Graduation parties combine potentially—and sometimes unpredictably—large groups and the outdoor informality of al fresco dining. Regardless of whether you're planning a commencement-day event or a midday get-together on the day after an evening ceremony, crafting a menu that matches well with both the season and the occasion can earn you high marks as host and chef. Make your kitchen appliances your preparation partners to create a casual feast that honors the occasion.
Idea #1: Marinated Treats
Graduation season's warm weather makes it an ideal time to serve cool marinated treats. Your refrigerator's flexible storage features can simplify marinades. A refrigerator with a dual-purpose compartment that can switch from frozen to refrigerated storage holds salad containers while they marinate or when they're ready to serve. Not sure what to make? A touchscreen refrigerator with wireless Internet access helps you research recipes, ingredients and substitutions.
Idea #2: Dessert Specialties
Your range can give you precise control in a large oven cavity that features true convection baking and touchscreen input of specific temperatures. If you're planning a graduation cake, convection accommodates multiple pans simultaneously, turning out three or more layers in a single baking session. Use candies and filling to make your baked goods look like diplomas or mortarboards, allowing them to double as decorations until your guests devour them.
Idea #3: Oven Delights
Along with dessert baking, your oven can produce tempting finger-food dishes. If your range includes the flexibility of a split oven cavity, capable of operating at different temperatures in each half and preparing two dishes at the same time, you can turn out miniature pizzas in one section while the other melts cheeses on hot sandwiches. Because a split-oven design keeps both halves truly separate, the enticing aromas from your individual dishes won't affect each other.
Idea #4: Last-Minute Lifesavers
Even a specified number of RSVPs may not give you an accurate count for the number of mouths you need to feed at your party. Rely on your microwave oven for enough popcorn to keep bowls full, and for added beverage options, a refrigerator with through-the-door service of carbonated water can provide the basis for a make-your-own soda bar (complete with flavorings to spoon into individual glasses).
Photo Credits: Kate Van Vleck/Demand Media
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