Graduation parties can attract a diverse crowd with family members and friends of the new graduate co-mingling.

And when you have such a differing crowd — what can you make that will please everyone?

Registered dietitian Kim Galeaz has some ideas. She says they’re all nutritious except for the Red Velvet “Whoopie” You’ve Graduated Pie — but it’s okay, graduate, you’ve earned it!

Mixed Fruit Party Punch

  • 8 cups (32 ounces) 100% Juicy Juice Fruit Punch
  • 2 cups 100% Simply Apple Juice
  • 2 cups 100% Tart cherry juice
  • 2 cups 100% pineapple juice
  • 4 cups Zero sugar ginger ale
  • Garnishes: Sliced oranges, limes, apples, cherries

Mix all juices in a large pitcher or container. Keep refrigerated until serving time, then add Ginger Ale. Garnish and serve. Makes 18 (8 oz.) servings (1 gallon + 2 cups total)

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

Orange Lemonade

  • 12 cups zero-sugar lemonade (made from powdered mix)
  • 4 cups Kroger orange juice
  • Sliced lemons and oranges for garnish

Combine lemonade and orange juice in a big container (at least 1 gallon). Add lots of orange and lemon slices. Refrigerate. Serve cold. Makes 1 gallon (16 one-cup servings).

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

Cheesecake Cupcakes

Graham Crust

  • 9 rectangle sheets graham crackers, finely crushed (roughly about 1 1/3 cups finely crushed crumbs)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Cupcakes

  • 2 packages (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

Topping

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Favorite fresh, canned or frozen fruit (chopped strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, mango or cherries)

Preheat oven to 325⁰F. Line a 12-cup muffin/cupcake tin with paper liners. Crush graham cracker sheets completely (in zippered freezer bag with rolling pin.) In a medium bowl with a fork, mix the graham crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Evenly divide graham mixture between all cups (about 1 heaping tablespoon per cup). Press evenly and very firmly into bottom. (Kim uses a tiny juice glass to press the crust very firmly into each cup).

In large bowl with electric mixture and paddle attachment, mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla on medium low speed until smooth and well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low until thoroughly blended. Using an ice cream scoop, portion cheesecake batter into 12 cups evenly; they will be completely full. Lightly tap pan a couple times on counter to remove air bubbles.

Bake 22 to 25 minutes, or until centers just barely jiggle, tops have puffed up and cracking is just starting. Do not overbake or let them crack excessively. They will firm up as they cool and when refrigerated. (They’ll also deflate as they cool.) Remove pan to wire cooling rack for 1 hour.

While cupcakes bake, mix together sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. After cupcakes have cooled about 30 minutes, swirl at least one heaping measuring teaspoon sour cream mixture on each cupcake. Garnish with ample chopped strawberries, diced kiwi or mango, fresh cherries, blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries. Refrigerate cupcakes in tightly covered container until serving time. (Don’t leave cupcakes out at room temperature longer than 2 hours for food safety.)

Makes 12 cheesecake cupcakes.

Recipe created by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Cake Bars

  • 1 1/3  cups Kroger vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Kroger white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 ½ teaspoons ground Saigon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Private Selection ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon Kroger ground cloves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour (Kim loves King Arthur brand)
  • 3 ½ to 3 ¾ cups loosely packed, peeled and shredded carrots*
  • 1 ½ cups Kroger or Simple Truth chopped walnuts, toasted

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 bag (2 pound bag) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Garnishes, optional

  • Chopped toasted walnuts, candied nuts, sprinkles or cinnamon

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10×15-inch rimmed baking pan (with at least 1-inch sides). Set aside. In a large bowl with electric mixer and paddle, beat oil, sugar, salt, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda and baking powder. Add flour incrementally, beating lightly until blended. Once flour is incorporated, add shredded carrots and toasted walnuts. Stir just until blended. Avoid over-mixing. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean or with just a very few slightly moist crumbs on it. Remove to cooling rack. While carrot bars cool, make cream cheese icing. Add cream cheese and butter to bowl of electric mixer and beat until thoroughly smooth and combined. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix until blended.

Once the bars are cool, ice with as much or little of the cream cheese icing as you’d like. Garnish if desired. Refrigerate leftover icing in a tightly covered container and store Iced Carrot Cake Bars in refrigerator until serving time.

*Kim finds the best shredded carrot texture by putting them in food processor with shredding plate, or using a stand shredder, rather than purchased shredded carrots.

*These bars are easily made Gluten-Free. Just sub King Arthur Gluten Free 1 for 1 measure-for-measure flour mix for the all-purpose flour.

Makes at least 32 bars (8×4 cut in pan).

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

Red Velvet “Whoopie” You’ve Graduated Pies

  • 1 box Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix (15.25 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons Kroger baking cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup Kroger vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Kroger red food color
  • Favorite cream cheese frosting (Kim’s recipe below)

Heat oven to 350⁰F. In a large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed, beat cake mix, eggs, oil, vinegar and red food color until well combined. Cookie dough will be stiff and thick. Roll into -inch balls or use a tiny 2 teaspoon size scoop. Place balls about two inches apart on cookie sheets that have been very lightly greased with Crisco or butter. Flatten top of cookies slightly. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until set around edges. (Cookies will puff up while baking, but will flatten as they cool.) Place cookie sheet on wire rack; let cookies cool on sheet for about 1 minute, then remove cookies to wire racks to completely cool. Using decorator’s pastry bag and large star or circle tip, pipe cream cheese filling/frosting on one-half, then top with another cookie. Refrigerate in tightly covered container until serving time. Makes 18 whoopie pies. (36 halves).

Cream Cheese Icing/Filling

  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 bag (1 pound bag) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Kroger whole milk

Add cream cheese and butter to bowl of electric mixer and beat until thoroughly smooth and combined. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and milk and stir until blended. Makes about 3 ¼ cups frosting.

Recipe created by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD