Recession Proof Living

Your money, your life

Budget Cooking for a Crowd

budget_cooking_for_a_crowdIf you’re like many American families, you spent a ton of money over the holiday weekend feeding your family and guests. Or perhaps you didn’t host anyone at all for fear the cost would (pardon the pun) eat you alive. All it takes is some steaks on the grill, salads made with expensive organic veggies, and store-bought desserts for a large group, and suddenly you’ve spent $200 for one meal. Don’t let it happen again!

The good news is that cooking for a large group doen’t have to break the bank. Budget cooking for a crowd is possible if you follow a few simple tips.

Plan ahead.
Mark the date on your calendar as far ahead of time as possible, and start planning your menu immediately. Clip coupons that correspond to your menu and watch the grocery store ads. The best grocery deals happen when you combine sales with manufacturer coupons. You can buy your nonperishable or frozen items (don’t forget that fresh meat can also be frozen) in advance this way.

If guests offer to bring something, let them.
I agree with Miss Manners that it’s rude to ask guests to bring food to your party, but it isn’t rude for them to offer–or for you to accept their offer. No need to turn down free food!

Consider “big pot” meals.
Spaghetti, chili, stew, chicken and noodles, red beans and rice. . .they taste great and use inexpensive ingredients. They are easy to make in large quantities, and as an added bonus, they’re also easy to clean up.

Other inexpensive treats.
Here are some other party goodies that don’t cost a fortune:
-deviled eggs
-pasta salad
-tuna salad
-homemade bread or rolls
-snickerdoodle cookies
-shortbread cookies

What are some of your favorite ideas for budget cooking for a crowd?

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  1. Great post Andrea! If there’s one thing I try to save money on, it’s food:)

    You are right on about the “big pot” meals. I often have my neighbors over for dinner, and when I do, it’s usually chili or spagetti!


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