Low Cost Dinner Ideas for a Group
I posted last month about our upcoming big summer party bash. We’ll be hosting a weekend of fun for ten people total, all of whom will be staying with us and who will be eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in our home. I always get a little nervous about cooking for that many people: making sure I have enough to cover each person’s meal, thinking of meals that will be easy (or as easy as they can be for that many people), and, of course, cooking to keep the cost low but the taste high.
I asked you to let me know of any good recipes you might use for a group of people, and I have done some researching on my own. Here, a few ideas for meals that will feed an army (or at least a family reunion gathering of ten!) while keeping the cost down.
Think frozen pizza. We buy frozen pizza when on sale. Lately, I’ve been able to get Freschetta at buy one, get one free, and they always have coupons in the flyers. I spend about $3 per pizza (sometimes a bit less) and I buy four or six of them and store them in the freezer so I don’t have to buy more until the next sale.
Burgers on the grill. Today only, a local grocery store is running hamburger meat for $1.99 per pound. For eleven people I will need three pounds (four of the people are kids). This means we can cook burgers and add a few sides, like baked beans and corn on the cob ($.33 on sale this week!) without breaking the bank.
Pork loin. I bought a pork loin on sale this week for $1.99 per pound. Again, I’m guessing about three pounds of meat for the group (1 pound for each family of four). I’ll put this in the slow cooker and make pulled pork sandwiches. On the side: potato salad, supplied by my mother in law.
Spaghetti. Spaghetti is a great meal to make for a group. It requires little preparation – spaghetti sauce from a jar (under one dollar on sale), pasta (about $.75 per box), and meatballs and sausage (I do a little of each and let each guess choose which meat they want). Add a loaf of freshly baked bread from the grocery store’s deli (about $1.99) and a salad and you are ready to go!
Breakfast will consist of bagels (on sale now for buy one get one free), cereal (about $1.50 a box on sale with coupons), and eggs and pancakes. Lunches will be frozen pizza, if we don’t have that for dinner; leftovers (we’ll make extra burgers and hot dogs on the grill); and a pasta salad for one day.
Another idea to keep costs down: have everyone bring a dish or sides, such as bread and dessert, if they are traveling too far to bring refrigerated foods.