party food http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8336/all en-US 10 Delicious Tater Tot Recipes http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-tater-tot-recipes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-delicious-tater-tot-recipes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000039736244_Large.jpg" alt="tater tot recipes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tater tots, those crispy-outside, pillowy-on-the-inside puffs of deliciousness, are absolutely wonderful just the way they are. Everyone loves them, including the folks who insist you can make them out of cauliflower or broccoli. Those are not bad, but they ain't tots.</p> <p>Aside from being tasty, tots also lend themselves to be dressed up, wrapped in meat, drenched with sauce, and piled high with your other favorite ingredients. Here are 10 delicious ideas to try. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-exciting-new-potato-recipes-you-must-try?ref=seealso">25 Exciting New Potato Recipes You Must Try</a>)</p> <h2>1. Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots</h2> <p>Easily coming in at number one are these obscenely delicious little bites. Preheat your oven to 425&ordm; F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut strips of bacon into thirds and wrap the tots. Place seam-side down on the parchment and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the whole tot is crispy. I found I needed to taste-test several of them to ensure perfect bacon-potato cohesiveness. The only problem with this tot treatment is that, after eating a tater tot wrapped in bacon, a plain one is a little sad and disappointing.</p> <h2>2. Totchos</h2> <p>Move over, nacho bar &mdash; we've got <em>Totchos</em>. Dust your tater tots with a little Mexican-style seasoning before baking. When crispy, layer with shredded Pepper Jack cheese, chopped tomatoes, browned ground beef, a can of drained chiles, salsa, and sour cream. The main difference between Totchos and Nachos is that Totchos are more efficiently eaten with a fork. Tots are not engineered to serve as a scooping vessel.</p> <h2>3. Tot Waffles</h2> <p>A fun fad lately is to see just what sorts of food you can put into a waffle iron. Not surprisingly, tater tots are among the best. The secret here is patience. I cheated and opened the lid too soon. This causes the potatoes to fall apart and lack the necessary crispiness. Also, either thaw your tater tots or microwave them a little to soften up, as they need to be pliable.</p> <p>To make a tot-waffle, preheat your waffle iron and spray with nonstick olive oil spray. Add a generous layer of tots. Close the lid and cook until crispy. My iron took about 10 minutes. Remove and add toppings &mdash; fried egg, bacon, and ketchup are good. You can cook two of them and make a sandwich, too.</p> <h2>4. Comfort Casserole</h2> <p>For those of you prone to stress eating &mdash; or relaxed eating &mdash; this casserole is for you. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray. Combine a 32-oz bag of tater tots, a can of creamed soup (mushroom, chicken, shrimp), eight oz of sour cream, and half the soup can of milk. Pour into the casserole dish and top with two cups of shredded cheese. Bake at 350&ordm; F for 30 minutes; remove and top with half a can of French's crispy fried onions. Bake for another 10 minutes. I promise you will feel better.</p> <h2>5. Skewered Tots</h2> <p>Isn't food on a skewer more fun to eat? I'm guessing that the novelty of skewers makes us think of parties, or of exotic places. Whatever the reason, tots on a stick are a winner. Start by baking tots according to package directions. Cool enough so that you can touch them, and then thread onto bamboo skewers. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar and bacon bits; drizzle with Sriracha. Return to oven until cheese melts.</p> <h2>6. Tater Tacos</h2> <p>I like my fish tacos to have a lot of crunch to them, with very crispy breaded fish and fresh cabbage. Next time you make fish tacos, bake some tater tots, cut them in half, and toss into the tacos. Add a lime-cilantro crema, chopped tomatoes, and avocado, and chow down.</p> <h2>7. Chili Tots</h2> <p>I've tried chili with rice, pumpkin, cornbread, tortilla chips &mdash; you name it, and I've had it. And they're all great, but wait until you try it with crispy tater tots. Bake as directed and put a handful into a soup bowl. Ladle chili over the tots and top with shredded cheese. Yum.</p> <h2>8. Breakfast Omelet Cups</h2> <p>This ingenious recipe combines <a href="http://www.raininghotcoupons.com/omelet-breakfast-bites/">tater tots</a>, plus other delicious breakfast ingredients, into portable omelet cups. Tuck a couple into your lunch bag and heat at the office.</p> <h2>9. Baby Buffalo Taters</h2> <p>Crazy about that buffalo spicy flavor? Combine one tub of sour cream with a &frac12; cup of bleu cheese. Drizzle with Frank's RedHot Sauce. Heat tater tots and dip away. This is good with beer and the traditional celery sticks.</p> <h2>10. Spice 'Em Up</h2> <p>A tater tot is pretty much a blank canvas that can fit the flavor profile of your meal. Try garam masala for Indian flavors, chili powder for Mexican zest, or even a Japanese furikake sprinkle. Pair with a yogurt tip, queso, or gyoza sauce.</p> <p><em>Have you tried any of these tater treatments? What is your favorite?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-tater-tot-recipes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-cool-uses-for-a-blender">14 Cool Uses for a Blender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-good-food-goes-bad-part-ii-tortillas-and-tortilla-chips">When Good Food Goes Bad, Part II: Tortillas and Tortilla Chips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-secret-ingredients-for-more-delicious-dishes">4 “Secret” Ingredients for More Delicious Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink easy snacks Food party food potatoes recipes tater tot tater tot recipes Wed, 06 Apr 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Marla Walters 1684937 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 122 Scrumptious Super Bowl Party Snack Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-122-scrumptious-super-bowl-party-snack-ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-122-scrumptious-super-bowl-party-snack-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/super_bowl_food_000073928407.jpg" alt="Making scrumptious super bowl party food ideas" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you ready for some football? The majority of Americans certainly are, as the Super Bowl is probably the most celebrated non-national holiday of the year. Come Monday, you'll hear countless coworkers complaining about not getting the day off to recover from the gluttonous consumption of adult beverages and salty, cheese-covered snacks. Because like Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl is all about the food, and a little bit about football, of course.</p> <p>Here are over 100 delicious Super Bowl party food ideas to fill the bellies of you and your famished football-loving friends.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/food-154197215.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-healthier-appetizers">20 Delicious, Healthier Appetizers</a> &mdash; If we all counted our calories on Super Bowl Sunday, the number would instantly sober us up. But football foods don't need to filled with fat and salt. Here are 20 ways to make delectable, classic apps a little less unhealthy.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-super-bowl-party-ideas">Frugal Super Bowl Party Ideas</a> &mdash; Hosting a Super Bowl party can get expensive. So here are a few ideas on how to throw a killer football bash on a budget &mdash; including a grilled cheese station!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/chips-177377636.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dorito-bread-and-24-other-amazing-recipes-you-must-try">Dorito Bread and 24 Other Amazing Recipes You Must Try</a> &mdash; If you haven't tasted homemade Dorito bread, you truly haven't lived. So here's how to make that and other amazing snacks that you'll want to eat everyday forever &mdash; including cookie dough dip.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy (or Lazy) Vegetarians</a> &mdash; Meat is not a must on Super Bowl Sunday. In fact, these slow cooker recipes will please your vegetarian guests, without having to put in much time or effort. Score!</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-cheap-spring-roll-wrappers-at-every-meal">20 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Cheap Spring Roll Wrappers at Every Meal</a> &mdash; Egg roll wrappers are yummy, low-budget wonders. You can put everything from bbq chicken to cheesecake inside and bake for about 20 minutes. The options are endless and the results are delish.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/food-491329701.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-exciting-new-potato-recipes-you-must-try">25 Exciting New Potato Recipes You Must Try</a> &mdash; Is there such a thing as too many potato dishes? Nope. Potatoes are essential for Super Bowl recipes, and here are 25 new ways to make your favorite starch.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-15-junk-food-favorites-healthier-and-cheaper-at-home">Make 15 Junk Food Favorites Healthier and Cheaper at Home</a> &mdash; If only you could make your own Chicken McNuggets and Slurpees that taste as good as the fast food originals&hellip; *Sigh* Oh wait, you can! Use these cooking hacks to make your fave fast food delicacies healthier and cheaper, at home.</p> <p><em>What will you be snacking on during the Super Bowl? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-122-scrumptious-super-bowl-party-snack-ideas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-104-sweet-ways-to-celebrate-valentines-day">Flashback Friday: 104 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-119-amazing-meals-you-can-make-from-a-can">Flashback Friday: 119 Amazing Meals You Can Make From a Can</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-107-best-breakfast-hacks-to-start-your-day-off-right">Flashback Friday: The 107 Best Breakfast Hacks to Start Your Day Off Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-41-coffee-hacks-that-will-instantly-improve-your-morning">Flashback Friday: 41 Coffee Hacks That Will Instantly Improve Your Morning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-106-delicious-lunches-that-will-make-you-excited-to-brown-bag-it">Flashback Friday: 106 Delicious Lunches That Will Make You Excited to Brown-Bag It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment Food and Drink fbf flashback friday Food frugal foods party food Super Bowl Super Bowl Party Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:00:03 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1650902 at http://www.wisebread.com Throw an Awesome Potluck Dinner With These 6 Easy Tricks http://www.wisebread.com/throw-an-awesome-potluck-dinner-with-these-6-easy-tricks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/throw-an-awesome-potluck-dinner-with-these-6-easy-tricks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/potluck_000031426074.jpg" alt="friends gather together for easy potluck dinner" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want to eat well and spend less at your next social gathering? Consider hosting an informal potluck dinner. We throw the majority of our parties this way, and we can typically accommodate up to 10 people on a dime, which includes providing a main dish, dessert, and some beverages. Aside from the savings, potlucks give friends and family the opportunity to try new dishes (or showcase old favorites) and flex their cooking muscles. It's both fun <em>and</em> frugal.</p> <h2>1. Think Scope</h2> <p>How big will your party be? If it's just a few friends or another couple, your planning will be pretty easy and compact. A standard recipe yield should work just fine. For larger get-togethers, you'll want to ask your guests to make servings enough for themselves and at least six to eight other people, depending. Choose a date at least a few weeks in advance to give your guests time to plan and execute their dishes.</p> <h2>2. Consider a Theme</h2> <p>If your friends have eclectic tastes, feel free to skip this step. However, to avoid some pretty funky food combinations (think lasagna and General Tso's chicken), try sending your guests an overall theme for their dishes. You can go Italian, Mexican, Asian, French, BBQ, American, seafood, vegetarian, small bites, or even try cooking meals from one cookbook. Choose a cuisine that will fit your guests' tastes and budgets. (For example: No truffles or foie gras required.)</p> <h2>3. Organize Food</h2> <p>Ask your friends to tell you what they plan to bring well ahead of time so you won't see repeats of the same dish. If you invite people via social media or other online invitation services, this can be as easy as having them post the info on the wall or notes section. You don't want to discourage excitement over certain foods, but your goal is to create a well-rounded culinary experience that everyone can appreciate. The exception to this rule is if you want to have a party with variations on the same food (think different types of pizza or pasta, etc.).</p> <h2>4. Make the Main</h2> <p>As the host, you are responsible for the main dish to serve. Make a generous portion that will fill all the bellies at the party. And whenever we throw potlucks, we also provide the bulk of the nonalcoholic beverages, some beer or wine, and a dessert (if the group is small or no one offers). Overall, you'll want to see how your party is balanced and try to fill in the gaps as you see fit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes?ref=seealso">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Dishes</a>)</p> <h2>5. Shop Around</h2> <p>While you're looking for ingredients to feed a crowd, try shopping at discount grocery stores like Aldi. The food is great and definitely wallet-friendly. For parties, I especially like their selection of cheeses, hummus, fresh berries, chips, and beverages. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-from-aldi?ref=seealso">10 Things You Should Never Buy From Aldi</a>)</p> <h2>6. Label Everything</h2> <p>Provide note cards for guests to write down the ingredients they've put in their dishes. This will help people with dietary restrictions stay safe and happy. For example, vegans might like to know there's cream in that tomato sauce. People with peanut allergies might not imagine that those cookies are made with nut butter. If a friend does have a severe food allergy, mention it in the invitation (not by name, of course) so people can avoid that ingredient entirely.</p> <p><em>What are your tips for throwing an awesome potluck?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throw-an-awesome-potluck-dinner-with-these-6-easy-tricks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-dinner-party-dishes-you-can-make-in-advance">15 Easy Dinner Party Dishes You Can Make in Advance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20">A Dinner Party for 6: Feed &#039;Em for Under $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas">Class Without Tons of Cash: Frugal Cocktail Party Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-tater-tot-recipes">10 Delicious Tater Tot Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink dinner parties party food planning potlucks Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1359591 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guacamole-tortilla-chip-bowl-iStock_000045517056_Small.jpg" alt="guacamole bowl" title="guacamole bowl" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There it sat, barely touched: A large earthenware bowl of tabbouleh and black-bean salad, painstakingly decorated with tomato slices and a rim of curly lettuce. Its owner had clearly put effort into her potluck dish, but no one was eating it. And why not? Sadly, that's just not what people want to eat at office potlucks.</p> <p>During 31 years of office work, I have participated in more potlucks than I can possibly count. Even though there may be a lot of talk about dieting and healthy eating during the workweek, trust me: <em>That goes out the window at a potluck</em>. Don't be the person whose potluck item sits, wallflower-like, next to the popular queso. Don't suffer the embarrassment of asking your co-workers if they want to take some quinoa salad home.</p> <p>Here are 20 sure-fire potluck foods that I have ranked in order of popularity.</p> <h2>1. Deviled Eggs</h2> <p>Coming in at number one is <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/classic-deviled-eggs-recipe.html">deviled eggs</a>. Nobody ever, <em>ever</em> goes home with a plate of uneaten deviled eggs. My co-worker Bridget, who had three kids, would bring a giant platter of deviled eggs to the office on the Monday after each Easter. They'd be gone before break time. You can dress them up with horseradish, bacon bits, snips of chive, or green onion. It really doesn't matter, because people are going to eat them all, even if they are unadorned.</p> <h2>2. Hot Artichoke Dip</h2> <p>My problem with <a href="http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/hot-artichoke-dip-52359.aspx">hot artichoke dip</a> is that I want to eat it all, and I don't want to share. If it is on the potluck table, you'll find me standing next to it. I never make it because I would eat it immediately, and then I would have no potluck item.</p> <p>I do, however, have a couple of recipe tweaks</p> <p>I like to add half a can of spicy chilis for a little zip. Secondly, sorry to start the mayonnaise versus Miracle Whip debate again, but for me, mayonnaise only. It doesn't matter what kind of crackers you serve alongside. Cardboard would get eaten with a layer of this stuff.</p> <h2>3. Meatballs</h2> <p>Coming in at number three are The Meatballs. You <em>know</em> which <a href="http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/3-ingredient-sweet-and-sour-meatballs/0a8cdda2-b003-4043-b819-a0bb92d53cb8">sweet and sour meatballs</a> I am referring to. They also make frequent appearances at Super Bowl parties. The ingredients are ridiculously easy: meatballs, chili sauce, and grape jelly. You can mix it up and use barbecue sauce or other types of jelly, or even cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. The trick is to put them into a Crock-Pot, which you set up in the office kitchen, and the aroma fills the air around 10:00 a.m. They smell great. I actually once caught a co-worker stealing one out of the Crock-Pot before the potluck. I use frozen turkey meatballs, which aren't as oily when heated. People will actually ask me &quot;Are you going to bring The Meatballs?&quot; when we have office potlucks.</p> <h2>4. Guacamole and Chips</h2> <p>I have never met anyone who didn't like <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/guacamole-recipe.html">fresh guacamole</a>. I am sure you're out there, but your numbers must be few. Watch out for the double-dippers. Do not make guacamole too far ahead of time, or you risk having it turn an unappetizing shade of brown.</p> <h2>5. Mexican Layered Dip</h2> <p>This <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-ever-layered-mexican-dip/">Mexican dip</a> is also called &quot;five-layer dip&quot; and &quot;seven-layer dip.&quot; They are all pretty similar: refried beans, cheese, sour cream, olives, onions, etc. If you own a quiche dish, that's a better vehicle than a pie plate. Pro tip, buy the really sturdy tortilla chips; that way people aren't breaking off their chips when they dip into this thick extravaganza.</p> <h2>6. Jumbo Shrimp With Cocktail Sauce</h2> <p>If you want to splurge on something that will impress the potluckers, here is a star. This is what you will hear: &quot;Oooh. Who brought the shrimp?&quot; I'm cheap, so I buy my shrimp, clean it, and cook it myself. But if you find a good price, it's so much easier just to buy it ready to serve.</p> <h2>7. Pizza</h2> <p>Getting a pizza for a potluck may seem like cheating, but it's actually genius. First off, most people love pizza. Secondly, you don't have to cook. Lastly, you can have it delivered. Sure, there are the people who will roll their eyes at your minimum effort, but watch that pie disappear.</p> <h2>8. Little Smokies Wrapped in Bacon</h2> <p>Arguably, the <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bacon-wrapped-smokies/">bacon-wrapped lil' smokies</a> could have gone higher on the list. I love this recipe, which offers this unapologetic quote: &quot;Time consuming but it is well worth it! The brown sugar and bacon grease combine beautifully and give such a great taste.&quot; Yup.</p> <h2>9. Strawberry Pretzel Salad</h2> <p>I am one of those people who says &quot;I don't really care for Jell-O.&quot; And then, out comes <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/strawberry-pretzel-salad-2/">strawberry pretzel salad</a> or broken glass Jell-O (below), and darned if I don't eat it. And like it. Anything that has a layer of cream cheese&hellip; well, I want to be polite, right?</p> <h2>10. Queso Dip</h2> <p>Yes, this <a href="http://lilluna.com/hamburger-queso-dip/">hamburger queso dip</a> contains Velveeta cheese. If you can't handle the idea of processed cheese, here is an <a href="http://www.celebrationgeneration.com/blog/2011/09/26/how-to-make-proper-queso-dip-aka-velveeta-is-not-fit-for-human-consumption/">alternative recipe for queso</a>. This is another great item to bring to your potluck in a Crock-Pot, plug in, and forget it. Plus, you won't have to fight others for the microwave when it's time to roll out the food.</p> <h2>11. Tortilla Roll-Ups</h2> <p>I really like it when <em>other people</em> make these <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/cream-cheese-roll-ups-aka-redneck-sushi.html">tortilla roll-ups</a>. I love to eat them; I'm terrible at assembling them. They travel well, which makes them a super potluck food. This recipe uses bacon, but more common are deli ham or turkey. I also like using diced chilis for added spiciness.</p> <h2>12. Potato Salad</h2> <p>Were you getting panicky wondering, &quot;Where is potato salad on this list?&quot; Of course we have to have potato salad on the potluck list! Like deviled eggs, it always goes. I had been using this<a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/margies-potato-salad-with-italian-dressing-374385"> potato salad recipe</a> for years. Last week, I was out of pre-made Italian dressing (the sort of translucent kind), so I used Olive Garden's store-bought brand and let those potatoes marinate. Holy smokes! That was a good move.</p> <h2>13. Layered Salad</h2> <p>This particular dish has several other names, such as &quot;<a href="http://www.mrfood.com/Misc-Salads/Chilled-Stacked-Salad">stacked salad</a>&quot; or &quot;rainbow salad.&quot; My mother made it a day ahead of potluck time and called it a &quot;24-hour salad.&quot; Whatever you call it, people like it. Why? Well, it's salad&hellip; sort of. It contains mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, and bacon bits. My mother included a layer of bleu cheese in hers. People who are &quot;dieting&quot; will happily shovel it up. The trick? Use a clear bowl, so that your co-workers can see the pretty layers before you toss it.</p> <h2>14. Wings</h2> <p>Don't get me wrong. I love wings, but dang. They are messy. It's one thing if it's Casual Friday and I'm in jeans, but if I am in dry-clean only, I will probably avoid these. However, people do scarf them. If you use this <a href="http://damndelicious.net/2014/10/01/slow-cooker-sticky-chicken-wings/">slow cooker chicken wings</a> recipe, they can go in your Crock-Pot and make life easier.</p> <h2>15. Bundt Cakes</h2> <p>Bundts always look sporty (and who can forget that scene from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPvO53JHnmY">My Big Fat Greek Wedding</a>), and they're great either in their original shape or sliced. I like potluck foods that are easily transported. There are tons of <a href="http://www.mrfood.com/cakes/best-bundt-cake-recipes">bundt cake recipes</a> out there. Plus, a bundt can be very easily made from a mix. I just made a chocolate and yellow &quot;marbled&quot; one that looks terrific.</p> <h2>16. Baked Brie</h2> <p>This showy, cheesy dish usually makes its appearances at potlucks during the holidays, but a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/baked-brie-recipe.html">baked brie</a> is so easy, you might want to consider it for other occasions, too. A more holiday-ish version is to use raspberry jam in place of the honey.</p> <h2>17. Broken Glass Jell-O</h2> <p>This is a very pretty potluck item, and again, even the &quot;I don't like Jell-O&quot; people are going to dig in. <a href="http://justjennrecipes.com/broken-glass-jello/">Broken glass Jell-O</a> is simple to make, and you can use whatever colors strike your fancy. Its main drawback is that it takes a lot of room in the refrigerator, so if you make it, plan for needing some space.</p> <h2>18. Potato Chips and Onion Dip</h2> <p>So easy it's ridiculous, but everyone is going to eat this. Take it up a notch, at least, and make your own <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/onion-dip-from-scratch-recipe.html">homemade onion dip</a>. It's not hard, and you can loudly take credit for making it from scratch. Another notch? Make your own <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4foQumyJKAk">homemade potato chips</a>!</p> <h2>19. Spinach Dip</h2> <p>I know, I know&hellip; it's so 1980s. But it was good then, and it's good now. This updated <a href="http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/spinach-dip-in-bread-bowl/acf85231-d668-4448-acd0-aa6fc1ee6b3e">spinach dip recipe</a> uses yogurt rather than the traditional sour cream and mayonnaise. It's best not to hollow out your bread bowl too far ahead of time to prevent it from going stale. This is a trickier item to transport, so if you can finish it up at the office, that is a good way to go.</p> <h2>20. Baked Beans</h2> <p>In last place, but not because people don't like them &mdash; they do &mdash; are <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/08/the-best-baked-beans-ever/">baked beans</a>. They aren't as showy as some of the other items above, but they still taste great. I have to agree with the Pioneer Woman &mdash; this is the best recipe for them around. I bake ahead of time, then reheat in the Crock-Pot (again, making them more easily transportable).</p> <p>Any of the 20 items listed above will get eaten at a potluck. Remember to label your serving pieces and dishes with your name so that you don't lose them. Also, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. You can use a little instant read thermometer, which is easy to pack. Enjoy the food and camaraderie!</p> <p><em>What are your go-to potluck favorites? Please share in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F20%20Office%20Potluck%20Dishes%20Everyone%20Loves.jpg&amp;description=20%20Office%20Potluck%20Dishes%20Everyone%20Loves" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/20%20Office%20Potluck%20Dishes%20Everyone%20Loves.jpg" alt="20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-cool-uses-for-a-blender">14 Cool Uses for a Blender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-classic-desserts-we-all-miss">17 Classic Desserts We All Miss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-expensive-recipe-ingredients-that-are-easy-to-replace">8 Expensive Recipe Ingredients That Are Easy to Replace</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-tater-tot-recipes">10 Delicious Tater Tot Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-twinkies-and-other-secret-recipes-by-the-food-cloner-dude">“Make your own Twinkies” and other secret recipes by the Food Cloner Dude.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink General Tips Office party food potluck recipes Mon, 16 Mar 2015 14:00:10 +0000 Marla Walters 1338584 at http://www.wisebread.com You Can Throw a Fun and Affordable Holiday Party — Here's How http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-throw-a-fun-and-affordable-holiday-party-heres-how <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/you-can-throw-a-fun-and-affordable-holiday-party-heres-how" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-christmas-party-450076653-small.jpg" alt="friends christmas party" title="friends christmas party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Holiday parties are a fun part of the season, and hosting one can be a blast. The trick is to throw a fun party without spending your gift shopping budget to make it happen. Luckily, there are some easy ways to make your party fun without breaking the bank. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-gifts-you-can-bring-to-a-holiday-party?ref=seealso">7 Budget Gifts You Can Bring to a Holiday Party</a>)</p> <h2>Pare Down the Guest List</h2> <p>The more the merrier, right? It's not quite that simple if you're the host (AKA the treasurer). Consider whittling down your guest list for the party and you'll save a good chunk of change while providing a more intimate gathering. If you still want to invite that old co-worker, fitness instructor, and the mailman, then go for a potluck or BYOB (more on that in a moment).</p> <h2>Get the Timing Right</h2> <p>If you don't want to serve a full meal and deal with all of the requirements it brings, try having your party at a non-eating time. Eight at night or later is acceptable for not providing dinner unless you state otherwise. Plus, many people will go out to eat just before, and therefore won't need a snack until later. If you'd like to have a less boozy gathering that won't last until the wee hours, a Sunday evening party is perfect. For a (nearly) booze-less gathering, host a cookie or tree-trimming party in the afternoon, and you can squeeze by with warm cider and cookies.</p> <h2>Decorate Resourcefully</h2> <p>There's no need to blow your budget on party decorations. For lighting, simply gather all of the candles you own and cluster them on a main table before lighting them. Or buy a couple of strings of cheap holiday lights and <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/home-organizing-new-uses-for-old-things/new-uses-mason-jars/night-light">stick them in jars</a>. Instead of buying expensive flowers, take trimmings from an evergreen tree, branches with berries, and pine cones and make a seasonal arrangement.</p> <p>One of the easiest ways to decorate for a party is to use food. Put those pretty cookies you made (or your nice friend brought over) on a platter. Put pretty citrus on plates and in bowls for decoration, and then use them for cocktails or snacking. Fill bowls with candy that guests can snack on and take home.</p> <p>You can even make decorating the central theme. Have a tree-trimming party and either have everyone <a href="http://www.redtedart.com/2012/09/15/homemade-christmas-tree-ornaments/">make decorations</a> as an activity when they arrive or bring an ornament with them as their contribution to the party.</p> <h2>BYO All Sorts of Things</h2> <p>Don't be afraid to ask guests to bring key items with them to your party. The most common example is to have people bring their own drinks, such as wine. This tried-and-true method can majorly cut down on a big party budget eater: alcohol. You can get more creative with BYOB and have people bring a mixer and you supply the liquor for a nice cocktail bar (or reverse it and have your guests bring the booze). Or have a holiday wine tasting, and have everyone bring a bottle to share.</p> <p>Throw a cookie party this year &mdash; ask guests to bring cookies to share and create a sweet display. Supply a salty snack or two and something to drink and you're done! If you're having a smaller gathering, have guests specifically bring cookies for decorating and <a href="http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/best-sugar-cookie-icing-ever/">provide the icing</a> and sprinkles for a fun afternoon.</p> <h2>Feed Your Guests (Without Going Broke)</h2> <p>Food can be a major expense for holiday parties, but you don't have to spend big to have a great time. A potluck is a classic way to nearly eliminate this expense, and it's a fun way to socialize and sample new dishes. Try basing your potluck party around a theme, even if that's just &quot;holiday meal,&quot; and let everyone know what you're making as the main course so they can plan accordingly.</p> <p>It's no secret that when it comes to food, it's almost always cheaper to do it yourself. So forget catering, and get thee to the kitchen! Even if you're not a cook, you can whip up some easy but satisfying snacks. Try swapping a pricey cheese platter for a <a href="http://pocketchangegourmet.com/homemade-cheese-ball-gifts-from-the-kitchen/">homemade cheese ball</a> with crackers and crudites (slice the veggies yourself &mdash; it's much cheaper than buying them cut up at the grocery). Bread fills people up, so put out a variety of <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/toast-crostini-recipes/?slide=1">crostini</a> to nibble on. And a bowl of homemade popcorn is super cheap and always a hit.</p> <p>If you can stand the clean up, use your own &quot;real&quot; dishes, utensils and glasses. If your crowd is too big or the lack of a dishwasher makes it all feel impossible, head to your local dollar store for disposables.</p> <h2>Festive Drinking The Cheap Way</h2> <p>If you're offering up drinks as part of your party deal, a great way to please a crowd is with punch. It frees you up to use cheaper booze without anyone being the wiser, and you can stretch the alcohol with mixers. An <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.browneyedbaker.com/hot-apple-cider-rum-punch-recipe/">apple cider punch</a> or mulled wine are great for a winter party and can go a long way.</p> <p>If you want to serve a proper cocktail, consider using prosecco. It tastes and looks festive, but for the taste and the bubbles, it costs much less than it's counterparts.</p> <h2>Free Entertainment</h2> <p>No party is complete without a soundtrack. Find <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.pbs.org/specials/2013-holiday-playlists/">holiday playlists</a> on an online streaming or radio service and just press play. Put Christmas movies that you own or are streaming for free on your TV in the background (or perhaps a <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH79BmeeM0o">crackling fireplace</a>). Mix things up by playing games like Celebrity, Who Am I? and <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Mafia">Mafia</a>, all of which are totally free and great fun with a group.</p> <h2>Affordable Gifting</h2> <p>If you'd like to include a gifting element, an always fun and budget-friendly game of Secret Santa is an easy solution. Set a spending limit as low as you like and let people get creative. That way, everyone (including you) only has to buy one gift instead of 15, and it's a fun party game. You can also send your guests home with gifts, but make them dual purpose: gift your party decorations (such as ornaments), or pack everyone little gift bags with an assortment of the cookies they brought.</p> <p><em>What are your tips for an affordable holiday bash?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-throw-a-fun-and-affordable-holiday-party-heres-how">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-good-hosts-never-do">14 Things Good Hosts Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fabulous-party-ideas-for-the-frugal-minded">Fabulous Party Ideas For The Frugal-Minded</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-birthday-party-games">5 Frugal Birthday Party Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throwing-awesome-parties-on-a-budget">Throwing Awesome Parties on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-gifts-you-can-bring-to-a-holiday-party">7 Budget Gifts You Can Bring to a Holiday Party</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment cheap parties holiday party party party drinks party food Mon, 08 Dec 2014 22:00:07 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1264764 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Easy Dinner Party Dishes You Can Make in Advance http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-dinner-party-dishes-you-can-make-in-advance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-easy-dinner-party-dishes-you-can-make-in-advance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/party-459961049.jpg" alt="dinner party" title="dinner party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If the idea of hosting a dinner party frightens you, you are not alone. I still remember the trauma of my first one. By the time you shop for ingredients, clean your house, and cook, that makes for a fairly exhausting day. However, if you choose one of the menus below (either casual or fancy), you can do some, or all, of your preparation ahead of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20?ref=seealso">Feed a Party of 6 for Under $20</a>)</p> <h2>1. Crab Cakes With Remoulade</h2> <p>Sounds fancy, eh? I love the way &quot;<a href="http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=remoulade">remoulade</a>&quot; sounds. It just rolls off of your tongue. Well, it rolls off of the tongue of the guy in that link, anyway. <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/remoulade-sauce-a-la-new-orleans/">Sauce Remoulade</a> will really dress up a <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/my-crab-cakes/">crab cake</a>. Further advantage: You can make both the sauce and the crab cakes ahead of time. I like an <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/asian-slaw-recipe.html">Asian Coleslaw</a> (non-mayonnaise dressing) and a scoop of rice on the side.</p> <p>For dessert? Melona (melon) popsicles.</p> <h2>2. Chili</h2> <p>I think I could make this <a href="http://www.cooks.com/recipe/dv5c49wo/gila-river-bowl-of-red.html">chili</a> in my sleep, I have made it so often! In fact, we pulled a container of it out of the freezer last night and heated it up. It is best made at least a day ahead, making it a great choice for a party. We like ours with tortilla chips, but I have also served it with cornbread. When it's party time, I like to set out bowls of salsa, sour cream, chopped avocado, onions, and shredded cheese so that guests can choose their own toppings.</p> <p>Dessert? Vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.</p> <h2>3. Boeuf Bourguignon</h2> <p>Yes, this is <a href="http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/julia-childs-beef-bourguignon/f7e0a6c5-710d-4c83-89a6-2a4936fec81a">Julia Child's beef bourguignon</a> recipe, and I am fond of it because it was an early newlywed success. Those were far and few between so the winners really stuck with me. I especially love the reference to a &quot;young and full-bodied red wine,&quot; which I interpret as &quot;cheap red wine,&quot; always available in my wine cellar. In a box. But I digress. This recipe serves six, which I think is a dandy dinner-party size. Serve with a crusty French bread and a simple tossed salad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-make-cheap-cuts-of-meat-taste-expensive?ref=seealso">How to Make Cheap Cuts of Meat Taste Expensive</a>)</p> <p>Because this is a heavier entree, try a <a href="http://www.easy-french-food.com/peach-melba-recipe.html">Peach Melba</a> for dessert.</p> <h2>4. Jambalaya</h2> <p>Jambalaya (go ahead, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnKOVPXhlnE">sing along</a>) has a festive air to it. Off the top of my head, I can think of three different families who make it either for Christmas or New Year's. It's great year-round, and it's a fun party food. There are many variations, but I really like <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/cajun-jambalaya-recipe2.html">Emeril's jambalaya</a> because it goes together so quickly. It's a little spicy, so serve a coleslaw on the side.</p> <p><a href="http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/mardigras/neworleansdessertrecipes/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Icebox-Pie-356829">Lemon Icebox Pie</a> is a pretty and delicious dessert. I cheat and buy the ready-made graham cracker pie crusts.</p> <h2>5. &quot;Chicken Curry&quot;</h2> <p>My mother-in-law made delicious &quot;Chicken Curry&quot; for most special family occasions. I think she favored it because it is very child-friendly. Put a scoop of warm rice on a plate, add some <a href="http://www.cooks.com/recipe/k81zg2j8/madras-curry-sauce.html">sauce</a>, and let everyone choose their favorite toppings. We like: Chutney, chopped peanuts, pickles, hard-boiled eggs, sliced avocados and tomatoes, bacon bits, and grated coconut. This is also a very frugal recipe, as you can use things up. For instance, you might have a few tortilla chips left in a bag, a box of raisins, or a can of mandarins. Be creative! My father-in-law would put a little of ALL of the toppings on his rice; some of the kids would have rice and grated cheese. Everyone, however, goes away happy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-chicken-leg-and-thigh-recipes-from-around-the-world?ref=seealso">15 Chicken and Thigh Recipes</a>)</p> <p><a href="http://www.cooks.com/recipe/in8my1gf/coconut-ice-cream-balls.html">Coconut Ice-Cream Balls</a> are nice for dessert (skipping the liqueur for the kids, of course).</p> <h2>6. Manicotti</h2> <p>It was a struggle whether to recommend a make-ahead lasagna or <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sausage-stuffed-manicotti-10000001886430/">manicotti</a>. I opted for manicotti for a couple of reasons:</p> <ol> <li> <p>Manicotti seems a little more interesting; and</p> </li> <li> <p>I think it is easier to reheat more evenly.</p> </li> </ol> <p>True, it's a little trickier to assemble, but presentation-wise, it's also sportier. Toast some garlic bread, toss a salad, and dinner is served.</p> <p>For dessert, <a href="http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/easy-tiramisu-brownie-bars/ecdcc8f4-e953-4e2d-9426-31cfd46c3bca">Tiramisu Brownie Bars</a> are pretty on a plate that has been dusted with powdered sugar.</p> <h2>7. Crab Casserole</h2> <p>This is a very rich <a href="http://forums.finecooking.com/cookstalk/archives/seafood-casserole?page=1">casserole</a>, containing crab, artichoke hearts, cream, and cheese. Because fresh crab is quite expensive, I have substituted canned, and it is still delicious. It also makes 10 to 12 servings, so it's a good party dish that can be made a day ahead. Side dishes should be very simple, like a tossed salad and rolls. To my taste, Fetzer's Sundial Chardonnay (buttery, crisp, and affordable) is perfect alongside.</p> <p>A tray of seasonal fruit is a light, pretty dessert.</p> <h2>8. Split-Pea Soup</h2> <p><a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Easy-Split-Pea-Soup-1919">Split-Pea</a>, to me, is another of those soups that is really better on day two. This one has ham hocks in it, but I have also made a vegetarian version, leaving them out, and just adding a little smoke flavor (I use the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0005Z8NCM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0005Z8NCM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Colgin</a> brand). It also freezes well, if you really want to get ready for your get-together way before the date. Pair with some <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/easy-whole-wheat-dinner-rolls">whole-wheat rolls</a> for a very healthy, yet comforting, cold-weather meal.</p> <p><a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Old-Fashioned-Lattice-Top-Apple-Pie-102411">Old-Fashioned Lattice-Topped Apple Pie</a> for dessert, anyone?</p> <h2>9. Stratas</h2> <p>Not only <em>can</em> a <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/12/spinach-and-cheese-strata/">strata</a> be made ahead of time, but it <em>must</em> be. The bread cubes need to soak up the egg-and-milk mixture. You might think of them as a breakfast meal, but they work equally well for dinner. They also appeal to my thrifty soul, as they can be tailored to any theme. For instance, leftover mexican cheese, or chilis? Mexican strata. Small bits of mozzarella or pepperoni? Italian strata. You get the picture. Lastly, they can be made meatless for your vegetarian guests or for Meatless Monday. Toss a bagged salad for a side. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-breakfast-for-dinner-meals?ref=seealso">25 Breakfasts for Dinner</a>)</p> <p>Keep the &quot;layered&quot; theme going with this <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/layered-chocolate-pudding-dessert">Layered Chocolate Pudding</a> (my neighbor, Dale, passed on the recipe). This stuff is fantastic and you can also make it ahead of time.</p> <h2>10. Baked Spaghetti</h2> <p>I have made <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-deen/light-baked-spaghetti-recipe.html">baked spaghetti</a> three times in the last six months. It freezes so well! It is a Bobby Deen recipe, and he lightened up his mother's version. Serve with breadsticks, an antipasto platter, and a tossed green salad.</p> <p>Dessert: How does <a href="http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Cannoli-Cream-with-Fresh-Fruit-_Crema-di-Ricotta-alla-Frutta-Fresca_-456675?columns=5&amp;position=2%2F52">Cannoli Cream With Fresh Fruit</a> sound?</p> <h2>11. Sauerbraten</h2> <p>This is another recipe that will force you to get your dinner party ready ahead of time. A <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/kates-easy-german-sauerbraten/">Sauerbraten</a> has to marinate for two to three days before cooking. It serves eight, so this is good for a large party. I love <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/grandma-jeanettes-amazing-german-red-cabbage/">red cabbage</a> with it, and this recipe has apples in it, which makes it really delicious. I cheat on the spaetzle, though, and use packaged egg noodles. Serve with a Rhine wine.</p> <p>Dessert? <a href="http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/black-forest-cake/4e66caed-4e29-4154-a92d-27332162baa4">Black Forest Cake</a>, of course (the easy version).</p> <h2>12. Chicken Kiev</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/chicken-kiev-recipe2.html">Chicken Kiev</a> rolls can be made ahead of time and sit in your refrigerator until you are ready to <em>bake</em> them. Yes, fried is the traditional method, but we're all watching our fat intake and these are healthier. They have a crispy coating, just like the fried ones, using my favorite crumbs, panko. Start with a small cup of <a href="http://thefigtreeblog.com/2012/09/simple-roasted-beet-borscht.html">borscht</a> as an appetizer and serve with noodles and a creamy cucumber salad.</p> <p>I have had a variation on this <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/ukrainian-apple-cake-yabluchnyk/">Ukranian Apple Cake</a> (using plums) and it is quite easy, so it is my dessert suggestion.</p> <h2>13. Fajitas</h2> <p>The flank steak needs to marinate, which will give you the rest of you day to chop up peppers, onions, and get the condiments ready. I love this recipe's step-by-step instructions and the manner in which the <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/03/beef-fajitas/">fajitas</a> are served. These are great with a side of beans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-delicious-and-healthy-black-bean-recipes?ref=seealso">Healthy Black Bean Recipes</a>)</p> <p>Dessert? Vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce.</p> <h2>14. Chicken and Stuffing Bake</h2> <p>I have never known a man who didn't like stuffing. My friend Nancy Jo's sister-in-law served it right out of the bag at Thanksgiving once, and it still got eaten. There are many variations on this recipe for <a href="http://www.cooks.com/recipe/qu87g1sv/creamy-baked-chicken-breasts.html">Chicken and Stuffing</a>, but this one is darn easy. I get it ready to the point of adding the stuffing. Do that when you are closer to getting the chicken into the oven. Serve with steamed broccoli (toss with butter and lemon juice) and rolls.</p> <p>This is comfort food, so keep that theme going with pudding (sure, out of a box) that you can make ahead. Shoot a little whipped cream on the pudding for glamour.</p> <h2>15. Baked Ham</h2> <p>But wait, don't you have to <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/glazed_baked_ham/">bake the ham</a>? Sure, but do it the day before, and then serve it a' la Marla's Grandma, aka&nbsp;<em>cold</em>. Grandma sliced her cold ham and served it with deviled eggs, rolls, carrot and celery sticks, potato salad, and trays of olives. Bam! She was no dummy, and she fed an army with this combo. My husband chimes in: &quot;Dessert was pie <em>and</em> cake.&quot; Yeah, I miss Grandma. This is a kid-friendly meal, too, and my aunts have adopted this Sunday dinner tradition.</p> <p>All right now, I am afraid you are out of excuses about why you cannot entertain.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite make ahead dinner party recipes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-dinner-party-dishes-you-can-make-in-advance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">50 Ways to Use Canned Salmon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-chicken-leg-and-thigh-recipes-from-around-the-world">15 Chicken Leg and Thigh Recipes From Around the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-pizza-night-fun-again-with-these-30-pizza-sauce-alternatives">Make Pizza Night Fun Again With These 30 Pizza Sauce Alternatives</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-tasty-ways-to-use-frozen-spinach">35 Tasty Ways to Use Frozen Spinach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-make-cheap-cuts-of-meat-taste-expensive">25 Easy Ways to Make Cheap Cuts of Meat Taste Expensive</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap recipes dinner party party food Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:48:26 +0000 Marla Walters 1129551 at http://www.wisebread.com Class Without Tons of Cash: Frugal Cocktail Party Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cocktail_party.jpg" alt="Women drinking outside" title="Women drinking outside" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's nothing I love more in the summer than hosting a backyard soiree and playing bartender for friends. But if you're like me and want to impress with fancy cocktails and appetizers, it can be quite costly by the time you add up the price of the booze and other ingredients.</p> <p>However, there are a few tricks to saving money and throwing a summer bash with style. Here are ten ways to maintain your hostess cred without hurting your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fabulous-party-ideas-for-the-frugal-minded">Fabulous Party Ideas for the Frugal Minded</a>)</p> <h3>Buy the Cheap Stuff</h3> <p>If you are making mixed drinks, especially the fruity ones, then you don't need top shelf liquor. You won't be able to taste the difference once you add all the other ingredients. For drinks that call for juice, frozen juices are more cost effective than bottled juice, particularly if you are making a large batch. You don't need name-brand sodas either (except maybe as a treat for the designated drivers). There are several liquors on the market that are cheap but don't taste like rubbing alcohol. Some of my favorites are Sobieski Vodka, Beefeater Gin (you can find cheaper ones, but with gin you don't want to go too cheap), and Ron Castillo White Rum.</p> <h3>Consider Using Mixers</h3> <p>Sometimes it is just easier and cheaper to use a mix. I like to make margaritas with my own secret recipe, but if I'm making a lot of them for guests, I'll break down and just buy the mix. Or, if you aren't the type of person who regularly stocks hot sauce or Worcestershire, buying a bloody Mary mix would be a better option for you. Before you buy, try to find recipes for drinks that call for ingredients you already have.</p> <h3>Ask Guests to Contribute</h3> <p>There's nothing wrong with asking guests to bring a bottle of their favorite liquor or other drinks or snacks, particularly if you are hosting a large party. Plus it gives them more options in case you don't have the fixings for their favorite cocktail. You can also ask people to bring something inexpensive, such as ice or soda, which doesn't put them out but still helps you save on the overall cost. Bug spray is another inexpensive item that may seem like an odd request, but think about it &mdash; who puts on bug spray before a party? All your guests will appreciate this minor detail once the mosquitoes start biting.</p> <h3>Make Sangria</h3> <p>The best part about this is that you do not need a recipe to make really good <a href="http://www.spain-recipes.com/sangriarecipe.html">sangria</a>. And you can also use dirt cheap wine. If you are making other drinks that call for fresh fruit, making sangria is a great way to use the leftover fruit and offer something to guests who don't like mixed drinks. Spiked fruit punch is another cheap and easy way to make a large batch of drinks that go down easy. Here's a <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,171,150191-254207,00.html">simple fruit punch recipe</a> to get you started, but like sangria, there are dozens of ways to customize punch using your favorite ingredients.</p> <h3>Minimize the Number of Ingredients</h3> <p>I often do this when I'm planning a dinner party. For instance, if I'm making a homemade pasta sauce, I will choose an appetizer that uses the same ingredients, such as a bruschetta with garlic and basil. Think about some of the drinks you know you'll want to make before purchasing your ingredients, or what items a bar would typically stock, such as tonic water, seltzer, triple sec, fruit juices, sugar or simple syrup, olives, and other garnishes. Things like bitters, mint, and tomato juice are specific to certain types of cocktails, so make sure you have enough guests who prefer these drinks before buying, and don't forget to consider a mix. You can even stretch your drink ingredients to help with the snacks (see Make Your Own Snacks below for more suggestions).</p> <h3>Make Your Own Decorations</h3> <p>Part of what I love about having parties at home is creating the ambiance, and in the summer, you have a lot more options with outside decorations. I&nbsp;try to use what I have around the house for outdoor lighting, which also makes it a little more funky than having uniform lighting. Try draping all the holiday lights you can find around porches or fencing. I open my shed door and drape the lights from the roof of the shed to the back porch, and I use all shapes, sizes, and colors I have (even pumpkin lights). I also place a random assortment of candles in metal buckets, empty ceramic planters, and whatever else I can find that's safe, and place them all around the yard and porch area. This is a good opportunity to use scented candles that have been given to me as gifts, since they are too strong for my taste to use indoors. You can always go to a thrift store and find an assortment of junk to create unique decor. Citronella candles or tiki torches are a great way to light up the yard and keep bugs away, and you can find cheap ones at drugstores or on sale near the end of the summer.</p> <h3>Put Out a Tip Jar</h3> <p>While you may feel uncomfortable asking guests for money, you don't have to make a suggested donation or require that your guests chip in. This can be easier than asking guests to bring drinks or snacks, because you don't have to worry if there will be enough for everyone, and your guests don't have to worry about making a trip to the store beforehand or deciding what to bring. Most people would rather throw five or ten bucks into the hat than buy an expensive bottle of liquor, and if you are frugal with your purchases, you might come out ahead.</p> <h3>Make Jell-O Shots</h3> <p>These gooey, potent treats aren't just for college kids anymore. You can get really creative with these. Try mixing flavors and creating your own, or use a casserole dish to gel them and cut them into customized shapes (novelty cookie cutters are perfect for this). The best part is that Jell-O is super cheap and easy.</p> <h3>Make Your Own Snacks</h3> <p>Remember when you made your own popcorn at that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-oscar-party-ideas">Oscar party</a>, like Meg suggested? Well, here's your opportunity to wow your guests again with your ability to make delicious and healthy popcorn without sticking a bag in the microwave. There's no need to buy chips and other processed food for any party. You can even get a little fancy with classics, such as homemade french fries. Cut them like steak fries and add an aioli (basically mayonnaise mixed with your favorite herb or hot sauce), and you have a tapas-worthy appetizer. Or create an olive hummus with that can of chick peas in the pantry you never thought you'd use, and the olives you bought for martinis (you can also put them out on their own as a finger food).</p> <p>If you have a vegetable garden, use whatever is ready to harvest. Bake some <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/baked-kale-chips/detail.aspx">kale chips</a> (I suggest substituting salt with a small amount of tamari if you have it), or put out fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil from the garden. You can always make something basic and a little unexpected, like ants on a log with that celery you are using for bloody Marys. There are lots of possibilities, and you might create something wonderful that you never thought of simply by combining what you have in your pantry and fridge.</p> <h3>Ask Guests to Dress Formally</h3> <p>This one may not directly save you money, but it does give you and your guests an opportunity to pull out swanky dresses that don't get a lot of wear. Plus, if you will excuse the pop psychology, I've found that when people dress as if they have more money, they tend to think they have more money. So they might even pitch in a little more to the tip jar. In any case, it's always fun to see people you see every day all swanked out.</p> <p>No matter how you choose to customize your cocktail party, you don't have to spend a lot of money to have plenty of options and provide a nice evening with friends. Just remember to party responsibly, fiscally and otherwise.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-dinner-party-dishes-you-can-make-in-advance">15 Easy Dinner Party Dishes You Can Make in Advance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cocktail-time-great-budget-liquors">Cocktail Time: Great Budget Liquors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-an-awesome-frugal-movie-night">How to Host an Awesome Frugal Movie Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cold-frugal-drinks-to-keep-you-cool-in-the-heat">Cold, Frugal Drinks to Keep You Cool in the Heat</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap drinks cheap party ideas party food Fri, 22 Jul 2011 10:24:05 +0000 Ashley Watson 629784 at http://www.wisebread.com Fabulous Party Ideas For The Frugal-Minded http://www.wisebread.com/fabulous-party-ideas-for-the-frugal-minded <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fabulous-party-ideas-for-the-frugal-minded" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nachos.jpg" alt="nachos " title="nachos" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Need ideas for having a fabulous party with minimal money, time, and catering abilities? If you&#39;ve got gracious friends, just a bit of cash, and time to clean your home, you&#39;ll likely enjoy these 15 ideas for having a party to remember.   </p> <p>1) <strong>Throw a topping-optional party.</strong> </p> <p>One of my all-time favorite parties was a nacho party: there was much excitement waiting to try the latest variety the hostess took out of the oven. Guests enjoyed nachos topped with varying types of cheese, beans, and veggies. </p> <p>Make it specialty pizza night, starting with frozen pizzas and adding toppings to taste. Linsey has great ideas for making <a href="/gourmet-pizza-for-less-than-a-buck" title="http://www.wisebread.com/gourmet-pizza-for-less-than-a-buck">gourmet pizzas at discount prices</a>.</p> <p>Myscha, meanwhile, recommends throwing a <a href="/potato-ideas-that-pop" title="http://www.wisebread.com/potato-ideas-that-pop">baked potato bash (#6)</a>.</p> <p>Although I prefer that guests not have to supply the food (more on that topic later), a host may welcome each guest’s favorite topping. A gardener may bring jalapenos, sweet peppers, or tomatoes; a gourmet grocery shopper, specialty cheese; an intense cook, spicy chili – if you and your guests are in the right mood, these toppings could go anywhere (nachos, pizza, and baked potatoes).  </p> <p>2) <strong>Surprise guests with a soup and sandwich party</strong>, perfect for cold days and nights. </p> <p>I treated guests to dinner like this a few years ago as I wanted something suitable for families with young children. Grilled cheese, <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6877304" title="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6877304">pimento cheese</a>, and PB&amp;Js were <em>easily and quickly</em> made to order. Chicken-and-noodle was the soup du jour. </p> <p>For a more grown-up event, whip up this onion soup recipe (you’ll need 4 medium onions-chopped, canola oil, 2 cans beef consommé, toast cut into 1-2’ pieces, and mozzarella cheese; sauté onions until soft, mix onions with consommé and 2 cans of water, and simmer for an hour or so; serve topped with toast and cheese).</p> <p>If you want to jazz things up a bit, try <a href="/soup-toppers-with-style" title="http://www.wisebread.com/soup-toppers-with-style">Myscha’s soup toppers</a>.</p> <p>3) <strong>Bake lasagna or spaghetti pie if you’d like a sit-down dinner.</strong> </p> <p>If you’re not in the mood for cooking, try one of Stouffer’s lasagnas (meat and cheese; vegetarian; or five cheese, which is meatless and from my experience, satisfies meat-eaters and vegetarians). If you want to save money, bake a spaghetti pie (you’ll need 8 oz. spaghetti, 16 oz. spaghetti sauce, 6 oz. of mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese, and parmesan cheese; layer ½ sauce, uncooked noodles, and cheeses two times; bake covered at 350 for an hour; then uncover and bake for 15 minutes). Serve with bread and a <a href="/super-salad-add-ins" title="http://www.wisebread.com/super-salad-add-ins">snazzy salad</a>. </p> <p>4) <strong>Begin the day with a breakfast or brunch party.</strong></p> <p>Serve bagels (Panera Bread’s Cinnamon Crunch and Blueberry with Raspberry and Hazelnut spreads are some of my favorites) or <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Egg-Casserole/Detail.aspx" title="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Egg-Casserole/Detail.aspx">egg &amp; sausage casserole</a> with orange juice and coffee. </p> <p>5) <strong>Host an afternoon tea.</strong></p> <p>You may need to spring for a <a href="http://www.englishteastore.com/howtomaketea.html" title="http://www.englishteastore.com/howtomaketea.html">tea kettle</a> or you can use the microwave to boil water (beverage setting). Select specialty tea at your favorite grocer.  Have sweetener (honey or sugar), milk, and lemon on hand. </p> <p>Serve with a few treats such as your favorite jam served over slightly softened cream cheese with specialty crackers or goodies from your favorite bakery. </p> <p>6) <strong>Delve into a dessert party or ice cream sundae party.</strong></p> <p>Bake your favorite desserts, which usually can be made days to weeks (if you freeze desserts) ahead of time so that getting ready for the party is a snap. Try my friend&#39;s <a href="/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less" title="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">chocolate pie</a> (#13), <a href="/dump-cake-and-other-sweet-easy-treats" title="http://www.wisebread.com/dump-cake-and-other-sweet-easy-treats">Linsey’s dump cake</a>, sweets suggested by her commenters, or this <a href="http://www.favoritebrandrecipes.com/Recipes/285/2656001285.htm" title="http://www.favoritebrandrecipes.com/Recipes/285/2656001285.htm">incredible chocolate cheesecake pie</a> (the most difficult part of this recipe is keeping your family from eating the 1/3 cup of chocolate chips meant for the topping).</p> <p>If it’s warm outside, you can serve ice cream with a variety of toppings in the backyard or front porch. Bonus: you won’t have to clean up much inside. </p> <p>7) <strong>Don’t overdo the alcohol and sodas.</strong></p> <p>A chef friend has taught me to limit choices and I think this concept is applicable to food <em>and</em> beverages. Buying every combination of soft drinks (regular, sugar-free/caffeine-free, caffeine-free only, etc.) can put a huge dent in your budget so you may opt to serve lemonade or <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1718,156160-249206,00.html" title="http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1718,156160-249206,00.html">hot Russian tea</a>, depending on the season. Add a pitcher of water and you’ll easily accommodate many guests’ beverage of preference. Have your favorite wines, red and white, on hand; mix up <a href="/seven-things-to-do-with-boxed-wine" title="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-things-to-do-with-boxed-wine">Myscha’s recommendation</a> for an <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,163,146172-244198,00.html" title="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,163,146172-244198,00.html ">inexpensive Sangria</a>. </p> <p>8) <strong>Remember that timing is everything.</strong></p> <p>Consider the schedules and eating habits of your guest list. Make sure you plan around meals if you don’t intend on offering a full-fledged meal (or make it clear that dinner will be served if you do). And remember that weekday habits will differ from weekend ones; families with small children have schedules that vary from those of young singles. </p> <p>9) <strong>Limit party time.</strong></p> <p>Parties don’t have to last hours. You can schedule a quickie before or after a big event as Myscha suggests in <a href="/christmas-parties-for-folks-on-the-fly" title="http://www.wisebread.com/christmas-parties-for-folks-on-the-fly">Christmas Parties for Folks on the Fly</a> (such as dessert after a holiday show or hot chocolate after an evening of sledding or Christmas caroling). </p> <p>10) <strong>Plan your guest list carefully to avoid overextending your annual party budget. </strong></p> <p>You can go two ways with careful planning: a) invite everyone you’d like to have at your house one or two times each year for a drop-in event (meaning guests can visit for a short while and not stay for hours while consuming large amounts of food) or b) host small gatherings that require minimal preparation and cash outlay.  </p> <p>11) <strong>Invite people who understand what </strong><a href="http://people.howstuffworks.com/question450.htm" title="http://people.howstuffworks.com/question450.htm"><strong>RSVP</strong></a> <strong>means and are willing to let you know their intentions.</strong>  </p> <p>One of the biggest expenses associated with a party is the extra food and drink for the guests <em>who might show up</em>. Knowing how many people will be attending (and not having to guess at many more showing up the day of the event or calling at the last minute) helps you to buy and prepare the right amounts. </p> <p>Lack of replies to RSVPs <em>may </em>be one of the biggest reasons that hosts/hostesses have resorted to asking guests to cater their events. They provide party-ready space (e.g., a clean house); no headcount is needed if guests each bring appetizer, dessert, and/or drink. </p> <p>12) <strong>Welcome guest specialties.  </strong></p> <p>Many people have a special dessert they love to show off. And there may be some who have an outstanding appetizer.</p> <p>However, you don’t have to <em>and in my extremely humble opinion shouldn’t</em> require a dish as the price of admission. Your invitation may read something like, “bring a dessert or appetizer to share if you’d like.” </p> <p>Better, wait until guests ask if they can bring something and offer ideas that will liven the party without being essential to its success (suggest cranberry salad rather than turkey for a Christmas dinner). Be careful that guests who don’t bring an item aren’t made to feel awkward as it is proper to accept an invitation without offering to bring something. </p> <p>Best, tell your guests to bring themselves and their sparkling personalities only. </p> <p>13)<strong> Limit the amount of food and drink on the table.</strong></p> <p>Set a festive table and make sure you have plenty to offer guests, but you don’t have to place everything you have on the table from the start. Guests are less likely to overload their plates and you’ll save some for replenishing or have snacks after the party is over. </p> <p>14) <strong>Think community</strong> if you are in need of space to accommodate large amounts of people (not suitable for your home).</p> <p>Consider facilities at a city park (where I rented indoor space with great view of a city park that included tables, chairs, a fireplace, a big-screen television, food preparation space with refrigerator), community center, YMCA (picnic shelters with nearby playgrounds), or place of worship (generally available for free or discounted rates for members). Prices are <em>usually</em> much less expensive than meeting room space at a hotel, restaurant, or convention center.</p> <p>15) <strong>Embrace minimalist design for your party décor. </strong></p> <p>Choose freshly cut holly or flowers as your centerpiece. If you feel a need to spruce things up more (I usually don’t), use doilies from the dollar store set on solid-colored napkins.  </p> <p>I hope you and your guests enjoy these simple party ideas. If you&#39;re too busy for these now, relax and throw a party <em>after the holidays</em>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fabulous-party-ideas-for-the-frugal-minded">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party">Seven Ways to be the Life of Every Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-dinner-party-dishes-you-can-make-in-advance">15 Easy Dinner Party Dishes You Can Make in Advance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-pantry-snacks-for-unexpected-guests">Quick Pantry Snacks for Unexpected Guests</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Art and Leisure party party food party menu Mon, 17 Dec 2007 03:49:24 +0000 Julie Rains 1506 at http://www.wisebread.com