Knowing what to serve at a graduation dinner is as important as the entertainment, decorations and guest lists are. A large, luxurious graduation dinner tells the graduate how important she is and how important and wonderful the graduation itself is. A graduation party is usually more formal than a birthday, barbecue or picnic event; however, you can still choose to serve buffet-style or have a sit-down dinner. If you are throwing a sit-down style graduation dinner, check out this list for ideas on what to serve.
- Choose your appetizers. Chicken wings of different flavors, such as hot, buffalo, barbecue and plain, would do well at a graduation dinner since these dishes are very popular with younger crowds. With the wings you can also serve stuffed potato skins and breaded mushrooms. Also, offer a vegetable tray on the graduation dinner table for those on special diets. Include cherry tomatoes, celery, carrot sticks, red, green and yellow peppers, green onions, green and black olives and radishes. Serve with a choice of dips. Don't forget blue cheese and ranch for the wings.
- Offer a selection of soups. A small bowl of soup, such as a creamy broccoli or a French onion soup, served with a small lemon poppyseed muffin, would be a perfect starter to serve at a graduation dinner.
- Offer salads. Offer choices of salads, such as a seven-layer salad, potato salad, pasta salad and cole slaw, using small plates or bowls. You can hold the dressings and offer them separately. Offer such choices as ranch, French, Italian, and simple mayonnaise.
- Choose your entrees. Graduation dinners should include a great entree, such as a bacon-wrapped filet mignon or a cheese filled manicotti, or stuffed shells with cheese. You may have some guests that are vegetarian who can eat the pasta. The filets are easy and fool proof to make by pan searing the surfaces and then wrapping them in foil and baking for an hour.
- Select side dishes to serve at the graduation dinner table. Twice-stuffed baked potatoes, green bean almondine and wild rice pilaf are great and tasty side dishes.
- Provide condiments. Don't forget to set some condiments on the table, such as salt, pepper, steak sauce, a salt substitute, sugar, sugar substitutes, hot sauce and some grated parmesan cheese.
- Provide a bread basket. Give your graduation dinner guests a choice of breads, such as bread sticks, garlic bread and dinner rolls with soft butter or margarine.
- Offer drinks. Offer a choice of coffee, tea, milk or flavored sodas to your guests. Have cream, honey and plain water available on the table.
- Choose a cake. A cake is traditional to have at a graduation dinner. Usually it's a large pan cake with a picture of the graduate or a personal message written in frosting on top. A two-layer round cake is common also.
- Offer other desserts. Serve a couple dessert trays filled with small dishes of ice cream, pastries and fancy cookies. You can also make individual cheesecakes in cupcake papers or small slices of cream and fruit pies.
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