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Congratulations Class of 2017!
by cr-admin May 31, 2017

By Maureen Rowan Murphy, Manager, Consumer Trends, Nutrition and Lifestyles

 Whether you are planning a small get-together or a large party for that special graduate, here are some tips to help make it memorable.

Party Planning

  • Order rental equipment, including tent, chafing dishes, tables, chairs, etc.
  • Plan menu and beverages. Keep it simple, with five to seven menu items.
  • Develop a master shopping list. Don’t forget paper products, sterno, thank-you notes, etc.
  • Shop for items that can be purchased ahead.
  • Prepare and freeze what can be made in advance
  • Order prepared food/party trays/cake/balloons and/or flowers.
  • Develop a food preparation schedule

Do as Much as Possible a Day or Two Ahead

  • Prepare dips, spreads, etc.
  • Purchase fresh items and extra ice.
  • Chop, premix and premeasure, when possible.
  • Set up serving areas and set out serving pieces/utensils, etc.
  • Set up beverage area. To minimize the spread of germs, consider disposable cups, with guests’ names on their cups.
  • Chill beverages.

Day of the Party

  • Prepare and arrange remaining food.
  • Make up several small trays of the same food, instead of one large one, since they are easier to store. Also, fresh, full trays look more appealing.
  • Pick up prepared food/party trays.
  • Add finishing touches to make-ahead recipes.
  • Post a list of food and check off, so nothing is forgotten.

Cooking for a Crowd

Quantity cooking may not simply be doubling or tripling a recipe. Unless you have tried it before, it may be best to cook two, three or more batches, rather than double it. You may want to look online for recipes specifically for quantity cooking.

Healthy Modifications

  • Substitute plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream for regular sour cream in dips.
  • Serve veggies, pretzels, or baked pita chips for dipping, instead of potato chips.
  • Have water or diet soda available, as well as higher-calorie and sugar beverages, like alcohol, soda or juice
  • Serve a veggie or fruit tray, instead of a cheese tray.
  • Serve lean deli meats, like turkey, avoid the mayo and top with veggies when making or ordering subs.

Please remember to both serve and drink alcohol responsibly. Do not serve alcohol to minors, and closely supervise high-school graduation parties to prevent alcohol from being brought into the party. A joyous celebration can turn into a tragedy when underage drinking is involved. Even if no one gets injured, adults that provide alcohol to minors can face stiff penalties and jail time. It is also important to encourage responsible drinking among legal-age guests. Never allow anyone who appears to have had too much to drink to get behind the wheel and drive!

Food Safety

Use chafing dishes, warming trays or buffet servers to keep hot foods hot. Use coolers, tubs or kiddie pools filled with ice for cold foods. Be careful about keeping foods out for a long period of time without keeping them properly chilled or heated. Perishable food must be refrigerated within one hour in hot weather (above 90° F), and within two hours, if temperatures are below 90° F. Discard food left out longer than this.

Be sure to hug your graduate and let her or him know how proud you are!

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LiveSmart supports the Classroom Enrichment Fund at the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and is made possible by donations from St. Peter’s Health Partners and Price Chopper, with promotional services provided by the Times Union and WNYT/NewsChannel 13. LiveSmart is compiled by Helen Susan Edelman, Project Director. This project ensures 70,000 students and teachers in the Capital Region have equal access to news content during the school year.