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Make-Ahead Graduation Party Food

Take the last-minute hassle out of your party planning by spreading out the work the week before your event. These super easy make-ahead recipes are the perfect plan for graduation party food!

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Antipasto KabobsTaste of Home

Antipasto Kabobs

My husband and I met at a cooking class. We have loved creating menus and entertaining ever since. These make-ahead antipasto skewers are always a hit. —Denise Hazen, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Strawberry Pretzel DessertTaste of Home

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

Need to bring a dish to pass this weekend? This make-ahead strawberry pretzel salad will disappear quickly at any potluck. —Aldene Belch, Flint, Michigan

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Zucchini Pizza CasseroleTaste of Home

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

I grow zucchini by the bushel, so this pizza casserole is one of my dinnertime go-to's. My hungry husband and kids gobble it right up. —Lynn Bernstetter, White Bear Lake, Minnesota

 

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Fiesta PinwheelsTaste of Home

Fiesta Pinwheels

Whenever I serve this make-ahead, easy pinwheel recipe, they disappear fast. When a friend at the office shared them with me, I knew in one bite I'd be taking her Mexican pinwheels home for the holidays. —Diane Martin, Brown Deer, Wisconsin

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Mushroom Asparagus QuicheTaste of Home

Mushroom Asparagus Quiche

Loads of asparagus pieces add color and flavor to this hearty, creamy quiche. And its easy crescent roll crust means you'll have dinner ready in a snap! —Sharon A. Fujita, Fontana, California

 

 

 

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Almond Cheddar AppetizersTaste of Home

Almond Cheddar Appetizers

I always try to have a supply of these appetizers on hand in the freezer. If guests drop in, I just pull some out and reheat to serve. They work great as a snack, for brunch or along with a lighter lunch. —Linda Thompson, Southampton, Ontario

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Meat Loaf MiniaturesTaste of Home

Meat Loaf Miniatures

My family and I can't get enough of these little muffins topped with a sweet ketchup sauce. They are the perfect portion size. This recipe requires no chopping, so it's quick and easy to make a double batch and have extras for another day. They're great to give to new moms, too. —Joyce Wegmann, Burlington, Iowa

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Zucchini-Chocolate Chip MuffinsTaste of Home

Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Whenever I make these muffins, I freeze several. As I'm leaving for work in the morning, I pull one out and enjoy it at the office with a cup of coffee. —Janet Pierce DeCori, Rockton, Illinois

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Peanut Butter Custard BlastTaste of Home

Peanut Butter Custard Blast

"Ooey, gooey, great!" is how friends and family describe this chocolate-peanut butter dessert. I appreciate the make-ahead convenience. —Marilee Evenson, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

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Chicken Crescent WreathTaste of Home

Chicken Crescent Wreath

Here's an impressive-looking dish that's a snap to prepare. Even when my cooking time is limited, I can still serve this delicious crescent wreath. The red pepper and green broccoli add a festive touch. —Marlene Denissen, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin

 

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White Chocolate Macadamia CookiesTaste of Home

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

White baking chips and macadamia nuts are a fantastic duo in these buttery cookies. They are a nice change from the classic chocolate chip ones. —Cathy Lennon, Newport, Tennessee

 

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Orange Gelatin Pretzel SaladTaste of Home

Orange Gelatin Pretzel Salad

Salty pretzels pair nicely with the sweet fruit in this refreshing layered salad. It’s a family favorite that is a slam-dunk at potlucks. —Peggy Boyd, Northport, Alabama

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Loaded Potato SaladTaste of Home

Loaded Potato Salad

Get a load of this: sour cream, bacon, shredded cheddar, green onions and more come together to give you all the richness of restaurant potato skins at your next picnic. —Monique Boulanger, Greenwood, Nova Scotia

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Calzone PinwheelsTaste of Home

Calzone Pinwheels

Once you try these mini-sized calzones, you may never go back to the large ones. Not only do these pretty bites take advantage of convenient refrigerator crescent rolls, but they can be made ahead and popped in the oven right before company arrives. No one can eat just one and people love the cheesy, fresh taste! —Lisa Smith, Bryan, Ohio

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Caramel Pecan Ice Cream DessertTaste of Home

Caramel Pecan Ice Cream Dessert

My mother passed this old-time recipe on to me because she knew I'd want to make it. I love desserts—especially this one! —Mary Wright, Morriston, Ontario

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Soft Beer PretzelsTaste of Home

Soft Beer Pretzels

I'm always looking for new ways to combine fun flavors, and what goes together better than beer and pretzels? Not much that I can think of. That’s why I put them together into one delicious recipe. —Alyssa Wilhite, Whitehouse, Texas

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Iced Raspberry TeaTaste of Home

Iced Raspberry Tea

Frozen raspberries lend fruity flavor and lovely color to this pretty iced tea that's good year-round. The recipe calls for just a few common ingredients and offers make-ahead convenience. —Lois McGrady, Hillsville, Virginia

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Make-Ahead Sausage PinwheelsTaste of Home

Make-Ahead Sausage Pinwheels

Filled with sausage, sweet pepper and cream cheese, these roll-ups are excellent for unexpected visitors, a cocktail party or a halftime snack. Besides being easy to make, they can be done way ahead and kept in the freezer. All you have to do is pop them into a hot oven! —Cindy Nerat, Menominee, Michigan

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Broccoli Salad SupremeTaste of Home

Broccoli Salad Supreme

People can't get enough of the sweet grapes and crunchy broccoli in this colorful salad. I appreciate its make-ahead convenience. —Terri Twyman, Bonanza, Oregon

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Orange Banana Nut BreadTaste of Home

Orange Banana Nut Bread

I like this recipe because the orange juice gives the nut bread such a bright flavor and also makes it moist. —Barbara Roethlisberger, Shepherd, Michigan

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Cayenne PretzelsTaste of Home

Cayenne Pretzels

These spicy pretzels were a huge hit at my daughter's graduation party. The longer they sit, the spicier they get! —Gayle Zebo, Warren, Pennsylvania

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Classic Crab CakesTaste of Home

Classic Crab Cakes

Our region is known for good seafood, and crab cakes are a traditional favorite. I learned to make them from a chef in a restaurant where they were a best-seller. The crabmeat's sweet and mild flavor is sparked by the blend of other ingredients. —Debbie Terenzini, Lusby, Maryland

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Frosty Peanut Butter PieTaste of Home

Frosty Peanut Butter Pie

With only a handful of ingredients, this peanut butter pie promises to deliver well-deserved compliments. Whenever I bring this creamy, make-ahead pie to get-togethers, I'm asked for the recipe. —Christi Gillentine, Tulsa, Oklahoma

 

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Deli-Style Pasta SaladTaste of Home

Deli-Style Pasta Salad

Pasta provides a base for this tongue-tingling make-ahead salad. It has lots of fresh and satisfying ingredients topped with a flavorful dressing. This pasta salad is terrific to serve to company or take to a potluck. — Joyce McLennan, Algonac, Michigan

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Chocolate Raspberry BarsTaste of Home

Chocolate Raspberry Bars

My family loves these rich, sweet bars. The chocolate and raspberry jam go together so well. I make a lot of cookies and bars, but these special treats are my favorite. They're so pretty served on a platter. -Kathy Smedstad, Silverton, Oregon

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Tropical Muffins

Tropical Muffins

I entered these muffins at our county fair and won the grand champion award for baked goods. They're so moist, they don't need butter. —Sylvia Osborn, Clay Center, Kansas

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Crispy Baked WontonsTaste of Home

Crispy Baked Wontons

These quick, versatile wontons are great for a savory snack or paired with a bowl of soothing soup on a cold day. I usually make a large batch, freeze half on a floured baking sheet, then store in an airtight container. —Brianna Shade, Beaverton, Oregon

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Double Chocolate Almond CheesecakeTaste of Home

Double Chocolate Almond Cheesecake

This cheesecake is easy to make—but it's definitely not easy to wait till the next day to eat it! The recipe is from a friend I used to work with. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon

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Scalloped TatersTaste of Home

Scalloped Taters

This creamy and comforting slow-cooked side tastes great with almost any main dish and is a snap to assemble with convenient frozen hash browns. It's a good way to make potatoes when your oven is busy with other dishes. —Lucinda Wolker, Somerset, Pennsylvania

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Turkey Focaccia ClubTaste of Home

Turkey Focaccia Club

My family thinks this sandwich is pure heaven, thanks to the cranberry-pecan mayo. It's so good, they ask me to make it all year long. —Judy Wilson, Sun City West, Arizona

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Layered Brownie DessertTaste of Home

Layered Brownie Dessert

A tasty brownie is the base for layers of cream cheese and chocolate pudding in this make-ahead dessert. —Muriel Ledeboer, Oostburg, Wisconsin

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Bacon Cream Cheese PinwheelsTaste of Home

Bacon Cream Cheese Pinwheels

It's hard to resist a crescent roll, bacon and cream cheese in one bite! Kids, friends, everyone will scarf these cream cheese pinwheels down. Now I bake a double batch whenever we have a get-together. —Krista Munson, Sharpsburg, Kentucky

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Breakfast Sausage BreadTaste of Home

Breakfast Sausage Bread

Any time we take this savory, satisfying bread to a potluck, it goes over very well. We never bring any home. My husband generally makes this bread and prides himself on the beautiful golden loaves. -Shirley Caldwell, Northwood, Ohio

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Muffin-Tin LasagnasTaste of Home

Muffin-Tin Lasagnas

This is a super fun way to serve lasagna for make-ahead lunches, potlucks or other fun get-togethers. My daughter took some of these to work and by noon was emailing me for the recipe. —Sally Kilkenny, Granger, Iowa

 

 

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Pasta Salad in a JarTaste of Home

Pasta Salad in a Jar

If you're planning a picnic, make this pasta a day ahead. For my husband's lunch at work, I sometimes tie a plastic fork on the jar. —Pat Neiheisel, Leetonia, Ohio

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Cornflake-Coated Crispy BaconTaste of Home

Cornflake-Coated Crispy Bacon

I've loved my aunt's crispy coated bacon ever since I was a child. Now I've shared the super simple recipe with my own children. We still enjoy a big panful every Christmas morning—and on many other days throughout the year! —Brenda Severson, Norman, Oklahoma

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Mini Grilled CheeseTaste of Home

Mini Grilled Cheese

If you're looking for a fantastic make-ahead snack, try these miniature grilled cheese sandwiches. They're nice to have in the freezer for lunch with soup or a salad. My family loves to nibble on them anytime. —Anita Curtis, Camarillo, California

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Honey Cinnamon RollupsTaste of Home

Honey Cinnamon Rollups

This cinnamony treat reminds me of baklava, but with only a few easy ingredients, it's a fraction of the work. My Aunt Adele shared the recipe with me, and I think of her whenever I make it. —Sue Falk, Warren, Michigan

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Island Breezes Coffee CakeTaste of Home

Island Breezes Coffee Cake

With the island flavors, this simple pull-apart bread is perfect for a spring brunch. —Debra Goforth, Newport, Tennessee

 

 

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Chive Pinwheel RollsTaste of Home

Chive Pinwheel Rolls

These light, pleasant-tasting rolls complement almost any entree. With the chive filling swirled through the golden bread, they're attractive enough for special occasions. —Ann Niemela, Ely, Minnesota

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Rosemary FlatbreadsTaste of Home

Rosemary Flatbreads

My family loves this as a pizza crust. But with a touch of olive oil and fresh herbs it makes a lovely flatbread appetizer. —Sue Brown, West Bend, Wisconsin

 

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Crispy Sriracha Spring RollsTaste of Home

Crispy Sriracha Spring Rolls

While in the Bahamas, friends suggested a restaurant that served amazing chicken spring rolls. When I got home, I created my own version. Such a great appetizer to have waiting in the freezer! —Carla Mendres, Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Deluxe Hash Brown CasseroleTaste of Home

Deluxe Hash Brown Casserole

My son-in-law gave me the recipe for this hash brown casserole, which my kids say is addictive. It's an amazing make-ahead dish.—Amy Oswalt, Burr, Nebraska

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Cuban Ropa ViejaTaste of Home

Cuban Ropa Vieja

I love having this as a go-to recipe for a weeknight meal. Its great authentic Cuban taste puts it at the top of my list.—Melissa Pelkey-Hass, Waleska, Georgia

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Tomato & Artichoke BruschettaTaste of Home

Tomato & Artichoke Bruschetta

A healthy and refreshing appetizer, I enjoy bruschetta anytime of year. For serving guests, I like to slice the garlic instead of chopping it for both beauty and flavor infusion. This is also a simple make-ahead dish: You can mix it up, cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.—Gina Bergamino, Chanhassen, Minnesota

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Seasoned Turkey SandwichesTaste of Home

Seasoned Turkey Sandwiches

This savory turkey tucked in homemade buns steals the show at any potluck or family reunion. It’s been a huge hit at football dinners, graduation parties and more. I like to add tomato and lettuce for crunch and color. —LaVonne Hegland, St. Michael, Minnesota

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Italian Pinwheel RollsTaste of Home

Italian Pinwheel Rolls

An enticing combination of Parmesan cheese, oregano and garlic makes these buttery rolls impossible to resist. The aroma that wafts through the house while they are baking is incredible. —Patricia FitzGerald, Candor, New York

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Sonoran Sunset Watermelon IceTaste of Home

Sonoran Sunset Watermelon Ice

If you didn’t think watermelon and cilantro could go together in a dessert, this recipe will give you a pleasant surprise! Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and a sprig of cilantro on top for extra flair. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota

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Peanut Butter Cheesecake Ice CreamTaste of Home

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Ice Cream

Want something cool and refreshing after your holiday feast? Serve generous slices of a rich, frosty dessert featuring peanuts, cookies and drizzled ice cream toppings.—TerryAnn Moore, Vineland, New Jersey

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Mediterranean Pastry PinwheelsTaste of Home

Mediterranean Pastry Pinwheels

These quick appetizers are irresistible. The flavors of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto balance beautifully. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York

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Sicilian Overstuffed Sandwich WedgesTaste of Home

Sicilian Overstuffed Sandwich Wedges

For a casual holiday lunch or supper, you'll have a guaranteed winner with this stacked-high, Italian-style sandwich. I like the convenience of assembling it a day in advance. —Pat Powell, Wooster, Ohio

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White Chocolate Cranberry-Orange BarsTaste of Home

White Chocolate Cranberry-Orange Bars

This is my take on my mother's recipe for chocolate chunk bars, which she made every Christmas Eve. Our family is scattered across the country now; making these reminds me of home. If you don't have a pastry cutter, you can use two sharp knifes or a potato masher. My mom makes this with semisweet chocolate chunks. —Erin Powell, Amarillo, Texas

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Blueberry Cantaloupe SaladTaste of Home

Blueberry Cantaloupe Salad

The simple citrus and poppy seed dressing in this fruit medley really dresses up the refreshing mix of berries and melon. —R. Jean Rand, Edina, Minnesota

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Easy Microwave Mint FudgeTaste of Home

Easy Microwave Mint Fudge

I make these creamy, smooth squares not only for Christmas, but also for Valentine's Day. This easy microwave fudge is just as good as any you'd buy in a confectionery. —Donna Roberts, Manhattan, Kansas

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Coffee Cake Muffin MixTaste of Home

Coffee Cake Muffin Mix

Our local home-school group has an annual Christmas craft breakfast. Forty children signed up to come to my table and make this mix. It was so rewarding to see their excitement as they created a special gift to give. —Tamera Serafin, New Windsor, Maryland

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Tres Leches CupcakesTaste of Home

Tres Leches Cupcakes

This cupcake version of tres leches cake actually uses four types of milk, plus cream, but quatro leches cake just doesn’t have the same delicious ring to it. If you love dairy, you won’t be disappointed with this special take on the classic.

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Ham & Brie PastriesTaste of Home

Ham & Brie Pastries

Growing up, I loved pocket pastries. Now, with a busy family, I need quick bites. My spin on the classic ham and cheese delivers as a snack or for supper. —Jennifer Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California

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