Family reunions and covered dish dinners requires enough food to feed a crowd. The problem becomes how to feed a crowd on a budget and still prepare food everyone will enjoy. The following hints might make that task much easier to accomplish.
Determine how much money you have budgeted for the event and stick to that amount. Plan to spend about $5.00 per person and multiply that number by how many you expect. If there are going to be 25 or more people, that could get rather expensive – $125. Most people wouldn’t be able to afford that for meal.
Plan a menu if you’ll be doing most of the cooking. Preparing a menu will help you purchase items at the least amount possible and yet ensure you have everything you need. Having a planned menu also enables you to take advantage of sale prices on certain items which can reduce the overall cost for food.
Rather than one family being responsible for all of the food it would be helpful to have each family prepare one or two dishes. Someone may want to keep a list to ensure there is a good variety of food. Having everyone chip in also means no one family must bear the brunt of the cost. This will also ensure the Aunt Betty can rest assured no one else will make her famous macaroni and cheese that she makes each year.
Whenever possible, use store brand items rather than name brand foods. Store brands are often considerably less than the better-known brands. In most cases the people at your event won’t recognize the difference.
Choose a meal that is inexpensive. For instance, spaghetti is one meal that won’t break the family budget. Two and 1/2 pounds of noodles will cost approximately $3.00, sauce will be about $4.00, garlic bread may be around $4.00 and meat will probably run about $7.00. Considering the total price – less than $20.00 – you could feasibly provide an entrée for 25 people.
Casseroles are also a good choice for feeding a crowd on a budget. You can put together a large (pan of lasagna for about $40.00 and it would feed up to 30 people. Serve a tossed salad with the lasagna and another vegetable to round out the meal.
The above ideas might be helpful when you have to feed a crowd on a budget. You may be able to come up with other ideas by talking with others who will attend your event but these can get your thoughts started. Remember to stick to your budget and ask others to provide some of the foods so you don’t have to pay for everything all by yourself.