g (3% DV), Saturated Fat 1g (5% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol < 5mg (1% DV), Sodium 25mg (1% DV), Carbohydrates 5g (2% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 3g, Protein < 1g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 0%, Iron 0%.

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Diploma Daiquiri

Diploma Daiquiri

After years of hard work you have earned it - a cold and refreshing strawberry daiquiri!

Hands-on Time: 5 min. | Total Time: 15 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 16 oz. fresh strawberries, stemmed, hulled and quartered
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup white rum, optional
  • 4-5 cups ice
Directions:
  1. In a bowl mix together strawberries, sugar and lime juice in a bowl; let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender; blend until ice and strawberries are thoroughly blended. Serve immediately.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers.

Drink responsibly.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 130, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 0mg (0% DV), Carbohydrates 15g (5% DV), Dietary Fiber 1g (4% DV), Sugars 12g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 60%, Calcium 2%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Tassel Hasselback Mini Potatoes

Tassel Hasselback Mini Potatoes

After you move your tassel to the left toss back a few of these delicious crispy potato bits.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 60 min. | Serves: 12 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped chives
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • 24 oz. small golden or red skin gold flesh potatoes
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Mix sour cream, chives, onion and garlic powder in a bowl; refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Place chopsticks or bamboo skewers on a cutting board with 1 potato in between. Using knife carefully cut slits every ⅛” without cutting through the bottom (the chopsticks will help stop the knife). Place cut potatoes on baking sheet.
  3. Brush potatoes with butter and season with salt and pepper. Bake 45-50 minutes until golden brown. Serve with sour cream and chive dip.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 100, Calories from Fat 50, Total Fat 6g (9% DV), Saturated Fat 3.5g (18% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 15mg (5% DV), Sodium 150mg (6% DV), Carbohydrates 10g (3% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (4% DV), Sugars < 1g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 8%, Calcium 4%, Iron 2%

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Pomp and Circumstance Pepper Pops

Pomp and Circumstance Pepper Pops

Jalapeño popper dip makes a great filling for a savory pie crust and everything tastes better on a stick.

Hands-on Time: 60 min. | Total Time: 1 hr. 25 min. | Serves: 36 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup pickled jalapeños, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 each. jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 packages (14.1oz.) refrigerated pie crust
  • 36 6” cookie sticks
  • 1 large egg, beaten
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a bowl add cream cheese, parmesan cheese, jalapeños, garlic and pepper; mix well to combine.
  3. On a light floured surface lay out pie crust, roll to form 12” diameter circle. With a 2 ½” round cutter, cut 18 circles of dough. Repeat with remain pie crusts. Brush 36 circles with egg wash; lay a cookie stick in the center and press lightly. Top with 1 teaspoon of jalapeño mixture leaving ½” border; top with remaining circles of dough. Fork around edges to secure. Transfer to prepared pan, brush tops with egg wash and cut a small slit in the center.
  4. Bake 14-18 minutes until edges are golden brown.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 140, Calories from Fat 80, Total Fat 9g (14% DV), Saturated Fat 3.5g (18% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 10mg (3% DV), Sodium 150mg (6% DV), Carbohydrates 13g (4% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (3% DV), Sugars 1g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 2%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Hot Italian Sliders

Hot Italian Sliders

Melted cheese, tangy vegetables and savory Italian meats will make these easy to make little sandwiches the hit of the party.

Hands-on Time: 20 min. | Total Time: 45 min. | Serves: 24 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 2 packages Hawaiian sweet rolls, split horizontally
  • 20 slices of provolone cheese
  • 12 oz. thin sliced smoked ham
  • 4 oz. thin sliced pepperoni
  • 4 oz. thin sliced genoa salami
  • 1 jar (16 oz.) Italian mix giardiniera, drained and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ½ tsp. dried Italian herbs
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
Directions:
  1. Place bottom half of rolls on a lightly spray 11”x17” rimmed baking pan. Layer 10 slices cheese, meats, remaining cheese and giardiniera. Cover with top of rolls.
  2. Heat oven to 350°F. Mix together butter, herbs and garlic. Brush butter mixture over top of rolls; cover pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and buns are crisp. Cut into individual sandwiches before serving.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 220, Calories from Fat 100, Total Fat 12g (18% DV), Saturated Fat 6g (30% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 50mg (17% DV), Sodium 750mg (31% DV), Carbohydrates 17g (6% DV), Dietary Fiber 1g (4% DV), Sugars 5g, Protein 11g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 10%, Iron 6%

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Sweet and Tangy Cocktail Sausages

Sweet and Tangy Cocktail Sausages

Three ingredients and a crockpot is all it takes to make this crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 120 min. | Serves: 30 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 4 packages (12-14 oz.) cocktail sausages
  • 16 oz. grape jelly
  • 12 oz. cocktail sauce
Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients in a 4-5-quart slow cooker; stir to combine. Heat on high heat for 1½ -2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 170, Calories from Fat 90, Total Fat 10g (15% DV), Saturated Fat 3.5g (18% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 20mg (7% DV), Sodium 460mg (19% DV), Carbohydrates 14g (5% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 14g, Protein 5g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 2%, Iron 4%

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Loaded Potato Dip

Loaded Potato Dip

Potato chips have found their perfect match in this dip loaded with cheese, bacon and chives.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 1 hr. 15 min. | Serves: 24 (about 3 cups) | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • Potato chips
Directions:
  1. In a bowl combine sour cream, cheese, bacon, chives, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and hot sauce until combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to combine flavors.
  2. Serve with potato chips.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers.
Tip:

Purchasing fully cooked bacon strips is a great time saver in this recipe; just crisp according to package instructions. About 4 ounces of cooked bacon will equal 1 cup of chopped bacon.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 90, Calories from Fat 60, Total Fat 7g (11% DV), Saturated Fat 4g (20% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 20mg (7% DV), Sodium 110mg (5% DV), Carbohydrates 2g (1% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 0g, Protein 5g, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 10%, Iron 0%

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Graduation Party Meal: Build Your Own Gourmet Baked Potato Bar

Graduation Party Meal: Build Your Own Gourmet Baked Potato Bar

That comforting aroma of hot baked potatoes right out of the oven will call anyone into the kitchen. Whether they’re doodling in yearbooks, staring at their phones separately-together, or playing a game of bean bag toss in the yard, grads will come running.

Shopping List:

  • Potatoes for baking
  • Cheese galore: Gouda, feta, parmesan
  • Sour cream
  • Greek yogurt
  • Butter
  • Flavored and plain cream cheeses
  • Fresh herbs: chives, cilantro, parsley
  • Avocados
  • Cans of black beans
  • Salsa varieties
  • Hot sauce options
  • BBQ sauce
  • Bacon bits
  • Various vegetables for sautéing
  • Coarse sea salt & peppercorns
  • Note cards/recipe cards

It’s time to use every serving dish and platter you own, so get ready and clear the counters. Grads will be excited about a new twist on the familiar. A wooden cheese board with chalkboard labels is the perfect way to name the gouda, feta and Parmesan. Set out a grater or two beside it. Place sour cream, Greek yogurt, butter and cream cheese near chopped herbs nearby so guests can make their own infusions.

Creamy avocado can be a fun new topping for a baked potato but is also a great alternative to dairy products, so set out a generous bowl. To inspire a southwest combination, place warmed beans and different kinds of salsa and hot sauces nearby. Also offer bacon bits and sautéed vegetables each in their own dishes. Try bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms and asparagus, or cook your grad’s favorites.

To easily identify each ingredient, fold a note card in half for simple tent-style labels. Use glass or ceramic bowls with lids for easy clean-up, or if you can find a dish with divided sections, even better! Being able to transfer from the counter to fridge will save a lot of clean-up time. For added novelty, set out a mortar and pestle. How many people have crushed their own salt and peppercorns?

Include recipe cards and pens so grads can document their creations to make at home, or display a couple ideas for those who prefer to work with inspiration: three-cheese bacon mushroom; cream cheese, veggie & herb; BBQ bacon Parmesan; vegan southwest fajita-style; broccoli, gouda and peppercorn—the combinations are endless!

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Tech Gifts for Grads

Tech Gifts for Grads

Technology is a part of our everyday lives, and it has become a big part of professional success for new grads. Help the graduate in your life by gifting something truly useful to jump-start their next steps. 

Technology is a part of our everyday lives, and it has become a big part of professional success for new grads. Help the graduate in your life by gifting something truly useful to jump-start their next steps.

Cell phones: the Simple Mobile A 570, AT&T Alcatel Ideal and TracFone LG 52 each provide easy access to the web, email and the Google Play App store.

Chargers: what good is a phone if it’s dead? Grab your grad’s favorite color charger. Get one for the car, the house and to keep in their backpack. And for the times they’re stranded without access to an outlet, offer a portable charger.

Adapters: There are all sorts of clever adapters out there, like ones that turn the 12V socket in your car (aka cigarette lighter) into an electrical outlet (like you have at home). You can get adapters with multiple USB ports or a universal or multi-data charger. If the grad’s car is a little old school and doesn’t have an AUX port, you can get a tape deck with an auxiliary cord that plugs into the headphone jack of their cell phone. This allows the music collection on their phone or mp3 device to be enjoyed through car speakers.

Flash drive: also called a USB/memory stick. These generally come in 1GB-20GB capacities and are great for keeping certain files with you on the go. Transfer to and from computers for sharing, printing, or extra backup.

External/portable hard drive: For important documents like portfolio contents, school papers and valuable photos, you can never be too careful. Backing up files on an external hard drive is a safe way to store large quantities of files. If anything compromising happened to your computer, all your hard work would remain untouched and protected.

Software (likely more applicable to college graduates): What programs does this new professional need to access? In college, students often have free reign of expensive software through the library or computer labs. After school, as they journey on the job hunt, they’ll need to be ready for working on their own.

Website hosting fees: Online portfolios are an impressive way to showcase skills to employers. Cover the cost of the grad’s first annual fee as a way to say “Congratulations!”

Gift cards to app stores: Surprises are great, but sometimes only the recipient knows what they need. Perhaps it’s an app for project management, photo editing or budgeting—you don’t have to worry about it.

Bill pay for a month: It’s hard to get used to being a grown-up. Wouldn’t it be nice to skip all the bills? Help ease some stress by covering the cost of your grad’s phone or internet bill for a month. Let them use that money for something more fun.

View Party Plan: It's a Graduation Celebration!

Website Feedback