Hello again there busy mama!
Welcome to part four of our graduation party planning series! In today’s post, we will be talking about the food you will serve. This will encompass your main dishes, side dishes, snacks, and drinks. Since I love desserts and I know you do too, they will be a featured post all of their own!
If you have just joined in on this series, be sure to head back to the previous three posts to catch up on our party planning. The links are listed below:
Today, instead of leaving you with a ton of random ideas to pull from, I am going to reveal my Graduation Party Buffet Menu. This will only feature one or two recipes per food category since that is all I would serve at a grad party. Since many of the food ideas are my own family recipes, I have also provided you with free recipe cards for my buffet style casseroles. If you would rather use your own family recipes or would rather not cook at all, then still read on to find out what types of food you should serve at your party and how much! Let’s get to it.
Kitsch ‘n Whimsy’s Graduation Party Buffet Menu
1. The Salad
I always think it is nice to serve a salad with your buffet, although maybe take it up a notch by adding fresh strawberries, candied walnuts, and/or feta cheese! Since guests tend to care much more about your main entree and side dishes than about your salad, I also recommend serving roughly 1 cup of salad per guest expected.
Since I don’t have a special family salad recipe, I did a little research and found a gorgeous salad by Sumptuous Living that features all of the above! You can click on the photo below to go directly to Mandy’s website where you will find her recipe card available to you!
2. The Main Dish
For a main dish, I recommend making either a delicious casserole or some kind of pulled meat sandwich. These types of food can usually feed a lot of people and are easy to prepare.
My absolute FAVORITE dish to serve to a large crowd is my family’s Chicken Poppyseed Casserole. This dish is a creamy chicken mixture with a Ritz Cracker Crumb topping. This casserole is best served over white rice! For the main dish you will be serving, I recommend making about 1.5 servings for each expected guest. The same will hold true for the rice that the casserole will be served over.
I found this photo that basically exactly resembles how my family casserole would look. The recipe is a little different, but the look is the same! Now tell me that doesn’t look amazing!
Here is my family recipe! Once I have a chance to make it again, I’ll photo op it up and get some photos on here! Seriously though, if you don’t make this for your own grad party… you should at least make it once for your family! You will not be disappointed.
3. The Vegetable Side Dishes
I like to serve two vegetable side dishes with my buffet menus. It’s important to also make them tasty, or else everyone will only gravitate to the main dish. For my menu, I will be serving a Vegetable Casserole Side Dish as well as a Cheesy Potato Side Dish. For each side you make, I recommend preparing about 1 serving per expected guest. Below, I have provided you with both of my favorite vegetable side dish recipes!
Once again, this is a photo of a vegetable casserole that looks exactly how my casserole looks… but the recipe is slightly different. Once I have a chance to make my own, I will throw photos of it up on here!
Here’s my recipe! You will definitely want to try this one too!
I couldn’t find my original recipe for this side dish. However, I did find the exact same one on the Chef In Training website. Click on the photo above to go to their website and download the recipe they have there for your use!
4. The Bread Sticks or Rolls
Of course, no dinner buffet can be complete without bread. I suggest either making simple dinner rolls or ordering party packs of bread sticks from your local pizzeria. For this element of your buffet, I suggest having 2 rolls or 3 bread sticks per expected guest. People love their bread!
5. The Drinks
Since you will have a wide variety of guests at your graduation party, it is important to offer a few different choices for drinks. You will certainly want to have water on hand – I recommend water bottles as it will be the easiest to manage. You will want about 1.5 water bottles per expected guest.
Since people have a very distinct taste for Coke versus Pepsi, I recommend just getting both as well as a caffeine free soda option. You should have about 1.5 sodas per guest expected if you are also serving alcohol. Otherwise, double that amount.
If you are serving alcohol, be sure to have a way of monitoring who is getting into it. Graduations parties are a big opportunity for underaged kids to get their hands on it. So once you’ve figured out how to distribute it to your guests, make sure you have about 1.5 drinks per appropriately aged guest per hour. People also love their beer.
Finally, if you really want to kick it up at your graduation party, you can also rent a slushy machine! I’ve been to a couple of parties that offered slushies… and boy did they go over great! If you choose to offer slushies, you will want to have roughly 1.5 drinks per expected guest. Kids love their slushies!
6. The Snacks
This is the last food item to think about for today! Since you will be offering delicious food all day long to your party guests, there is no need to go crazy over snacks. You will, however, want to have some available. I recommend having either some chips and dip or some kind of chex/party mix as well as some kind of candy. Just make sure that each table has a snack sized bowl or two available. No need to go bigger than that!
Well there you have it! That is my Graduation Party Buffet Menu at your disposal! Hopefully your taste buds are triggered and you are ready to put together your own menu for your coming party. Feel free to use all of my recipes for yours! To help make all of this work, you will certainly need to enlist some help. Cooking food is a great way for family and friends who want to help get involved. Simply print each person a recipe and let them know to make 1 or 2 casserole sized portions of the recipe. Then they just bring it to you before your party begins and you are ready!
If you are short on time or on help, then you are always able to cater! This will help save you on the stress of cooking and cut down your party prep time. Cooking your own, however, will always be the less expensive option!
Well busy mama, I hope you feel motivated and not overwhelmed. As always, don’t forget to take a moment for yourself today to breathe, relax, and enjoy your exciting life!
Have a beautiful day!
PS: What style of food are you serving at your party? Inspire us by telling us in the comments below!