If there is one thing in life that I really think was my calling, it would be to host parties. I love the idea of planning events that bring people together for food and fun. And as much fun as I have when friends come over to my home, I also know how costly hosting and entertaining can become. There are some ways to cut your costs and feed a crowd on a budget. You won’t be able to buy the highest quality of meats but buy the best quality of ingredients that you can afford.
Here are my tips and tricks to feed a crowd on a budget:
- Use staple pantry items as the base for your meal – Items such as pasta, beans and rice are inexpensive and great fillers for meals. A 1-pound box of pasta costs around $1.00 and can go a long way when feeding a group!
- Your slow cooker is your friend! – Slow cookers allow you to take less expensive cuts of meat and turn them into butter. Beef stew meat and chicken thighs are perfect examples of meats that are less expensive but soak up amazing flavor in a slow cooker.
- Use food that is in season – Avoid fruits and vegetables that our out of season when preparing your feast. Choosing asparagus in the middle of winter is probably not the cheapest vegetable but broccoli and cauliflower can always be found and is less expensive!
- Always serve buffet style – This will allow your guests to pick and choose how much food that they want to eat and will lead to less waste.
- Ask your friends to bring a dish – There’s no shame in asking your guests to bring a side item, dessert or drinks to share with the group! Most people enjoy bringing something to a gathering and it will help take the burden of the cost off of your own plate.
Feeding a crowd does not have to turn into a financial burden. I took into consideration the above tips and created these Chipotle Bacon Ranch Chicken Tacos, which are perfect for a crowd! They use chicken thighs in the slow cooker to melt down the fat and turn into a flavorful base for my tacos. I used boneless chicken thighs but bone-in are always less expensive. Serving these tacos buffet style will allow people to eat as many or as few as they like. Served with a side of Mexican rice and chips with salsa will turn this entrée into the perfect party food!