Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Oh NO! Company is Coming for Dinner!

Anytime we have people over for dinner it is always an enjoyable time.  But leading up to it can be quite stressful.  Usually because I am always trying to rack my brain as to what to prepare that is frugal, and doesn't leave me in the kitchen all night. If I was smart, I`d write a list and tape it inside one of my cupboards.  But since I haven`t done that yet (Mommy brain, I blame MOMMY BRAIN!), I might as well write my list here. So, what should you serve for dinner for your guests without breaking your budget?

1.  Soups.  In the cooler months this is one of my favorites.  Pairing up a pureed squash or potato soup with a loaf of homemade bread and maybe a side salad and you've got a full meal!

2.  Chili.  Along the same lines of soup, pair it with some homemade bread.  Have some shredded cheese available for your guests to sprinkle on top and you've got a hearty, filling dinner.

3.  Quiche.  Eggs are cheap, and full of protein.  Raid your garden for what to put in the quiche.

4.  Salad.  Adding some chicken to a salad can turn a side salad into a full meal, perfect for those hot summer nights.  If you have a garden use what is there to make this meal even cheaper.  Serve with some delicious bread.  Cornbread can be a good option.

5. Hamburgers and hot dogs.  Some would feel uneasy serving hotdogs to guests, but in my neck of the woods, during bbq season that is completely acceptable!

6.  Pasta.  Who doesn't like pasta?  And pasta doesn't have to be boring.  Serving some bowtie pasta mixed with peas and sundried tomatoes, a little olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese and you might feel like you are dining out at an italian restaurant.

Some tips to remember when company is coming for dinner:

If they ask if they can bring something, say YES!  A side salad, dessert, or beverage can be very helpful in sharing costs.  And if you are invited out, it is nice to offer the same.

Dessert isn`t always necessary.  When we have guests over I try to have a frugal dessert prepared (or ask them to bring one if they asked what they could bring) but there are times it hasn`t happened.  No one is going to waste away without dessert.  Actually, we might be better off not stuffing ourselves with that huge helping of double fudge brownie.

Cook simple meals.  In the cooler months I love to use my crockpot when I entertain.  That way, by the time my guests arrive there is very little for me to do but dish out the food into bowls.  This allows me to actually enjoy the visit!

Entertaining doesn`t have to cost a fortune.  The truth is, people generally aren`t coming to your house for your food.  They are coming for your company, but the food is just a perk.  And if they ARE coming just for your food, maybe they aren`t the type of people you want to have over anyways. ;)

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