How To Feed A Crowd Without Breaking The Bank?
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    Default How To Feed A Crowd Without Breaking The Bank?

    How To Feed A Crowd Without Breaking The Bank?-party-food.jpg

    While it might be tempting to go all out, drawing on your Pinterest board for fancy party food ideas, you should carefully consider whether it is really worth it. After all, food is meant to be eaten so while your guests might admire your efforts for a minute or two, eventually it will all disappear into their stomachs! One of the easiest ways to save money on party food without sacrificing quality is to offer a larger variety of options – people will eat less of each item and they will be satisfied with smaller bites! Inexpensive Party Food Ideas to Feed a Crowd - Frugal Village
    With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I am wondering if you have tips to make it more affordable to feed large groups, such as when the entire family gets together.

    Do you have favorite frugal recipes to make? I would love it if you would share some.
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    Registered User Aunt Bea's Avatar
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    The time of day that you choose to have people over can save you a substantial amount of money.

    Try having folks over for bagels or doughnuts and coffee, hot chocolate or apple cider.

    A slice of pie or cake and coffee after dinner.

    A breakfast get together with eggs, bacon, toast, home fries etc...

    You could also try a potluck. Provide the turkey, ham or roast beast and ask others to bring the sides, rolls and desserts.

    If the group contains several small children I would go with hot dogs, chips, macaroni salad, cupcakes from a mix and fruit punch!

    Just relax and focus on getting the family together, in a week they won't remember the food!

    Good luck!

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    Plan in advance. This way you can watch for sales on more expensive items like meats, and specialty ingredients.

    Be flexible. You planned to cook ribs, but if there's a really good deal on chicken, you can change the menu.

    Tried and true favorites. There's a reason that Sunday dinner used to consist of a big hunk of cheap meat cooked all day on the back of the stove. Pot roast, stew, baked chicken, casseroles, pork shoulder are all budget meals that feed a crowd. Don't forget soup! It's cheap and filling, especially with fresh baked bread. Chili is always a crowd pleaser.

    I would go with a fresh vegetable tray for snacks and appetizers. They are cheaper than chips, more colorful, and the fiber will fill people up faster than candy or pretzels. Make your own dips. You can make 4x the amount of home made hummus for the cost of one little plastic tub from the grocery store.

    Don't go overboard on alcohol. One drink per person is enough.
    Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.

    If you're not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You're not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet.

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    Registered User bookwormpeg's Avatar
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    Planning ahead saves you a ton of money......we always have olives on holidays and I use them for veggie platter, in salads, etc....they have been on sale for .99 so I am buying a couple every time I see them....this way, come T'giving and Christmas, I have them and won't be paying $2 a jar/can.....

    Serve casseroles instead of individual portions of meat......chicken spaghetti is one example....big pot of spaghetti with meat sauce instead of meatballs.....lasagna.....scallop potatoes with ham chunks....

    Make a huge green salad and when produce is too expensive, go to salad bar and pick up a few things to add to the greens...

    Make a big pot of homemade soup and serve with some nice bread or crackers.....

    Make punch instead of individual drinks.....and let's not forget ice cold water in a beautiful pitcher with some lemon/lime slices....throw in some cranberries for additional color...

    Deviled eggs are cheap....

    A big plate of homemade sugar cookies.....

    People eat with their eyes first so make what you have attractive but I wouldn't spend hours making something just to have it look pretty and once someone cuts or dips into it, the beauty is gone.....when I was younger, I might have done it, but my time is worth more now that I am older and wiser...

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    Registered User Aunt Bea's Avatar
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    I agree with the others on planning ahead, it reminds me of my mother and grandmother. They always made a plan way in advance of any big event or holiday. Each week when they did the shopping they would buy a couple of non perishable items and put them in a box in the pantry. By the time the big event rolled around they had the basics covered. They also pared down the items in the freezer during the weeks leading up to a big event. Eating out of inventory helped free up a little extra cash and made room in the freezer to take advantage of a great deal on a turkey or a roast.

    Even with today's higher prices if you stick to preparing basic foods from scratch you can put a great meal on the table without breaking the bank. I'm talking about things like chicken or turkey, a sack of potatoes, a loaf of day old bread, a cabbage, carrots, apples, etc... Those basic items translate into a great holiday dinner of Roast turkey, stuffing, whipped potatoes, gravy, cabbage salad, carrot coins and an apple pie or apple crisp.

    Good luck!

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    To add to this.... Fall and winter holidays can be overwhelming, so it's never too early to start baking cookies and freezing them. Watch for butter on sale and freeze it. Flour and sugar are cheap, but it doesn't hurt to watch for sales and stock up if you can.

    I try to make 1 batch of cookies a week, and I stick with simple favorites and drop cookies. Rolled cookies take 4x as long to make and don't taste any better. So, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, shortbread, thumbprint cookies with jam, peanut butter, snickerdoodle, etc. I make my cookies small, about 2" instead of giant sized, they cook faster and there are "more" individual cookies to go around.

    You can do your various holiday pies, cakes and gift loaves in advance, too.
    Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.

    If you're not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You're not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet.

    Use it up, Wear it out,
    Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown

    Because we, the people, have the power to build a better future. KH

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    I swear y'all could write a book on this. Thank you for such wonderful ideas!
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    I agree with bwpeg on that big plate of sugar cookies. It does take more time to make cut out or rolled sugar cookies as CH pointed out but they can be a big help to a mom whose budget is sinking for the third time in the same week.

    I think every mom should have a simple cut out cookie recipe or even a mix in a pouch that they can whip up on short notice. A small collection of inexpensive cookie cutters can be put together over time and the cookies can be a part of holidays and family celebrations all year long. Stars for the 4th of July, Shamrocks for St. Patrick's day, eggs for Easter, numbers for birthdays, etc...

    A little food coloring some granulated sugar and a simple frosting are all you really need to make a thousand variations. For colored sugar sprinkles put some granulated sugar in a small jar, add a few drops of food color and shake it (or let the kids do it) until the coloring is evenly distributed. If you don't want to bother making frosting you can sprinkle the colored sugar on top of the cookies before they go into the oven or keep a can of vanilla frosting from the dollar store in the pantry. It's a simple matter to divide the white frosting among several bowls, add a few drops of food color to each bowl and give it a stir. Each kid, that helps, gets to lick a spoon and show off a different colored tongue!

    It's really not about the cookies, it's about a family making frugal memories that will last a lifetime.

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    Registered User MsMarieH's Avatar
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    I have a huge upright freezer and a huge chest freezer, which makes it much easier for me to stock up in advance when I see great sales.

    Just about every year, I am able to find some deal on turkey at Thanksgiving where I end up with a 13-16 lb turkey for $3-5. I always get one or two extra for the freezer.

    I pick up a few extra prime rib roasts when they are on sale for $5.99 a pound (I know that is still a splurge, but I love them and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than ordering it at a restaurant!). They are awesome in the smoker year round.

    I buy meat by the case either just for myself or to split with friends. The price drops dramatically. At my grocery store, brisket is usually $7.XX a pound, but at sam's club I can get it by the case for $3.XX a pound.

    My grocery store often does a $10 off with a $25 purchase coupon on a ham at Christmas and Easter. I pick up extra ones for the freezer.

    For large group entertaining, I rely on things like tacos, chili, spaghetti... As mentioned, making sides with ingredients like potatoes, barley, apples, rice, etc. can work great as filler. So with tacos, I would be sure to include spanish rice and refried beans for instance. With chili, I may serve it cincinnati style (over spaghetti with lots of shredded cheddar cheese and chopped onions) or I would have cornbread with it. Homemade soup with a side of fresh made bread... Homemade make your own pizzas can be fun. Taco bar, potato bar...

    Since meat is often the most expensive ingredient, stretching it with the casseroles or other types of dishes can really help a lot, especially if you didn't get it on sale.
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    Superbowl parties coming up:
    refried beans (crock pot recipe very cheap and easy) with tortilla chips
    baked beans
    cole slaw
    ham (has been 79-99 cents/lb throughout the fall)
    crock pot chicken BBQ
    rolls, corn bread
    brownies or sheet cake - mix or scratch

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