1. Put in the effort. Time=money and the inverse is also true. If you plan ahead, you can save money with just a little extra effort. Example: we needed frozen strawberries for a dessert. Instead of buying the pricey frozen version, I enlisted the help of a friend and cut fresh berries and froze them instead. Saved us at least half.
2. Choose a smaller menu. Instead of trying to make 5 salads, make just one that is customizable. You will be able to buy in bulk if you make more of one item than 5 seperate items. Time is also saved.
3. Start with a "base". Think potatoes or pasta (see below). You'll be able to make that dollar stretch much farther with an inexpensive base. Breads for sandwiches are more expensive to buy, so start with a less expensive base if possible.
4. Go meatless or low meat. Substitute beans or make a sauce or "addition" with less meat. Instead of meatballs, try chopped ground beef in the sauce. Chili can be made with less meat than called for.
5. Whatever you do, make sure you have enough food. Although a main concern is not going over budget, make sure you always have enough food to go around. This can get tricky, but look for an easy planner in an upcoming post!
Onto a menu idea with a price breakdown....
Build Your Own Pasta BarPasta (1lb serves about 6, make sure to include gluten free version if needed).
Choice of meat:
Chicken (3 large grilled breasts per 25 people if serving other meat options, at least 6 if it's the only option)
Spaghetti sauce with ground beef (3+ cans with 1.5 lbs of beef)
Meatballs (recipe below)
Spaghetti Sauce (store bought)
Alfredo (recipe below)
Pesto (recipe below. I used my local farmer's market price to total pesto price. Basil is much cheaper locally.)
Veggies (I like broccoli, onions, zucchini, yellow squash and/or peas)
Mushrooms for a meatless version
Cost per person: $1.26 without meatballs, $1.68 with meatballs
Cost per 25 people: $31.38 without meatballs, $41.88 with meatballs
*Note-this is priced at a local grocery store with no sales in mind. You'll can spend less if you follow my tips and especially shop sales! I also took into account what most people have in their pantry (seasonings, oil, etc.)
Serve with a salad (add $10/25 people or about $0.40/person)
Or breadsticks (add $8/25 people or about $.32/person)
I love love love this!
To make enough for about 8
Ingredients1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup butter2 Tablespoons cream cheese
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan combine butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Simmer this until all is
melted, and mixed well. Add the Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Simmer this for15 - 20 minutes over low heat.
Pesto from USU extension
Double recipe per 25 people.
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 t salt
In a food proccessor or blender, pulse until uniform consistency, but with some texture remaining. Note: pesto will brown in refrigerator, to minimize, place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the pesto and store in an air tight container.
Best Meatball Recipe from Chef In Training (Double per 25 people)
Olive Garden Breadsticks from Full Bellies (Triple per 25 people)