- First and foremost, make it at home.
Set your kitchen up for fun and functionality. Don't throw your money out the window by catering your dinner party. Catering is for large events, such as weddings, receptions, and visits from the Queen of England, where cooking the food yourself would be nearly impossible (unless you wanted to land yourself in the hospital with exhaustion!) An added plus is that you get to control the ingredients that your dinner guests will be enjoying!
- KISS (keep it simple stupid), the menu that is.
Now that you've decided to cook the food at home and not order take-out or resort to professional catering, the best way to keep yourself from going crazy from all the cooking and preparation is to keep it simple. Keeping it simple won't break the bank, either. When shopping at your local grocery store, make a conscious effort to buy meats and other fresh ingredients, such as produce, on sale and in season. Be mindful, just because it's on sale doesn't mean it's about to expire or go bad soon. You can stick to a casual night and serve your guests up chicken wings and hamburgers with a salad to lighten things up!
We've all been there, we find a great recipe on allrecipes.com or Food Network and we're so excited to try it. And we want to impress our guests. Then we get to the store and realize that meat is ridiculously expensive and when you're serving 6-10 people, it can really add up. Before you know it, you're taking out another line of credit just to get entertain for an evening. Compare prices to see what the least expensive meat is at your local grocery. Most of the time, chicken and ground beef are the least expensive, or ground turkey and pork. It's best to base your recipe on the reasonably priced ingredients available at your local grocery store, and not the other way around.
- Share ingredients
We've all been taught to share since we were little kids. But who knew sharing was an ingenious way to save you a few bucks? An easy way to save money is to share the ingredients you have between your dishes. For example, if you're using chicken in your main course, you can shred pieces of chicken to make a chicken caesar salad for an appetizer.
- Potluck it.
A great way to save money is by requesting that your guests each bring a dish. You can coordinate with each guest on what they should bring so you can still serve up a menu similar to what you had originally had in mind. For example, you can take care of the main dish. Then you can request that your guests either bring dessert, appetizers, salad or even the beverages. This can help you cut down the cost of food and you can have a wide array of dishes to serve your guests at your dinner party.
When entertaining food is central to the event. The ambiance is something to consider as well. Make it fun and special. Your guests will appreciate all of your efforts and feel grateful.
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