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I can hardly believe it, but my oldest son is graduating from high school in just a few short weeks. All of those things people tell you about time flying and how quickly kids grow up–it’s all true! I’ve been trying to distract myself from the reality of it all by planning a fabulous graduation party. We’ve tossed around quite a few ideas for what to serve, and a hot dog bar is at the top of our list.
I find that when I’m serving a crowd, it always works well to offer something guests can customize to their own liking. There are so many possibilities with a hot dog bar: chili, cheese, onions, pickles, peppers, relish, and of course, mustard and ketchup. You could even print up some “hot dog recipes” to help everyone create the ultimate hot dog.
These are a few of our favorite hot dog creations:
- Classic Dog: mustard, ketchup, relish and onions
- Chicago Dog: mustard, sweet pickle relish, tomato wedges, pickle spears, sport peppers (or pepperoncini), celery salt
- Tex-Mex Dog: salsa, pepper jack cheese, sliced jalapeno, chopped tomato, chopped onion
- Chili Cheese Dog: chili, cheddar cheese, chopped onions
- California Slaw Dog: mustard, slaw and beanless chili
- BBQ Dog: barbecue sauce, French fried onions, cheddar cheese
- Kansas City Reuben Dog: sauerkraut, caraway seeds, Thousand Island dressing, pastrami and melted cheese
- New York Dog: sauerkraut and mustard
If you haven’t tried New Heinz® Yellow Mustard, I highly recommend it next time you’re grilling or making sandwiches. It comes in an awesome top-down, squeeze bottle to prevent that first squirt of watered down mustard from ending up on your burger or bread. You don’t even have to shake the bottle before you use it! I have been waiting for years for someone to solve this problem!
And Heinz Yellow Mustard doesn’t sink into your bread and make it soggy. It’s a thicker mustard that sits on top, and it’s made with 100% natural ingredients (like stone ground mustard seeds) and a secret blend of spices and vinegar for the perfect balance of flavor and tang.
Along with a variety of toppings, we added some fun graduation themed decor to our party table, including these graduation cap topped sodas.
Just cut squares out of black card stock, then attach a ribbon for the tassel. We chose blue, since blue and white are my son’s school colors, but you can easily customize colors for your own party. You might even find soda in coordinating colors! I removed the tops from some brads and attached those to the top for a finishing touch.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without dessert! Another trick I use when serving a crowd is individual sized desserts, and these Mini Mason Jar Pies go perfectly with a backyard, summertime grilling theme.
They are so easy to make, and you can use any flavor of pie filling. Our favorite flavor is apple. You can even mix pie fillings together for unique flavors. Just fill small Mason jars about 3/4 full with filling, then top with a round of refrigerated pie crust. The ring from the jar lid makes a perfect pie crust cutter!
And you can easily attach a little tag to each jar to go with the theme of your party. There are tons of free graduation themed printables online, or you can make your own, like I did. If you’d like to use mine, you can download it here. I used a 2-inch circle punch to cut out the tags.
Mini Mason Jar Pies
- 10 (4 oz.) Mason jars
- 2 (20 oz.) cans pie filling, any flavor
- 1 refrigerated pie crust
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease the Mason jars and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill jars about 3/4 full of pie filling.
- Unroll pie crust onto a lightly floured surface. Use the ring from the Mason jar lid to cut 10 circles from the crust.
- Gently press each circle over the pie filling in the jar, pressing the edges of the crust against the edges of the jar.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
- Note: Pies may bubble up and over a bit during baking, but then settle back into the jars as they cool.
I found plenty of craft supplies and decorations for our graduation party at Walmart, including these adorable easels, graduation themed stickers, paper straws, and chalkboards–which I thought were perfect for an end-of-school celebration!
I also picked up the new Heinz Yellow Mustard while I was there. It’s right beside the Heinz Ketchup, so you can’t miss it! We pack three school lunches every day, and I never seem to have enough mustard handy for all of those sandwiches.
My kids loved trying all of the “fancy” hot dog toppings at our hot dog bar, so I know it will be a hit with all of the guests at our graduation party. A hot dog bar is also a great idea for Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day or any of your summer celebrations.
Of course, I won’t always have so many options when we grill hot dogs and hamburgers for our own family, but we’ll definitely always have Heinz Yellow Mustard and Heinz Ketchup available. And if you’re craving something besides hot dogs, check out KetchupsNewMustard.com for some great recipe inspiration.
Now, if I can just get over the fact that my child is graduation from high school, it’s going to be a great summer!