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Plan your graduation party with easy ideas and recipes to feed a crowd

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Graduation season has begun at colleges and high schools across the country. If there's a graduate in your family, appetizers may be on the menu for your teen's graduation party.

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Find ideas for decorating, recipes and graduation party planning at Pinterest. Whether you're serving a crowd or just your extended family, appetizers are a great way to serve a lot of people without spending a fortune.

For the party, set up a table with cake and photos of the graduate. Add framed awards or certificates your child has received and a balloon bouquet or flowers in your child's school colors.

Hang streamers and photos of your child from kindergarten through high school age from the ceiling. You can also create a digital slideshow of photos to play on the computer or TV screen during the party.

Start with appetizers, then add baskets of chips with dip, cheeseball and crackers, and your favorite potato, pasta or macaroni salads. Whether you purchase a graduation cake or make your own, use your child's school colors as your theme. These appetizer recipes will help make your party planning easier.

Individual Seven Layer Taco Dips

Mix one 16 ounce can of refried beans with 4 ounces of sour cream. Spoon mix evenly into nine ounce wide plastic cups, using a large spoonful in each cup. Layer with one tablespoon each of additional sour cream, guacamole if desired, and salsa, spreading each layer to the edges of the cup with a spoon. Add a tablespoon each of grated cheese and canned diced tomatoes, and top with a few canned green chilis. Additional toppings you can add if desired are black olives, chopped scallions, or lettuce. You can also replace the canned tomatoes with finely diced freshed tomatoes. Serve with baskets of tortilla chips. Makes 15 individual servings.

Crockpot Meatballs

Mix one 12 ounce jar of chili sauce with 12 ounces of grape jelly or jam in pan over low heat until jelly is melted. Fill crockpot with a large bag of thawed or frozen meatballs. Pour sauce over meatballs. Cook on low heat for 3-4 hours for thawed or 6-8 hours for frozen meatballs or on high for 2-3 hours for thawed or 4-6 hours for frozen.

Mini Meatball Subs

Heat a bag of meatballs in a jar or can of spaghetti sauce until warmed through. Keep warm in a crockpot or chafing dish and serve with Parker House party rolls and grated cheddar cheese.

BBQ Cocktail Franks

Place two bags of cocktail franks in crockpot and add one jar of your favorite barbecue sauce. Heat on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.

Pork BBQ Mini Sliders

Brown a half pork tenderloin on all sides over medium heat. Place pork into crockpot, add one jar of barbecue sauce and cook over low heat for 6-8 hours. Mash pork with a potato masher and cook an additional 1-2 hours. Keep warm in crockpot or chafing dish and serve with Parker House party rolls.

Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups

Brown one pound of hamburger until done. Add one can of sloppy joe mix and stir. Using Grand's canned biscuits, place one biscuit into each ungreased muffin cup, pressing dough into bottom and up sides of cup. Spoon 1/3 cup of sloppy joe mix into each cup. Add 1 tablespoon shreed cheese. Bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes and serve hot.

Pizza Croissant Rollups

Roll out canned croissant dough into triangles. Place one teaspoon canned pizza sauce on each triangle. Top with 1/3 of a mozzarella cheese stick. If desired, add a slice of pepperoni between sauce and cheese. Roll up triangles, starting at long end. Seal edges and bake 10-15 minutes at 350 until browned.

Rotel Cheese Dip

Cube one small block or half of a large block of any variety of Velveeta cheese food and place into small crock pot. Add one can of any variety of Rotel tomatoes and peppers. Heat on low for 2-3 hours or high for 1-2 hours until cheese is melted. Keep warm and serve with dipping tortilla chips.

Mexican Roll Ups

Mix 4 ounces of softened cream cheese with one can of refried beans. Spread flour tortillas with mixture. Sprinkle with grated cheese and cover with lettuce leaves. Roll tortillas up and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Unwrap and slice into thirds. Serve with salsa for dipping.

Cold Cut and Cheese Tray

Fold slices of your favorite cold cuts into half, then pleat into an S shape and secure with toothpicks. If desired, spread first with cheese spread. Serve on a tray with cubes of cheese on a bed of lettuce with assorted crackers.

Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Heat up large cans of tomato or your favorite soup or make from scratch. Keep warm in crockpot and serve in small plastic cups with triangles of grilled cheese sandwiches.

Fruit Cups

Spoon frozen mixed fruit into individual plastic cups or cut fresh fruit into chunks or cubes and serve in small plastic cups.

Rainbow Fruit Skewers

Using wooden skewers, make rainbow skewers by skewering one red grape, two large blueberries, 1" chunks of kiwi, orange segment, and a large raspberry onto each skewer. Serve on a platter.

Easy Tassle Cookies

Use frosting to connect chocolate peanut butter cups to the bottoms of chocolate-covered graham crackers. Attach mini M&Ms to the tops of each cookie with icing in your teen's school colors, adding an icing tassel to each.

To decorate the outside of the house, use sidewalk chalk to write messages to the graduate on your sidewalk, driveway, or street. Hang school color balloons on your mailbox or front porch.

Graduation is a big accomplishment in your teen's life. Celebrate your teen's school days and remember the special times with a great graduation party.

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