Graduation Party Recipes for Meats, Beans, Appetizers and a Couple of Punches

grad hat

Most graduation party menus include more that just salads and sweets.  There is usually a meat entree, beans and a couple of fruit or vegetable appetizers.  To wash all the great food down or just stay hydrated on a hot afternoon–a tangy cold beverage or punch recipe will be greatly appreciated by party goers.

This blog and the recent blog of salad, bar and cookie recipes should help complete any time-pressed host or hostess’graduation party menu.  This blog contains meat, bean, appetizer and beverage recipes.


Whether is is a pork,beef, lamb, chicken or turkey graduation meat entree’s are usually sauced, shredded and served on a bun.  The key to getting the meat tender enough to shred with a fork, is to cook it at a low temperature slowly over a long period of time. Barbecue grills, smokers, ovens and crock pots can all be used to slow cook meat.

Poultry needs to be cooked at a higher temperature than beef, pork or lamb.  I slow bake poultry at about 300 degrees until the juices run clear and the meat easily pulls away from the bone.

A three to four pound roast will make about eight large sandwiches or 16 mini-sandwiches or sliders. To prepare Beef, pork and lamb in your oven season the meat, cover it and at 250 degrees for about eight hours. The roast should be basted  frequently with your favorite sauce.

Barbecue sauce:

1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 thick slice of lemon
1 onion, finely diced
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke

In a large saucepan combine vinegar, water mustard, pepper, cayenne pepper, sugar, salt, lemon, onion and butter.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat.  Use as a baste or sauce for pork, beef, lamb, turkey or chicken.

Yield: 2 cups which is enough for 3-4 pounds of meat

Easiest and Best Barbecue Sauce Ever

2 jars of Heinz chili sauce
1 3/4 cups of concord grape jelly

In a medium-sized sauce pan combine the chili sauce and grape jelly.  Cook over medium heat until grape jelly is melted.

Sauce is great with meatballs, chicken wings, chicken, turkey, beef and pork.

Yield: about 4 cups and is enough for 6-7 pounds of meat.


Three-Bean Salad 

1 can, 16 ounce, green beans
1 can, 16 ounce, yellow wax beans
1 can, 19 ounce, kidney beans
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Drain and rinse beans. Combine beans in a large mixing bowl.  Add red bell pepper and onion.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together sugar, vinegar and oil.  Pour over beans.  Season with salt and pepper. Toss ingredients together until evenly coated. Chill overnight.

Yield:  8 servings

Three-Bean Bake

This recipe can be made in either the oven or a crock pot.

Preheat over to 300 degrees.  Grease 9 X 13 X 2 inch baking dish

1/2 pound of ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound of bacon, diced, fried and drained
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 Tablespoon cider vinegar
2 cans (16 ounce, each) pork and beans
1 can (15 ounce) kidney beans
1 can (15 ounce) butter beans

In a large skillet, brown beef and onions. Drain off fat.  Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, salt, mustard, vinegar and fried bacon bits.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Next, add all of the beans.  Mix together well.

Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until bubbly.  If you are using a crock pot, cooking times will vary depending on if you use the low or high hear setting.

Yield:  8 servings

Crock Pot Vegan Baked Beans

2- 28 ounce cans of vegetarian baked beans
1 onion, finely diced
1 Tablespoon molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/3 cup ketchup

Add all of the ingredients into a large crock pot. Mix together thoroughly.  Cook for at least an hour or until onion is tender   Keep warm in crock pot until ready to serve.


Dip for Fresh Strawberries

1 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. With a electric hand-mixer beat until light and fluffy.

Serve with fresh strawberries for dipping

Yield: 1 1/4 cups.

Fruit Pizza
Make the glaze first as it has to be completely cool before you put it on the fruit. 

3/4 cup water
1-1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup unsweetened orange or pineapple juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

In a medium-sized saucepan, on medium heat,  while stirring constantly to prevent scorching, boil the glaze ingredients together until thick.  Cool and paint over fruit with a pastry brush.

2 sticks of butter or margarine
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a medium-sized bowl mix ingredients together with your clean hands.  Press dough evenly into to bottom of a pizza pan.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Crust should just start to brown. Cool completely.

One 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix together with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled crust.

Artfully arrange sliced fruit and berries over cream cheese filling.  Fruit can include: strawberries, blue berries, raspberries, grapes, kiwi, pineapple, peaches etc…

Use a pastry brush to cover fruit with glaze. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve cut into wedges or squares like you would a pizza.


One 12-ounce can of chickpeas
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, fresh
3 Tablespoons of water
Olive oil

In a food processor puree chickpeas. Add lemon juice, sesame oil, garlic and water. Pulse a couple of times to combine.

Transfer hummus to a small serving bowl.  Smooth out with knife, and add just enough olive oil to cover the surface. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Stir in oil just before serving.  Serve with pita bread triangles.

Yield: 4 servings

Vegetable Pizza

Two, 8-ounce packages of refrigerated crescent rolls. (16 count)
Two, 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix
6 cups of assorted fresh vegetables, finely chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

To make pizza crust, unroll crescent rolls, press seams together and pat into a 15-1/2 X 10-1/2 X 2 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees  for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Set aside.

The pizza filling is made by stirring together the cream cheese, mayonnaise and dry dressing mix in a small bowl. Spread filling evenly over the cooled crust.

On top of the filling sprinkle the finely chopped fresh vegetables. Vegetable options could include: broccoli, cauliflower, green, red, orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced green onion, black olives, green olives, celery or shredded carrots.  Try to pick vegetable of different colors to make pizza more colorful.

Top with the shredded cheese and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve cut into squares.

Yield: 32 appetizers.


Rhubarb Punch

6 cups of rhubarb, chopped fine
6 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
one, 6-ounce can of frozen orange juice
one, 6-ounce can of frozen lemonade
2 quarts of lemon-lime soda

Put rhubarb and 3 cups of water together and boil until rhubarb is cooked.  Strain the mixture to get the juice.  Boil the juice again with the 2 cups of sugar. Cool.

To the cool rhubarb juice mixture, add orange juice and lemonade, 3 cups of cold water and lemon-lime soda.

Serve in punch bowl with ice.

Sherbet Punch

This recipe is easy, tastes great and you can change the color of the punch by just choosing different flavors of sherbet and sliced fruit or berries.

1/2 gallon of lemon or lime sherbet.
2 quarts of Sprite
Lemon and lime slices

Fill punch bowl 3/4 full of cold Sprite. With an ice cream scoop add 1/2 of sherbet.  It will float and become foamy on top. Stir gently 3-5  times.  Add fruit slices on top of the punch bowl. Serve

Yield: Serves 24. (enough for two bowls)

Methodist Champagne

Two, 46-ounce cans of pineapple juice
1 quart ginger ale
1 quart sparkling white grape juice
Two, 6-ounce cans of frozen lemonade concentrate

Chill  pineapple juice, ginger ale, and white sparkling grape juice.  Combine chilled juices and ginger ale with thawed but cold lemonade concentrate. Stir until combined and serve in punch bowl with ice rings.

Ice Ring:
Use a ring shaped jello mold and fill 2/3 full with water.  Add colorful fruit such as cherries, blue berries,raspberries, strawberries or citrus slices.  Freeze.  Unmold and add to punch when it is time to serve.

Easy Classic Red Punch

2 large cans of Hawaiian Fruit Punch
1 quart of ginger ale
1 quart of Sprite

Mix together and serve in a punch bowl with ice.

Classic Red Punch

4 packages of orange or cherry Kool-Aid
8 quarts of water, cold
Two, 46-ounce cans of Hawaiian Punch, chilled
Two. 46-ounce cans of pineapple juice, chilled
1 can, 6-ounce frozen lemonade

In a very large container mix together punch ingredients.  After well mixed  and right before you serve add 2 quarts of ginger ale.  Add ice and serve your large crowd.
Pineapple Raspberry Punch

5 cups of pineapple juice
1 quart of raspberry cranberry juice
1 pint of raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Chill all of the ingredients.  Combine in a punch bowl with ice.

Editor’s note:  Food poisoning is a very real hazard during any potluck or party, however the heat of summer greatly increased the likelihood that you or your guests could be come very ill.  To a cancer patient such as myself with a compromised immune system, food poisoning can be deadly.  Be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.  Take extra precautions when handling raw meat or poultry.  Always wash your hands, any surface you are working on or any utensils you use when working with raw meats.

Also, remember that some of your guests may have food allergies or are on medications that require them to avoid certain foods. Nuts, shellfish and for heart patients grapefruit juice come to mind.  Know what you are serving and accurately share all of the ingredients with guests who ask for that information.  A little bit can make a person very ill and in some extreme cases food allergies and drug interactions can be deadly.

Then, too, if you are serving alcohol at your event, do not and do not let your guests drink and drive.














One thought on “Graduation Party Recipes for Meats, Beans, Appetizers and a Couple of Punches

  1. Reblogged this on The Swedish Farmer's Daughter and commented:

    It is that time of year again. I actually saw a sign for a student’s graduation party this weekend already. I hope that these recipes help make that day easier to prepare for and meet with the approval of your guests. Congratulations to all of the new graduates. May your futures be filled with bright opportunities and excellent adventures.


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