Well, the graduation party was a lot of work, but turned out great. The kids really didn't eat, but there were about 20 adults. Thanks to those who answered my questions when I asked for help. These were some of the more popular food items.
2 28-oz cans any flavor Bush baked beans
2 15-oz cans butter beans (drained)
1 15-oz can kidney beans (drained)
1 lb. cooked ground beef
several strips of cooked bacon
1 chopped onion
1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup brown sugar (more if you like)
I just mixed everything together and put it in a 5-qt. crockpot on low for three hours. I turned it off and it still stayed hot a few more hours. This is enough for a big crowd. Everyone liked them, but there were still a lot left over. Cut the recipe in half if you're not feeding a big group.
Layered from bottom to top on a large glass platter:
15-oz can refried beans
1 jar salsa
24-oz sour cream
shredded taco (or cheddar) cheese to cover
(if desired) chopped tomato/olive on top for garnish
Everyone loved this.
Prepacked meatballs or your favorite recipe (we made ours)
1 12-oz bottle chili sauce
about half of a 32-oz jar grape jelly
I cooked the meatballs through first. Then I mixed up the sauce, adding more jelly to taste. I put it all in a crockpot on low for three hours. I have seen this recipe a number of times on websites and it gets good reviews. When hot, the sauce does thin out quite a bit, but it is very tasty!
1 24-oz container sour cream
2 3-oz pkg. strawberry gelatin
1 8-oz container strawberry Cool Whip
1 quart sliced fresh strawberries (or frozen if you like)
Simply empty the container of sour cream in a large bowl. Empty the packages of gelatin into the sour cream and stir until no longer grainy. Then fold in the strawberries and Cool Whip.
This had a delicious strawberry flavor and a beautiful pink color. (Someone said they were going to make it for a baby girl baby shower.)
I have also made similar desserts in a smaller portion using a 16-oz container of sour cream and one package of gelatin. I have made this using peach gelatin with fresh peaches and regular Cool Whip. I have also made it with orange gelatin, mandarin oranges and regular Cool Whip.
It takes five minutes to put together and is sooo good!
1 6-oz can frozen Minute Maid lime juice (or lime-aid)
I never buy frozen juice so I'm not positive about the size, but I know it wasn't the smallest can
1 64-oz carton Dole pineapple juice
1 2-liter bottle Sierra Mist
1 quart lime sherbet
I emptied the lime juice in a punch bowl and added 2-3 cans of water and stirred it up with the pineapple juice (taste it to see how much water you want). Then I slowly added the bottle of Sierra Mist and spooned in the sherbet. I had sliced limes in it for garnish.
I have never made punch and actually thought this up myself. OMG, the people went crazy for it! That group of people only drank three 2-liter bottles of pop (and those were people who had to drink diet pop). Everyone wanted the punch. It had a beautiful green color and was sooo refreshing!
As for the cake, it took me so long to decide whether to get a quarter sheet or half sheet cake. I decided to go with the quarter sheet. We also had mini eclairs, brownies, and lemon bars. When everyone was done eating, only two pieces of cut had been eaten! Everyone wanted the finger pastries. I'm so glad I didn't get the half sheet! We kept trying to get people to take some home.
I appreciate those who answered my questions on this board, so I thought I'd share.