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$10, 5 ingredients, 1 appetizer, 8 people - what to make?

Our book club is coming up and the challenge is to make something to share with 8 people for less than $10 with less than 5 ingredients. Suggestions?

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  1. I should add that I'm a fairly basic cook so nothing too complicated, please. Also, I have to be able to transport it about an hour to a picnic so I won't be able to serve it "hot out of the oven."

    1. Just out of curiosity, why less than 5 ingredients?

      2 Replies
        1. re: AhhTahoe

          Oh, I get it now. I just thought that was said as a figure of speech. :) Sorry.

      1. Boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs are usually on sale. Cube them, marinade the cubes, thread them on skewers and grill or broil. Depending on the marinade you use, you can have a complimentary dipping sauce.

        Greek marinade - yogurt dip
        Thai marinade - peanut sauce
        Terryaki marinade - pineapple salsa

        1. Spiced or candied nuts.
          Homemade hummus or white bean dip with pita chips.
          A frittata cut into squares. (Eggs, milk, cheese + 1 veggie = 4 ingredients)
          Little meatballs. (Beef or ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, seasoning)

          1. 16 strips bacon
            16 dates
            16 almonds

            Stuff dates with almonds, wrap with bacon, bake at 350 until brown and crispy. Delicious!

            1 Reply
            1. Chicken satay with peanut sauce
              Deviled eggs with curried or chipotle yolks
              Tortilla espaƱola
              Roast asparagus skewers with bacon
              Roast beet and goat cheese towers
              Bacon-wrapped dates

              1. Chicken skewers as someone mentioned is excellent with a dipping sauce. I love my bloody mary chicken or steak bites with a blue cheese sauce. Easy inexpensive and great flavor. However many different flavors and sauce combinations as mollygirl mentioned.

                Grilled fruit skewers are great and can be served at room temperature with a vanilla honey yogurt sauce

                I love grilled fruit peaches is great for this and then served over a baguette topped with honey nut cream cheese and topped with the grilled fruit. You can also do a blue cheese spread if you prefer that. Travels well.

                A small platter dish of stuffed olives with blue cheese, Stuffed tomatoes with chicken salad, or goat cheese and chives.

                Mushroom Fritatta

                Asparagus wrapped with bacon, grilled and then served with a mustard cream

                I like to take some chicken diced with mango, nuts and a light dressing and wrap in lettuce leaves. You can scoop them into the leaves when you get there. It is a light easy starter and really healthy.

                Crescent rolls spread with pesto and cheese and then baked, easily served room temp. You can even add a little proscuitto to this as well.

                Smoked salmon spread with a chive cream cheese and then wrapped around asparagus.

                Crimini mushrooms stuffed with bacon, herbs, goat cheese

                A pizza served room temp with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil and carmelized onions, pizza crust or focaccia bread. Easy, great taste!

                1. bruschetta! you can do a bean bruschetta or a fruit bruschetta, but for the usual do tomato, basil, garlic (salt and pepper, olive oil and balsamic, none of which should count as ingredients). You can bring the topping in a separate bowl and top the toasts there, which will make transport easier and ensure that the bread doesn't get soggy. PLUS, having the extra time in the car will actually let the flavors in the topping meld a bit more and make the whole thing even more delicious.

                  1. 1. corn, soybeans, yogurt, fresh dill, carrots: crunchy salad
                    2. chopped chicken (ie 10lb bag of legs/$4.50), butter/boston lettuce, peanuts, soy sauce, ginger: chicken in lettuce wraps
                    3. baguette, onions, eggs, potato, milk: tortilla (espagnol) on rounds (cube omelette and attach w/toothpick)
                    4. black eyed peas, red onion, garlic, vinagrette, tortilla chips: cowboy caviar
                    5. Marinated mango salad: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10814

                    (I've assumed that salt, pepper, and oil don't count as ingredients)

                    1. portobello mushrooms with goat cheese and grape tomato
                      cheap balsamic vinegar
                      olive oil

                      reduce the balsamic to a syrupy consistancy, place mushroom caps in pan with sliced in half grape tomatoes, scattered both on top of and off the mushrroms, place a slce of goat cheese on each cap. drizzle with balsamic glaze and olive oil.
                      Bake for a while and then place in the broiler to get a nice carmelization going.

                      Very delicious, easy and impressive.

                      I don't know if it will be more than 10 bucks though!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: NellyNel

                        I needed a quick app this weekend for people coming home from the beach and had no car to go to the store but had all the following ingredients...simple & inexpensive.

                        1- Quality crusty baguette cut into 1/4 inch slices
                        2-Butter each slice with unsalted butter
                        3-Top w/thinly sliced radish circles
                        4-Sprinkle w/kosher salt
                        5-(Add a very thinly sliced cucumber slice too if you want 5 ingredients)

                        1. re: yayadave

                          In a similar vein:
                          Ground meat browned with chopped onion, diced garlic, and chili powder (that's one item)
                          sour cream
                          Monterey Jack, shredded


                          1. re: yayadave

                            Come on! Don't be cheatin! You did make me laugh though.

                            And yes, to the poster above, Salt, Pepper and Water do not count as ingredients (that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

                            1. re: AhhTahoe

                              Anybody'd call that "one ingredient." Honest! Are you the only one trying to do this 5 ingredient thing? If others are doing it, I'll bet you'll be amazed at what THEY call "only 5 ingredients."

                        2. Stuffed grape leaves - the recipe makes a ton of them.
                          Watermelon, feta and mint salad
                          caprese salad skewers

                          1. Tomatoes Margarita
                            2 pints cherry tomatoes
                            1/4 cup chopped cilantro
                            1/2 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
                            1/2 cup tequila
                            Juice of 1 lime
                            Place tomatoes in a serving bowl, with some type of picks on the side. Combine cilantro and sea salt in a small serving bowl. Combine tequila and lime juice in a small serving bowl. Spear a tomato, dip into tequila-lime juice mix, then into the seasoned salt. Enjoy! If you were allowed 6 ingredients, I'd add a dash of garlic powder to the salt and cilantro mix.

                            1. 1 - one can of black beans, drained and rinsed.
                              2- one can of corn
                              3- one container of salsa (the plastic tub in the refridgerated section)
                              4- a lot of chopped cilantro
                              Mix and serve with 5, taco chips.

                              1. Pizza dough, red grapes, gorgonzola, honey, chives, sea salt.

                                Bake pizza with grapes on it, crumbling gorgonzola over for the last two minutes. Remove from oven, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with chopped chives and flakey sea salt. Cut into thin wedges.

                                1. Here's two that might work.

                                  SPINACH PUFFS

                                  1 box puff pastry shells, thawed, cut into quarters
                                  1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed
                                  1 box Knorr leek soup mix
                                  8 oz. sour cream

                                  Mix dry soup and spinach into sour cream. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes to reconstitute a bit. Meanwhile, stretch puff pastry triangles and fit into mini muffin tins (24). They won't be perfect circles. Make sure dough extends a little above pan indentation. Divide the sour cream mixture among pastry cups. Bake in preheated 425 oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot or room temp.

                                  SPINACH BALLS

                                  1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
                                  1 cup Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing mix, crushed
                                  1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
                                  2 eggs
                                  6 Tablespoons butter, room temp
                                  1/2 teaspoon black pepper
                                  1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional, as this would take you over 5 ingredients)

                                  Grind stuffing mix to crumbs. Mix in remaining ingredients. Roll into bite size balls. On parchment-lined sheet, bake in reheated 350 oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot or at room temp, plain or with tomato or mustard dip. Makes about 25.

                                  1. What about good ol' Knorr Spinach Dip? Soup mix, mayo, sour cream, spinach, and bread round that also serves as dipper.....just make sure you keep in cooler for transport.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: 4Snisl

                                      Just set a pumpernickle bowl stuffed with spinach dip in front of me and I won't move. It is heaven

                                    2. I make a version of the spinach and cream cheese pinwheel rolls but I use a flour tortilla, mix knorr garden vegetable dip, spinach, cream cheese and chopped bacon, spread on the tortilla and top with another and then slice into wedges. A nice chilled easy dish. I used frozen spinach. Sort of a classic re vamped.

                                      This also works with ham, a herbed cream cheese, roasted red peppers, scallions and the tortilla. Both good served in wedges

                                      1. steak house bruschetta:

                                        french bread
                                        1 steak cut in tiny cubes
                                        tomato chopped
                                        crumbled blue cheese

                                        1. Just wondering if anyone noticed the same thing I did - is this 5 ingredients or less than 5?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: cookie44

                                            Five ingredients or less, not counting salt, pepper or water.

                                          2. I'm thinking either the Spinach puffs or the steak bruschetta. Thanks!

                                            1. Here are a few I like:

                                              Gourmet Magazine's Asian Cucumber Ribbon Salad

                                              Tuscan Kale Chips

                                              Shortcut Corn and Cheese Muffins
                                              I'm not sure how much this would cost though.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: toveggiegirl

                                                I remembered another easy (and surprisingly tasty, even addictive) recipe.

                                                Cold Chinese-Style Noodles:

                                                For about a pound of noodles, use:
                                                1/3 cup oil
                                                1/3 cup sugar
                                                1/3 cup soy sauce

                                                Since that is only 4 ingredients, you can also add some sesame seeds or chopped scallions.

                                                1. re: toveggiegirl

                                                  I love this dish. I make a ginger, garlic, orange juice marinated salmon served with sauteed onions and bok choy and started serving these noodles with it which is so good. I always looking for something other than just rice and I am hooked on these.

                                                  Thx for reminding me of them, I has been a few months since I have made them.

                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                    Your welcome. :-) And that salmon sounds fantastic.

                                                    1. re: toveggiegirl

                                                      Can you tell me which noodles to use? There are so many. I have a package of cellophane or glass noodles in my pantry - would that work?

                                                      1. re: AhhTahoe

                                                        I don't think that would work. You can use lo mein noodles, or (thin) spaghetti noodles.

                                                        1. re: toveggiegirl

                                                          I go to my chinese market or sometimes just the regular grocer to get chinese noodles. Lo Mein or something similar. Yes toveggiegirl spaghetti works as well. I love the lo mein however.

                                                  2. re: toveggiegirl

                                                    Sounds good and simple. What kind of oil do you use?

                                                    1. re: karykat

                                                      Just any mild oil like canola or vegetable oil. You can also sub in a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil (especially if you are adding sesame seeds).

                                                      1. re: toveggiegirl

                                                        Absolute, I use canola but always add in a tablespoon of sesame even if not adding sesame. But totally agree sesame seeds are great. What a nice flavor.

                                                2. It's kind of autumn-ish but: crostini with chevre, fig jam and a fried sage leaf.

                                                  I'm pretty sure you can do this for less than $10...the silver chevre at TJ's is $4 and change...if the cost of the jam pushes this over your limit, then try it with caramelized onion.

                                                  for something more summery:
                                                  caprese salad.

                                                  1. Devilled Eggs
                                                    -hard boiled eggs
                                                    -chopped herb (basil, dill or parsley)

                                                    Cantalope and prosciutto (Get less than a quarter pound of proscuitto; it stretches)

                                                    Crostini (toasted baguette slices) topped with ricotta mixed with chopped garlic, mint (or basil), salt and a squidge of olive oil. Assemble at the picnic.

                                                    1. One of the first courses in Jacques Pepin's More Fast Food My Way PBS series was, for 4 servings, 4 oz raw scallops pureed into pancake batter, with chopped scallions then stirred in. The small pancakes were served over salad but would be fine at room temp.
                                                      You'd need to use pancake mix to limit ingredient numbers. If you can find one like Kodiak Cakes, which only need water, even better!