Make it Potluck
I know...we are not talking about a formal dinner party Dolls (if it is is formal never do Potluck). Summer is about being laid back & getting together with friends. Period. No one minds bringing a dish. It adds the unexpected to the table.
Shop the Farmers Market (or FF)
There is no easier time of the year to make a cheap dish (with the benefits of local, healthy, and fresh ingredients) than summer. stroll the FF, your pocket book will be glad you did.
Plan the Menu
Never walk willy nilly into the store or under the FF awning without a clue as to what you are going to make. A recipe for expense is failure to plan.
Shop Trader Joe Liquors
Three buck chuck & other noteworthy wines, beers, & ciders at a discount. No one will know the difference & if they do, ask them to go out & purchase the good stuff for everyone else.
Keep the Dishes Simple
You'll save time & money. I believe that the test of a good cook is whether he/she can make a braised leek delectable all on its own as the dish. Test your culinary skills & wit by going for flavor over complication.
Costco/Sam's Club Appetizers
Some nibbles before the main event means you don't have to have as much food for the main event. Hubby & I have always found the Costco appetizers for our party to be budget friendly, voluminous enough, & very tasty. Just don't go over board. You can go broke purchasing precooked appetizers.
Make the Guest List Small
The more people you have, the more you have to feed. But also the harder it is to relax, enjoy, & talk with all of your guests intimately. Dinner parties should be about this very thing. If you want to see the Jones across town but your guest list is at capacity, just have another small get together in a few weeks. The smaller it is, the more enjoyable it will be for your guests.
What are some of your budget entertaining ideas? Share the wealth!
photo credit: Nancy Neil