The Scoop on Food

The Perfect Kid-Friendly Recipe for Your Graduation Party

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If your child attends any kind of educational institution you are probably well aware that this is graduation season. From pre-schools to universities, commencement ceremonies are popping up left and right and are a ton of fun to attend if you know a graduate or two. And, of course, like any formal ceremony there is usually an informal party to attend after the event.

Since parents of the grad rarely have time to prepare an entire party from scratch while tending to their student, it's nice to offer to bring something to the party to help out. Your offer will be gratefully accepted and you, the friend, will feel good about easing the work load of the proud parent.

When I bring something to a graduation party, or throw one of my own, I always make this delicious tortellini salad. The sharp pesto and bright tomatoes showcase the emerging flavors of the season. Plus, it is easy to make ahead and everyone loves it--most kids included. I've never seen any leftovers!

This recipe comes from my new cookbook, The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year. In it there is a whole chapter on graduation parties in case you need more ideas for throwing your own!

Tortellini Caprese

Tortellini Caprese Salad

Makes 4 to 6 servings

24 ounces fresh cheese tortellini

½ cup pesto (homemade or store-bought)

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

  1. Cook the tortellini according to the package instructions and drain well. Return it to the pot and stir in the pesto until the tortellini is evenly coated.
  2. Pour the tortellini into a large serving bowl and toss with the tomatoes, mozzarella, and pine nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Kelsey Banfield, a.k.a. The Naptime Chef, is the author of The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year. In it you'll find all sorts of edible crafts, menus for festive occasions, and tips for your family garden. Follow Kelsey on Twitter.

Fruit Nachos

Young graduate image via Shutterstock Tortellini image courtesy of Kelsey Banfield