The parties, they are coming. Whether in the form of Aunt Matilda’s traditional feast or your best buddy’s game day bash, you are likely getting invited to events this tine of year.
So, how to be a frugal yet gracious guest?
Bringing something for the hostess need not cost an arm and a leg. The first strategy is to be proactive, the minute you get invited and accept, volunteer to bring something. Try and create a few frugal ‘signature’ dishes that everyone asks for. Some frugal suggestions below:
1. Offer to bring a side like mashed potatoes or sweet potato pie. You can bring the best side for just a few dollars that way.
2. Bring the gift of time in the form of a home baked bread. It takes time but the hostess has likely been slaving away in the kitchen for days. A couple of loves of freshly baked bread will bring raves.
3. Desert. You can make a homemade pumpkin pie for a few dollars. Same goes for apple pie.
4. Buy a couple of bags of fresh cranberries. Toss into a sauce pan with a 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup orange juice, some grated orange and lemon zest and a couple of tablespoons of sugar. Let simmer until it resembles jam. Homemade cranberry sauce is the bomb and very cheap to make.
5. Veggie tray. Carrots, celery, a can of olives, pickles and some cheese…pretty cheap way to go and much of this you will have in your fridge already. It is actually a sneaky way to clean out your crisper but don’t tell.
Game day parties:
- Bring a special dip. Slice up a bunch of onions and carmalize them in a bit of oil and butter. Takes time but SO worth it. Drain and cool. Mix with a cup each of cream cheese, sour cream and mayo. Salt and pepper. Chill. Best quick dip ever. Bring the veggies, they are cheap as well.
- Bring meatballs and don’t forget the toothpicks and sauce. (recipe here)
- Make a pot of chili, cheap and easy. (recipe here)
- Layer cheap torilla chips with cooked ground beef, cooked beans from your freezer stash, jarred salsa, shredded cheese, sliced olives and green onions. Top with dollops of sour cream and watch the crowd dig in.
- Cake pops. Nothing is more fun than cake pops covered in chocolate and sprinkles. Cook your favorite cake recipe (you can get a box at the dollar store) and mix with a tub of frosting. Roll into balls and stick each ball with a craft stick. Dip in melted chocolate chips and roll in sprinkles.