Updated: 05/24/2017 3:36 PM | Print Story |  Email

Cooking for a Grad Party

Rob Barrett from Cooking For Dads thinks it's crazy how people who have never cooked for crowd need to feed potentially hundreds of people for a graduation party. So he stopped by the TCL kitchen with advice from his own experiences with grad parties (including one that ended with a trip to the hospital!) along with great recipes for a crowd.

Rob's ideas and advice are below:

Top Ten Tips for a Successful Graduation Open House

1. Get help. Offer to help someone else if they will help you. Don’t be the one in charge of the food on the day of the event.
2. Have most things made ahead of time. Only have one thing made fresh on the big day.
3. As hard as it is, don’t try and out do everyone else. There’s a lot of pressure but do what you can do. Everyone will love it.
4. If you’re going to just do desserts, say so in the invitation. No one wants hungry guests.
5. If you’re bringing in catered food, avoid deep fried items, they don’t travel well. i.e. Rasin’ Canes Chicken Fingers.
6. Reserve tables chairs and tents a couple months ahead.
7. Where the food is, that’s where the people will be. so plan accordingly
8. Have a rain plan. This is Minnesota. 50% chance it will rain on your day.
9. Consider non-weekend nights. like a Tuesday or Thursday. Weekends in June and get complicated.
10. Consider alternatives to pulled pork. It’s very daunting to cook for 200 people.
Try a few of these simple recipes.
 
These are what we did for our open houses.
 
Graduation Open House Sesame Chicken
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 large bag of frozen Kirkland chicken tenders
  • 1 bottle sesame dressing (Litehouse Sesame Dressing)
  • Peanut Sauce, teriyaki sauce or Ranch dressing. (either make or Buy)
Directions:
 
1. 2 days ahead of event, let chicken thaw for a few hours on the counter top. Then place in refrigerator.
2. Once thawed, the day before pour one bottle of sesame salad dressing over chicken and then add one half of the same bottle filled with water. Seal and replace in refrigerator.
3. Layout sauces and a crock pot for the meat.
4. Have a friend grill them up during the day, the smell alone will put a smile on your guests’ faces.
5. Count on 2 per person average. Each bag hold about 45 - 50 tenders so 1 bag per every 25 people.
 
Graduation Burger Bar
 
Ingredients:
  • ground beef, 85% lean to 15% fat. 1 lb per person. (Costo’s is 88% lean, 12% fat which is fine)
  • buns, 
  • condiments
Directions:
 
1. using 1/2 cup measuring cup, fill that cup with beef and then smash down into a patty on top of a spatula. 
2. season with pepper and salt. You can also add some of your favorite seasoned salt like Chicago Steak seasoning if you’d like.
3. Like a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the patties in a layer one patty thick. Then add more parchment paper and repeat.
4. Average 1 patty per person expected.
5. Store in refrigerator for one day.
6. Have your helper grill them up on the day as needed and store in crock pot to keep warm.
7. Layout buns and condiments.
8. Enjoy that Grad.