Just because you’re a busy mom doesn’t mean you need to kiss your social life goodbye. Check out these frugal dinner party ideas to wine and dine your besties without breaking the bank!
There’s always a reason to throw a dinner party. If you’re not sure you agree, give it a second thought. We’re sure you could find even the smallest reason right now to break out the placemats and napkin holders.
Now, with that said, one of the biggest challenges to any dinner party is the question of your budget. How much you can or are willing to spend has put a stop to soirees dating back generations, and with good reason. With all the decorating, catering, and planning, they can be expensive, to say the least.
Join us today, as we bring you three great small dinner party ideas to help you stay on budget and create something special for your guests. After all, the best things in life don’t have to be the most expensive.
Cheap Meals Can Still Be Great Meals
There’s an assumption with a lot of people that, when it comes to catering for a dinner party, the food has to be fancy, exotic, and expensive. The idea of a cheap dinner party seems impossible because you could never bring your soiree up to the level it needs to be for no money.
For our first point in today’s article, we’re delighted to inform you that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Food is important and you shouldn’t skimp on it, but there are many great party food ideas on a budget that works every time.
A great way to reduce costs is to fill guests up on delicious snacks so you don’t have to splash out on a big main course. It works well at maintaining a “dinner vibe” without diving right into the most expensive right away.
Good examples include shrimp toasts and fritters, hummus, and pita chips.
In the supermarket, your best appetizer friend is and always be a standard block of feta cheese. With a little heat and some know-how, you can transform this into a life-changing spread for pita and roasted vegetables. And, of course, by “know-how”, what we mean is a basic understanding of how an oven works and this useful guide.
Add a drizzle of olive oil and honey to the uncooked block of feta cheese. Then simply put it in the oven at 370F with the light on, and check on it every five minutes until it becomes visibly bubbly and soft.
Pair with a salad and some croutons, and this is a meal in and of itself.
Of course, no matter how much time you spend putting off the main course, you’ll eventually want to wow your guests with a delicious entree, which can bring you right back to those anxieties about big spending.
Don’t despair, however. There really are dozens of options out there, and we’re going to take a closer look at one of our favorites: roasted chicken and potatoes.
Place a whole chicken (the most budget-friendly meat out there) in a large ziplock bag with the following ingredients and shake.
- 400 g chickpeas
- 1.75 lb pounds halved potatoes
- 1 tbs olive oil
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1.5 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbs mayonnaise
- 1 tbs buttermilk
- 1 tsp harissa paste
- 0.5 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
Marinate your chicken for a full day in the bag, in the fridge. Preheat your oven to 375F and pour your chicken, ingredients and remaining marinade into a baking dish big enough for them to spread out. Cover the dish with foil and cook for an hour. Then remove the foil, and cook for another 15 minutes for the chicken and potatoes to crisp in the heat.
Serve with a side salad for a budget-friendly meal your guests will adore you for.
Of course, the dinner party host’s biggest burden is coming up with dinner party ideas that don’t leave their main course playing second fiddle to dessert. This is by far the most important meal to get right. Luckily for you, we have just the right dessert in mind to help you put the finishing touches on your dinner without taking away from the meal. Actually, we have two of them for you to pick from.
First up, the easiest dessert ever that’s guaranteed to leave people talking has to be chocolate truffles. Simply melt heavy cream and chocolate together in equal proportions, and leave it in the fridge to cool. Use a spoon to scoop out this mixture and shape it into balls before rolling it in cocoa powder. Believe it or not, that’s truffles, and people love them.
Of course, if you feel obligated to put a little more effort in, you could always try a good old fashioned lemon pudding.
Old Fashioned Lemon Pudding
Cream together 1 tbs butter with a cup of sugar, before adding 3 egg yolks and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour. Follow this with the juice of one lemon, before slowly adding 1 cup of milk.
In a separate bowl, beat a pinch of salt and three egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold this mixture into the lemon mixture, and pour that mixture into a greased pudding dish and cover securely. Put this dish into a larger baking pan, and add water to reach halfway up the dish’s sides. Do not get water into the pudding dish.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for thirty to forty minutes. Serve with whipped cream and get ready for everyone to ask for the recipe. (So you better pin it to Pinterest so later!)
Less Decor Is More Decor
Of course, cheap dinner party ideas don’t begin and end in the kitchen. The best party planners understand the value of understatement, especially when it comes to decor. Festooning your home with ostentatious decorations from one corner to the other might seem like an obvious idea, but you can overdo it.
A few elegant elements are all you really need to create an impact. Bring in a few seasonal plants as a nod to the time of year you’re currently in. Mix and match inexpensive decorations, inexpensive centerpieces or interesting tablecloths and napkin ties. When guests get less, it tends to make more of an impact.
Of course, for some, going inexpensive on a home makeover is simply never going to cut it. Look into quick loans to help you get that fresh paint job or a professionally manicured lawn ahead of your party. The return on your investment is well worth it.
Nail That Guest List Down
The last of our inexpensive dinner party ideas is a simple but important one: make your attendance rules clear in your invitations. If guests can bring +1s, make that process clear to them. And remember to stay firm on +2s, +3s etc. If there are RSVPs to be collected, make the date clear and then cut any stragglers off after that date. This helps to mitigate waste and keep your party “on rails” for its duration.
And there you have it – three important small dinner party ideas to help you crush it while staying completely within your budget.
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