Cooking for a group is a great part of the holidays. Whether it’s family, friends or in-laws (and yes, that can be three different groups), preparing a holiday meal is a really satisfying feeling – but it definitely doesn’t need to be expensive.
Grab a notepad and apron, and lets get in touch with your inner-Martha. It’s time to plan now for a Thanksgiving dinner later. We’ve talked about this before, but a little planning goes a long way when you’re doing anything that involves money.
Setting out a plan for your meal, knowing how many guests will be present, and setting a budget are all equally important for making the meal a success for your taste buds, table and pocket book.
The Menu & Budget
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a traditional turkey, trying a holiday lasagna or chicken dumplings – figure out the meal and the number of guests as far in advance as possible. If you realize now that you’re cooking a meal for 8 people and it’ll cost around $50, don’t wait to start shopping.
Add a few extra (non-perishable) holiday ingredients to your regular shopping and you’ll barely even notice the expense. This is especially true with beverages – for adult and children. Juice, wine and pop isn’t going to go bad in your pantry.
The “What can we bring?” Factor
Because you’ve appropriately planned out the meal, you’ll know what you need. Haven’t picked up any veggies yet? Ask your guest to bring them, and let them know exactly what you need. This saves double-dishes of broccoli and gets you out of a little bit of work.
There’s nothing wrong with suggesting guests bring their own booze for a party. You’re hosting the event, but you don’t necessarily need to be on the hook for everything.