When I say “budget” I mean time, money and skill wise. I enjoy entertaining, I often wish I had a bigger house to entertain more. Until then, I work with what I’ve got which is a small budget; no dining room area/table; a small apartment and lot’s of creativity 🙂 If you find yourself in such a position then these hints and tips will be very helpful to you.
- Cheap Meats – I am the master of entertaining on a budget and one of the ways to accomplish this is to look into cheap cuts/types of meat. For one, chicken. You cannot go wrong with chicken, it’s cheap and a crowd pleaser. You can spatchcock it, stuff it or braise it in a casserole. If you’ve been to my house, you’ve probably eaten chicken and it was probably damn good too. If you’d prefer a roast instead and a leg of lamb or beef is not in your budget, try pork roast. Pork might not be a popular meat but it’s definitely worth a try. Stuffed pork belly loin or belly or braised thighs, if cooked properly, it can be a crowd pleaser.
- Buffet Style Meals – I live in a 1 bedroom apartment, though it’s more than enough space for me, it can definitely feel cramped when I have a few people over. Seeing as I don’t have a dining area I serve my meals buffet style. People dish their plates and sit wherever they can find a chair. It’s very informal, laid back and allows people the comfortability to serve themselves and go back for seconds if they wish.. This is a great way to also host cocktail type dinner parties with canapés.
- Get Creative – The best way to make up for budget deficits when entertaining, is to get creative. Try a new recipe, or present your dishes in a different way. Substitute recipe items with cheaper alternatives (e.g. using Tuna for fish cakes instead of a more expensive fish like salmon), anything that lessens the financial load.
- Outsource – If you’re having people over, don’t be shy to answer the question “should we bring anything” honestly. This is when I usually ask people to bring wine, desert or a side to lighten my load and gracious guests don’t come empty handed anyway right? You might as well capitalize on this to get what you really need.
- Quick and Easy Food – If you’re pressed for time, be careful what you choose to make. You don’t want to spend all your time in the kitchen and not with your guests. You also don’t want to be left with a pile of dishes to clean up after. Preparation is key. Try marinade meat the night before. start cooking well in advance to make sure you can get some cleaning up out of the way.
- Try Brunch – Hosting a brunch instead of the usual dinner can be cost and time effective. Eggs are cheap and can be made to feed the masses easily and quickly. Try baked eggs , scrambled egg Florentine or a frittata. Add your favourite breakfast sausages and a pastry and some fruits and you already have full spread. Try these quick and easy apple and cinnamon scones or phyllo pastry cups to impress your guests.
I hope these tips help you. Please visit my recipe page for plenty of recipes great for entertaining. Where there’s a will, there’s a way 🙂