Serving a house full of guests can really cut into your budget. However, preparing food for entertaining does not have to cost you a lot of money. Feed your friends and family using cost-cutting measures so you can prepare a feast even during a famine without sacrificing in quality and flavor. Here are some easy recipes to help you as you plan for your next party.
Pasta in a variety of noodle shapes and colors can be purchased in bulk for pennies per ounce. Cook pasta and combine with an inexpensive bottle of Italian dressing and you have a filling side dish for any occasion. Optional toppings include bacon bits, sliced black olives, pickled pepperoncini, or frozen peas.
A large bowl of snack mix provides guests with the ability to pick their favorite items. Types of inexpensive ingredients for a savory snack mix include Chex cereal, peanuts, pretzels, and fish-shaped cheese crackers. Add three tablespoons of vegetable oil and a packet of dry ranch salad dressing mix to 6 cups of mix. Toss well before serving. For a sweet snack mixture, go with Cheerios, air popped popcorn, and candy coated chocolate candies. Mix 6 cups of mix with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
Prepare two 4 ounce boxes of vanilla instant pudding mix and one 4 ounce box of French vanilla instant pudding mix together in a bowl. Place the prepared pudding in the refrigerator to allow it to firm. Line the bottom and sides of a casserole dish with vanilla wafer cookies, or opt for vanilla sandwich cookies with lemon-flavored crème for variety. Gently spread the pudding over the cookies. Cut 4 medium size bananas into 1/4 inch slices and spread over the pudding. Crumble cookies and sprinkle the crumbs over the bananas. Serve chilled.
S’mores Rice Cereal
Crush a box of graham crackers into crumbs and set aside. Melt 40 large marshmallows in a large saucepan. Add 4 tablespoons of melted butter; stir until combined. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in 8 cups of rice cereal, 1 cup of miniature chocolate morsels, and the crushed graham crackers. Fold until well coated. Spread the coated cereal in a 1 inch layer in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow the cereal to cool completely, and then cut into 1 inch cubes.
Other tips include keeping your party menu simple. The fewer types of items you have to serve, the less likely you’ll have wasted food. Serve a variety of sweet and salty dishes to satisfy guests’ taste buds. As you think of other dishes to prepare for your party, look for dishes that do not need cooking so to save time and energy costs. Also, avoid dishes that call for cheese, meat, and hard-to-find specialty items as these tend to be much more costly. Put more effort into spending time with your guests instead of fretting over preparing snack food for when guests arrive; everyone will remember the great conversation instead of the dessert.