Party for 20 only have $200. budget...ideas?
I am having a party for about 20 women this weekend. My budget is only $10. per head for food. The party is from 7-11 so I would like to have apps, something resembling dinner, and dessert. The beverages have their own budget, so I don't have to think that into the equation.
Things I was thinking so far...
mini crab cakes
~A couple of quiches, one mushroom, leek, and cheese (veg) and the other like a lorraine style.
~Huge green salad with chicken breast slices in a vinagrette or "asian style" with snap peas and sesame dressing.
~Pasta primavera (served either warm or cold)
Any feedback plus more ideas are very much appreciated.
One thing that I love to do that is very cost effective but takes up more time is thai spring rolls with peanut sauce.. The rice paper wrappers, and rice noodles are cheap. I like to use bibb or romaine lettuce, carrot, cucumber, bean sprouts, fresh basil, mint and cilantro. and you can add shrimp or tofu. If you are trying to keep the cost down, omit the shrimp or tofu. I believe I saw a recipe for peanut sauce on here, but there are better ones you can find on the internet in my opinion.
I went to a brunch yesterday and the hostess asked me to make a recipe that she gave me-looking over the recipe I thought they sounded a bit boring. They were for zucchini, black bean and corn enchilidas and they were FANTASTIC. They were inexpensive to make, made a lot and can be prepared and served whenever. I kept hearing everyone commenting and there were a lot of other things being served including some other non veg. enchilidas and about 4-5 quiches...an 11 year old girl sitting near me kept whispering to her friend how great they were! I can post the recipe later on if you want it, it came from Cooking Light!
Here is the recipe from Cooking Light for the enchiladas. I tried to find it on their site and it isn't posted. They don't seem that interesting from the recipe but I am telling you, they are UNBELIEVEABLE. You could also make different filling (I make enchildas with chicken, black beans, spinach and mushrooms) but they are great as is. (I used most ing. from Trader Joe's, their frozen corn is great-not chewy and tastes like CORN!)~ The sauce for this is sooo good that I'd make double since you'll have half of an onion and 1/2 can broth left anyway and either make another pan to freeze or freeze the sauce and use later.
Black Bean, Corn and Zucchini Enchilidas
1 tsp. canola oil
2 c. diced zucchini
1 (10 oz. pkg.) frozen whole kernel corn
1 (15 oz. can) black beans, drained
3 cups Enchilada sauce (recipe below)
8 whole wheat tortillas
2 c. reduced fat cheddar cheese-I used a Mexican mix, not reduced fat
Preheat oven 350
Heat oil, add zucchini and corn, saute until tender (5 min.). Remove from heat and add beans.
Spray a 13 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray. Spread 1 cup of Enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan. Spoon 1/2 cup of veg. in center of tortilla, add approx. 2 tlb. of cheese and wrap putting cut side down in pan (I actually got 10 tortillas out of this). Spread remaining 2 cups of sauce over enchiladas and bake, covered with foil, 30 min.
Uncover and top with 1 cup of cheese. Bake 10 minutes.
1 tsp. canola oil
1/2 c. diced red onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 tlb. chili powder
1 tlb. honey
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
Heat oil and saute garlic and onion until onion is tender. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 min.
If you make your own desserts (or buy mixes on sale) they can be cheaper than buying fancy bakery items. Fruit can also be rather expensive if you get berries & such but not as expensive if you use oranges/apples/bananas/melons.
What you've got planned sounds great! Instead of pasta primavera, maybe a cold couscous salad with tomatoes, feta, green onion, olives, etc and a lemon vinaigrette? Nice and summery.
I would leave the chicken off the green salad, you already have two other proteins w/ the quiche and steak wraps, I can't see the need to run up the cost w/ the chicken. In fact, i think pasta and steak wraps + the green salad is plenty without the quiches anyhow. Or do the quiches "mini" in place of the crab cakes...I'm making the assumption here that eggs and cheese are cheaper than buying crab, although I must say I thought the crab claws 8 oz for $6 at Whole Foods was a reasonable price.
FWIW, the more variety you have, the more people will eat. Have you priced this out? Crab meat is really expensive--close to $20 per pound the last time I looked. You could do hummus and other dips for the crudites, along with pita that would be inexpensive and filling. I agree about the chicken being unnecessary (though it sounds great) with the other proteins. You might need more than two quiche--that would be one for 10 women, pretty small slices. Maybe add some good crusty bread. It's simple, delicious and a good filler. I think a fruit plate and brownies or cake, not both, would be enough. If you have more, people will eat more.
Oh yes, bread...excellent idea. Although I am currently obsessed w/ artisinal bread, it is often $5 a loaf. Risking being sneered at, I will suggest that frozen par-baked baguettes from the grocery store, if finished cooking in a hot oven are pretty damn tasty.
I'm definitely in agreement about the variety=consumption comment. As a person w/ no self-control, but a desire to fit in my pants, I would appreciate brownies OR cake, not AND.
No need for artisan bread for bruschetta. Here in Texas, you can't get a decent loaf of bread unless you buy artisan bread, so we have learned to make do when we can't get to the store that carries it. (Yeah, we are snobby transplanted New Yorkers). If you go to Costco or Sam's, you can get a pack of white or whole wheat baguettes for something like $1.99. Once they are sliced and toasted in the oven, it will be the perfect base for a beautiful topping. The expensive bread would be a waste.
I also question the use of crab meat. You would need quite a bit of crab to make anything decent. Have you considered using frozen shrimp for an appetizer -- maybe on a skewer (don't know what your cooking facilities will be). You can also get 2 lbs. of frozen shrimp 31-40 per pound for about $14 in the wholesale food clubs, and it is the same quality as the grocery store. In fact, Alton Brown suggests buying it frozen and cleaned with the tails on because what you buy in the store otherwise has already been frozen -- they just defrost it for you. BTW, you can get cooked shrimp the same way.