budget parties http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10214/all en-US 10 Frugal-but-Classy Appetizers http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-but-classy-appetizers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-frugal-but-classy-appetizers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/appetizers.jpg" alt="appetizers" title="appetizers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Appetizers are one of those things that are so essential for successful entertaining, but can often eat up a big chunk of your entertaining budget. There are few things that make a party as fun as sipping wine and nibbling on a choice morsel while you wander about the room catching up with friends. Great appetizers can also set the tone for a comfortable, delicious dinner by taking the edge off guests&rsquo; hunger and giving them a chance to warm up conversationally.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s easy to spend a lot on appetizers. Good quality seafood, such as smoked salmon, shrimp, or oysters, will run you a pretty penny. The same thing goes for popular charcuterie such as prosciutto, speck, and paté. With just a modicum of prep work, however, you can make several delicious appetizers without spending a lot of money. Add a bowl of olives and a bunch of grapes, along with some inexpensive wine, and turn on the music; and you&rsquo;ve got yourself a party. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-easy-and-festive-cream-cheese-appetizers">Quick, Easy, and Festive Cream Cheese Appetizers</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stuffed Mushrooms</h2> <p>Grab a couple packages of large button or crimini mushrooms at your local supermarket. Clean them and remove the stems, and stuff the caps with herbed goat cheese or Boursin (an herbed soft French cheese). A little bit of cheese goes a long way. Top with breadcrumbs if desired, and pop into a 350⁰F oven for 20 minutes. Serve warm.</p> <h2>2. Fancy Cheese and Crackers</h2> <p>You might want to go a little fancier than Cracker Barrel Cheddar with your cheese and crackers, but great inexpensive cheeses can be found at stores like Trader Joe&rsquo;s or Costco. Try Gouda, Manchego, or an inexpensive Brie (huge wheels can be found at Costco for next to nothing). Place slices of cheese on multigrain crackers or inexpensive water crackers. Top with a thin slice of Granny Smith apple, some chopped walnuts, and a drizzle of honey.</p> <h2>3. Dumplings and Potstickers</h2> <p>Nowadays you can find really good quality Asian dumplings and potstickers at your local supermarket, and they are one of my go-to easy appetizers. I keep a bag stashed in the freezer at all times for an impromptu snack or appetizer for unexpected guests. They are cheap, you can cook them right from frozen, and they take hardly any oversight.&nbsp;</p> <p>Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the frozen potstickers, making sure that each one has contact with the skillet surface. Add &frac14; cup of water, cover, and let the potstickers steam-fry for 6-8 minutes. Uncover skillet, let the rest of the water evaporate, and fry for a minute or two longer to brown the dumplings. Serve hot (keep hot in a low oven) on toothpicks with a simple dipping sauce of rice vinegar and minced ginger.</p> <h2>4. Caprese Salad Skewers</h2> <p>On bamboo skewers, stick cubed mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil. Done! If fresh basil is expensive in your area, substitute with a bit of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-with-basil-21-uses-for-jarred-pesto?wbref=readmore-3">jarred pesto</a>.</p> <h2>5. Mango Salsa</h2> <p>Mangoes can be expensive if they&rsquo;re not in season, but you just need one for this delicious salsa which can be made several hours in advance. Dice up one large ripe mango, 4 medium tomatoes, &frac12; large red onion and mix together. Add minced cilantro, lime juice, and salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.</p> <h2>6. Rosemary Breadsticks</h2> <p>Grab a package of refrigerated pizza dough at the supermarket (they usually run $1-3). Roll out the dough and cut into strips. Twist each strip to make a stick and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, chopped rosemary, and shredded Parmesan (optional). Bake at 425⁰F for six minutes or until golden. Cool and serve standing up straight in a glass.</p> <h2>7. Bacon-Wrapped Dates</h2> <p>Simple bacon is a cheaper alternative to more expensive cured meats. Dried dates, while not dirt cheap, are definitely affordable. This simple appetizer is super easy but so delicious with its combination of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sweet-and-salty-snacks-you-can-make-at-home">salty and sweet</a>. Cut bacon slices in half crosswise and wrap each half around a large pitted Medjool date. Place seam side down on a baking sheet and bake at 450⁰F for 10-15 minutes until bacon is cooked and crisp. Serve warm on toothpicks.</p> <h2>8. Hummus or Edamame Dip</h2> <p>Everyone loves to gather around a bowl of dip. Hummus is both cheap and delicious, and you can dress it up any way you like. In a food processor, purée two cans of garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained), 2 cloves of garlic, the juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil or tahini, a pinch of salt, and just enough water to help the processor to blend all the ingredients. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika, and serve with pita chips. For an Asian twist, substitute edamame (green soybeans) for the garbanzo beans &mdash; buy inexpensive frozen shelled edamame and blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute to thaw. Finish with a sprinkle of wasabi powder and serve with rice crisps.</p> <h2>9. Simple Crostini</h2> <p>Grab a baguette, slice it into thin rounds, and toast or grill the rounds. Top with a variety of toppings such as simple tomatoes and basil, mashed avocado and sea salt, sweet tri-color peppers, or browned buttery mushrooms. Drizzle everything with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cooking-oils-for-your-heart-and-wallet">flavorful olive oil</a> and serve.</p> <h2>10. Sliced Sausages</h2> <p>Pick up a selection of good quality bratwurst at the deli and grill them. &nbsp;Using a sharp knife, cut them diagonally into rounds. Arrange them on a platter and serve with an assortment of mustards and sauces. For example, try a whole grain mustard, a Dijon mustard, and a &ldquo;curry&rdquo; ketchup (available at German markets or Cost Plus). Since each guest will only be sampling a few slices, you can keep your costs down.</p> <p><em>Do you have a go-to appetizer that is both frugal and elegant?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-but-classy-appetizers" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Frugal-but-Classy Appetizers " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Food and Drink budget parties entertaining frugal appetizers Mon, 10 Dec 2012 10:48:36 +0000 Camilla Cheung 955894 at http://www.wisebread.com How To Host A New Year's Eve Party On A Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-new-years-eve-party-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-host-a-new-years-eve-party-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new%20year%20party.jpg" alt="new year party" title="new year party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="290" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With the New Year celebration just around the corner from the Christmas shopping season, many people skip hosting a New Year's Eve party due to financial concerns. With just a little planning, you won't have to miss out on the fun - host a great party and stick to a budget with these tips!</p> <p><b>Keep The Food Simple </b></p> <p>It's tough to have a New Year's Eve bash without food and drinks! Keeping your party expenses on a budget is possible if you remember to keep it simple. You don't have to serve a three course meal to entertain party guests &ndash; go for finger foods and appetizers! They're easier to serve, easier to eat while standing around chatting with friends, and far less expensive than trying to feed a big crowd a full meal. If you start your party later in the evening, most guests will have dinner before they arrive, anyway!</p> <p>Ask everyone on the guest list to bring along their favorite snack or dessert to share. This is becoming extremely commonplace and surely your friends and family will be more than happy to contribute to the party.</p> <p><b>Stock The Bar</b></p> <p>Most home party goers would not expect you to have a full bar. One way to keep your beverage costs down is to decide on one or two signature drinks, such as Martini's or Daiquiri's, and then provide beer and some non-alcoholic options. Alternatively, you could ask guests to bring their own beverages, or make a fruity punch to share.</p> <p>How do you know how much you need without overbuying (or running out half-way through the party?) You can expect guests to have two drinks each the first hour and then about one drink every hour they hang out at your party.</p> <ul> <li>A Bottle of Wine: 5 servings</li> </ul> <ul> <li>A Bottle of Champagne: 6 servings</li> </ul> <ul> <li>One Liter Alcohol: 22 mixed drinks</li> </ul> <p><b>Create Ambiance</b></p> <p>You don't have to hang balloons and paper streamers all over the house to prove you're having a party. Dim the lights, light candles, and consider hanging red Christmas lights around your home to create a party ambiance. Complete the look with a red table cloth and red carnations in a pretty bowl or vase and the mood will be set for an evening of entertainment!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-new-years-eve-party-on-a-budget" class="sharethis-link" title="How To Host A New Year&#039;s Eve Party On A Budget" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living Consumer Affairs Lifestyle Art and Leisure budget parties host part new years eve Fri, 26 Dec 2008 19:28:09 +0000 Debbie Dragon 2677 at http://www.wisebread.com