Ever need to throw a party and feed 100 people, and want to do it for as little money as possible?
There are many routes that one can go down to make the food cheaply. My favourite way is a potluck. Whether it's a wedding, anniversary, family reunion, church picnic, or the graduating class, a potluck is a great way to go to save money.
There are so many fun ways to do a potluck. Have a theme for the night and food for your theme. Ask everyone to bring a food that starts with the first letter of their name. Divide guests in fifths and assign each fifth to bring an appetizer, soup or salad, entree, side dish or dessert. Or you could go totally uncommitted and just let everyone bring what they want.
Don't want to do a potluck? Well, there are other options out there, but from here on in your costs increase rather dramatically.
The garden style party is always an easy route that allows for much preparation a head of time. Meats can be mixed, crusts trimmed from breads, and salads, veggie, fruit, meat and cheese trays can mostly prepared before the event. The morning of is just compiling all of the sandwiches and cutting them up. This style encourages people to get up and move around to socialize.
Maybe the cheapest cooked meal to make a lot of people would be spaghetti. Serve it with homemade garlic bread, baguettes, or flat bread and a caesar salad and everyone is happy. It's a meal that you can make up a head of time, aside from combining the salad, and even freeze portions of it. With all of the vegetables coming from gardens and farmers markets, making your own spaghetti sauce is not only cheaper, but will bring a unique taste to your table.
Other ways of having a cooked meal cheaply done, would be to have soup, stew or chilli cooked ahead of time and warmed up the day of. That served with some salads, rolls and an apple crisp would be great if your event were in the fall. All of the vegetables and fruits needed would be in abundance in your neighbourhood gardens or local farmers market.
If you have a little more money to spend, you can always do a fully cooked meal head to toe, but this will take LOTS of time, and more money than the rest. You would have to borrow a friend or two's oven and cook whole chickens, meatloaf, or other meat dish and try to keep it warm. During this time of the year, meat is on sale, and if you can, find a local meat producer, they may be more willing to cut you even more of a deal.
If you have all of your vegetables peeled and sliced before the event, and stored in water, then you only have to turn them on and cook them the morning of. Again, this take the most time, effort and money and I don't think that you would enjoy the event at all yourself.
Then the next thing you need to think of are desserts. These are a little easier to make and freeze in advance of the event. Several trays with selections of squares, cookies, and little cakes make great desserts that guests can pick several choices from to tickle their taste buds.
If you want to go with something a little more formal, you could prepare cheesecake, apple crisp, or pies ahead of time and freeze them already sliced. There's always a light fruit cocktail with dessert topping that is a nice ending to a meal as well.
If you have any further ideas that you would love to share on this or any other post, please comment or email me directly at smile_zil at yahoo dot ca.
Enjoy your day!