Make your own free website on
4th of July Celebration

Pre-Prom Dinner Party

Pre-prom dinner at your house? Why not! The prom-goers do all the work, including the housecleaning! You get to sit back, keep tabs on what goes on, take pictures and enjoy the memories for years to come! Who knows? There may even be dinner leftovers to enjoy!

While the prom-goers can save money, play their favorite music, have more time and space than they'd have at a restaurant and be able to customize the fun and decorations, it's up to you to set the rules. The work is all theirs and their friends', right down to the cleanup!

Horizontal Divider 20

Great Ideas to Make It Special!

As parent, schedule a planning meeting with the prom-goers. Decide what your role will be, if other parents will be involved and how much the teens realistically can take on. Dad can dress and play the part of waiter. Younger siblings can be paid or bartered with for waiting tables or cleanup. Write a master plan for when each teen will help, from pre-party cleaning, grocery shopping and food preparation to after-dinner cleanup. Have the teens make a budget for food and decorations.

Memory Makers

Center activities of this pre-prom event around creating memories.

Buy standard photo mats (one for each prom-goer) that can be used for prom photos (or ask everyone to bring one); have prom-goers sign the mat or offer a message, as well.

Create simple memory/autograph books with folded 8 1/2x11-inch paper. Punch holes in the fold, and tie pages together with school-colored ribbons. Fill the books with autographs at the pre-prom party as well as the larger prom event.

Place disposable cameras on tables to record the event. With a one-hour photo stop, you can have photos to place in memory books or photo mats before evening's end. An instant camera works well, too.

Record dinner and pre-prom party activities with a video camera.

Play CDs of favorites during the event. Have a "techy" in your group burn CDs of favorite music for each prom-goer. Label and date the CD mementos with the prom party details.

Party Decorations

For the party room:

School colors rule! White tablecloths created from bargain white sheets make a great background for school pom-poms and colored curly ribbons. School yearbooks, trophies and special-event photos can be grouped on tables for centerpieces.

Create a special area for taking couple and group posed photos.

For the dining area:

Make Chocolate Truffles Topiary for a centerpiece. It also doubles for a sweet ending to the meal. Use school colors for the ribbons. Fill the base with school-colored candies for a colorful alternative to the fresh fruit.

Deck dining tables with white or solid-colored bargain sheets. Roll napkins around silverware, and tie with ribbons in school colors.

Light the dining area with twinkle lights and candles.

Place a tuxedo bib at each place setting. Make them out of lobster bibs or inexpensive cloth, and decorate with markers or stickers. The idea is that everyone gets a goofy bib to ensure the prom clothes are spotless when the teens leave for the bigger event.

Time-Savers for Teen Hosts

Short on time? Check out these purchase-power options. The meal still will be less expensive than dining out.

Skip the mushroom appetizer, and serve just deli veggies with purchased dip.

Pick up bread from a bakery, bread store or supermarket.

Buy a dessert from a deli or supermarket. Dress up dessert plates by sprinkling with baking cocoa or drizzling with caramel sauce or raspberry syrup. Or skip the formal plated dessert, and nibble on the Chocolate Truffles Topiary centerpiece with its chocolate and fruit treats.

Horizontal Divider 20

Preparation Guide

Up to 1 Month Before

Make Chocolate Truffles Topiary up to the point of putting the truffles on the toothpicks and adding fresh fruit to the pot.

2 Days Before

Bake Lemon Curd Cheesecake refrigerate.

The Day Before

Make Super-Easy Chicken Manicotti cover unbaked manicotti tightly with foil and refrigerate.

Make Easy Meatless Lasagna cover unbaked lasagna tightly with foil and refrigerate.

Make Herbed Italian Bread cover unbaked bread tightly in foil and refrigerate.

Make Italian Stuffed Mushrooms cover unbaked mushrooms and refrigerate.

Prepare romaine for Quick Caesar Salad for a Crowd; refrigerate.

Place the truffles on the Chocolate Truffles Topiary.

About 1 1/2 Hours Before Serving

Bake Super-Easy Chicken Manicotti.

Bake Easy Meatless Lasagna.

Add fresh fruit (if using) to the Chocolate Truffles Topiary.

About 20 Minutes Before Guests Arrive

Bake and broil Italian Stuffed Mushrooms.

About 15 Minutes Before Serving

Bake Herbed Italian Bread.

Toss Caesar Salad.

When Guests Arrive

Make Italian Sodas

Horizontal Divider 20

Pre-Prom Dinner Party Menu

Italian Sodas

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

Veggies and dip

Super-Easy Chicken Manicotti

Easy Meatless Lasagna

Quick Caesar Salad for a Crowd

Herbed Italian Bread

Lemon Curd Cheesecake

Horizontal Divider 20



Chocolate Truffles Topiary

Did your mother ever say, "Look with your eyes, not your fingers"? It’s next to impossible with this chocolate lover’s centerpiece!

1 round florists' foam topiary with dowel and base, 5 inches in diameter

Flowerpot to fit topiary base, about 6 inches in diameter

Rocks to weight flowerpot


36 to 48 chocolate truffles with firm centers, about 1 1/4 inches in diameter

Plastic wrap or aluminum foil

2 to 3 cups fresh raspberries

1yard 1-inch-wide white and gold ribbon

1. Press topiary base securely in flowerpot (glue if necessary). Fill pot 2/3 full with rocks.

2. Insert toothpicks into topiary ball; push truffles onto toothpicks.

3. Line top of pot with plastic wrap; cover with raspberries. Tie ribbon into bow on dowel


Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

These small mushroom bites are filled with the flavors-and colors-of Italy!

36 medium whole fresh mushrooms (1 pound)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup chopped green onion (3 medium)

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350F.

2. Twist mushroom stems to remove from mushroom caps. Finely chop enough stems to measure 1/3 cup. Reserve mushroom caps.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chopped mushroom stems, onions and bell pepper in butter about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are softened; remove from heat. Stir in bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Fill mushroom caps with bread crumb mixture.

4. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches, in oven. Place mushrooms, filled sides up, in pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15 minutes.

5. Set oven control to Broil. Broil mushrooms with tops 3 to 4 inches from heat about 2 minutes or until tops are light brown. Serve hot.


Quick Caesar Salad for a Crowd

Everyone loves Caesar salad! Here’s one big enough to serve the whole gang!

1 cup Caesar dressing

2 bunches romaine, torn into bite-size pieces (20 cups)

2 cups Caesar or garlic-flavored croutons

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground pepper

1. Pour dressing into large salad bowl. Add romaine; toss until coated with dressing.

2. Sprinkle with croutons, cheese and pepper; toss.


Herbed Italian Bread

You're only four ingredients away from a great accompaniment for your next spaghetti dinner.

1/2 loaf (1-pound size) Italian or French bread

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Heat oven to 400F. Cut bread diagonally into 1-inch slices.

2. Mix remaining ingredients. Spread butter mixture over one side of cut surfaces of bread; reassemble loaf.

3. Wrap loaf securely in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until hot.


Italian Sodas

Try the favorite flavored syrups from your neighborhood coffee bars to make these refreshing drinks.

6 bottles (12.7 ounces each) assorted flavored syrup for beverages (raspberry, peach, hazelnut)10 to 12 bottles (1 liter each) club soda

Strawberries, peach slices, lime slices, lemon slices, raspberries

1. Fill tall glass with ice. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons flavored syrup to each glass.

2. Fill glasses with club soda. Garnish with fruit.


Super-Easy Chicken Manicotti

Easy never tasted this good! But don't be fooled by the ease of this dish. With its creative presentation, you'll be proud to serve this dish to guests.

1 jar (26 to 30 ounces) tomato pasta sauce (any variety)

3/4 cup water1teaspoon garlic salt

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders (not breaded)

14 uncooked manicotti shells (8 ounces)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)

Chopped fresh basil leaves, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350. Mix pasta sauce and water in medium bowl. Spread about one-third of the pasta sauce mixture in ungreased rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches.

2. Sprinkle garlic salt on chicken. Insert chicken into uncooked manicotti shells, stuffing from each end of shell to fill if necessary. Place shells on pasta sauce in baking dish. Pour remaining pasta sauce evenly over shells, covering completely.

3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake about 1 hour or until shells are tender. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil.


Easy Meatless Lasagna

You won't miss the meat with this easy, three-cheesy pasta dish.

2 cups ricotta cheese or small curd creamed cottage cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves


1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves

2 jars (28 ounces each) tomato pasta sauce (any variety)

12 uncooked lasagna noodles

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Additional shredded mozzarella cheese, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350F. Mix ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, the parsley and oregano. 2. Spread 2 cups of the pasta sauce in ungreased rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches; top with 4 uncooked noodles. Spread ricotta cheese mixture over noodles. Spread with 2 cups pasta sauce and top with 4 noodles; repeat with 2 cups pasta sauce and 4 noodles. Sprinkle with 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Spread with remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

3. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake about 30 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with additional mozzarella cheese. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.


Lemon Curd Cheesecake

This is not your ordinary cheesecake! Make sure you allow enough time to savor every last bite of this citrus sensation!

1 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafer cookies (40 cookies)

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup lemon curd

3 eggs

Frozen raspberries, if desired

1. Heat oven to 325F. Mix cookie crumbs, 1 teaspoon of the lemon peel and the butter. Press evenly in bottom and up side of springform pan, 9x3 inches.

2. Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, lemon curd and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon peel until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour over crust.

3. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until center is set; cool 30 minutes. Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen. Refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 48 hours.

4. Remove side of pan. Garnish with raspberries.