Published on March 10, 2016 12:17 pm, by Jen Bakker
Hosting a dinner party without breaking the bank can be a challenge. What’s acceptable and what’s not? Do you ask your guests to contribute to food or do you do it yourself? Pot luck is an old personal fave, any time anywhere, with little work and little money to spend.
Easter is a special day and you may have invited loved ones to share it with you. We have collated some ideas to get you started on planning your Easter lunch or dinner. If you’re catering drinks too we’ll include a section to help you out.
Having a theme is fun and Easter quite handily provides you with one. Chocolate for dessert? Yes please. Remember Google is your friend. Recipes galore are available at no cost. Pinterest is also helpful for inspiration.
Entrees don’t have to be difficult. They can range from a bowl of chips to tapas to an antipasto plate.
Presentation is important. Experiment a little. Recently we tried using cucumber as a base and making bite size snacks. We put either tuna or feta cheese and a sundried tomato on top. They were very tasty and easily restocked as they disappeared fast!
Another idea is to make up some pizza dough. Blend up some basil pesto. Then scrape olive oil and pesto on the dough and pop it in the oven for long enough to cook the bases. Cheap, easy and soaks up some of the pre-dinner alcohol.
Without a doubt the office favourite is a roast meal. For value, taste and ease of preparation it is hands down the winner.
Meat – check out the grocery store catalogues and go with what’s on sale. Ordinarily roast chicken and roast pork will be cheaper than lamb and beef.
Veggies – Go seasonal. Lots of veggies can be roasted. Consider potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, fennel, parsnip, carrots, onions, garlic – need I go on?
Other veggies – it’s always nice to have something fancy in the vegie space. Again check what’s in season. Some favourites are cauliflower cheese and parmesan roasted broccoli. Don’t roast the potatoes, but mash them with some of your favourite herbs.
Bread – not required, but an easy accompaniment created by popping some garlic & rosemary on bread rolls.
Gravy – Google for recipes using the juices from the roast or buy a couple of sachets and mix the reserved liquid in for extra flavour.
First things first. Check your cupboards, pantry, and freezer and see what you have available. We had a win recently making the yummiest chocolate cake only having to purchase the chocolate. Everything else we had. We’ve also learnt that you can exchange ingredients successfully. We exchanged flour for coconut flour and made it gluten free.
Another well received dessert was an amazing blueberry cake, made with yogurt, frozen berries, lemon and other things that we had in our pantry. Google is your friend with desserts as well. Just by typing in the word dessert and your key ingredients you could luck in to a yummy dessert that uses what you have.
Outside of that some relatively inexpensive ideas are citrus tarts and cakes. Who doesn’t like a nice fresh cake? Dessert is meant to be fun. Whip up a mousse. Bake some cookies and put 2 together with ice-cream in the middle. Alternatively make your own sundaes with an Easter egg on top. Cater to the tastes at the table, and consider a splash of something light and alcoholic in the mix.
At our place its the norm for visitors to rock up with at least one bottle of wine in hand, so a nice option is to start the evening with a punch or sangria and let your guests take care of the wine for the evening.
Again, check your cupboards. Another easy starter drink is punch, different varieties can be made with different spirits.
Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.