Saturday, October 19, 2013

How to Entertain on a Budget: Food Edition

You might feel a little intimidated by the title Hostess, but as we chatted yesterday, you can see there's no reason to be intimidated. You can take hostessing to any level you wish and still make it very inviting and fun for those you're entertaining. We'll talk about a few aspects of hostessing over the next few days starting today with the issue of food. How can you keep it budget friendly, yet still extra special? Let's see!
  • Determine your budget. - If you're like me, you have a weekly grocery budget. Are you going to keep this meal as part of that weekly budget or use your entertainment budget? {If you don't have a budget, check this out. It's a great place to get started.}
  • Decide how many guests you want to invite. This will impact your budget, so decide this before you decide the food.
  • Now that you know how much you can spend and how many guests to invite, let's figure out what kinds of foods fit into that budget. We're going to explore a few low-cost meals we could have.
Buffet-style meals are fun and easy. They don't require having a large dining room to seat everyone and it's very informal. Here's a list of meal ideas that work well with buffet-style:
  • Chili - Make a big pot of chili {feeds several people with one batch}. Put the chili at the beginning of the table with the bowls and then stagger all the toppings after that including cheese, corn chips, sour cream, hot sauce, onions, avacado, etc. and then put the spoons/napkins at the end of the table. Have a separate table or countertop for drinks and dessert. Remember, most friends will offer to bring something to help with the meal. Have them bring their favorite topping or a dessert. A batch of chili can easily be made for $7-8. Double that and it's still pretty feasible for feeding 15-20 people for $1 or less per serving. {My recipe is 1lb ground beef, large can of Bush's chili beans, 1 can red kidney beans, 1 can tomato sauce, 1 packet McCormick chili seasoning.}
  • Taco Bar - You provide the meat and hard/soft shells, toppings can be brought by guests or you provide - cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, onions, salsa, taco sauce, beans (black or refried), avacado, etc.
  • Nacho Bar - Chips, Meat, Nacho Cheese (try melting Velveeta and adding a can of Rotel), lettuce, black olives, onions, salsa, beans, guacamole, sour cream, etc.
  • Hamburger Sliders - Provide the meat and buns. Toppings - tomatoes, onions, blue cheese, sliced cheese, bbq sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayo, crispy onions, guacamole, etc. You can be very creative with this! Sides: chips, dip, fries, salad, or whatever you like best.
Once you've figured out the food. Decide how to make it extra special with those little inexpensive touches. You could do a variety of fun things. I've found a few free printables you can use below. Or be creative and come up with your own!
Use these cute chevron printables for a casual get together. This is a huge list I found by searching on Pinterest.
These banners and buffet cards are perfect for a Halloween get together! Print these here. 
These would be so cute for a Thanksgiving kind of meal - lots of printables here to make it an extra special meal.

These would be great for a holiday get together! Have some people over for coffee and dessert and have a grand time with these adorable FREE printables!

These are all very inexpensive ideas for free printables - just the cost of ink and paper. But they will go a long way in making your meal {informal or formal} memorable for years to come! Go the extra step and add those little details. It makes a big difference!

How do you make your get togethers extra special? Do you have a favorite printable? What is your favorite food to serve guests? I'd love some new ideas!

This is part of my 31 Days of Home Economics series. You can find my whole series at the tab above {Home Economics}.

Thank you for stopping by! I'm sharing this with a few of these friends. Hope you'll come back soon!
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