Entertain for $10 per person

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Have your party and eat at it, too.

Budget partying for $10 per person

Ultimately, at the end of the day, the thing that stops most people from throwing a party isn't the cleaning (you have to do that anyway) or the cooking (you have to eat one way or the other) -- it's the cost. Having a bunch of friends over for a get together is fun, but unless you want to throw a big potluck, feeding a crowd costs money.

However, with just a little party planning and a few ingredients that feel expensive, but aren't, you can feed 12 people great party food for about $10 per person (assuming you have a few basic pantry items like oil, salt and pepper). Here's your menu:

Red wine braised beef roast

Yields 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (6 pound) beef roast (about $30)
  • Salt and pepper (pantry)
  • 4 tablespoons oil (pantry)
  • 1 onion, diced (about $2)
  • 1 cup beef broth (about $3 for the container)
  • 1 cup red wine (find a good bottle for $10)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (about $5 for a fresh container)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (about $5)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Make shallow incisions over the beef roast and rub in a generous amount of salt and pepper over it.
  3. Pour the oil into a Dutch oven or pot with a lid and brown the meat by cooking it on all sides for about 2 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside.
  4. Put the onions in the pot and sauté them for 10 minutes, then add the beef to the pot with the broth, wine and two additional tablespoons of the black pepper.
  5. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover, and then place the Dutch oven into your oven and cook for 2 hours or until tender.

Spaetzle

Yields 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour (about $3 for a fresh package)
  • Salt (pantry)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg ($3 for a fresh container)
  • 4 eggs (about $2 for a carton)
  • 1/2 cup milk (about $4 for a fresh bottle)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon (already purchased above)
  • 2 sticks butter ($5 for a fresh package)

Directions:

  1. Sift the flour, 2 teaspoons of salt and nutmeg into a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, milk and mustard. Use a fork to make a dough.
  2. Let the dough rest for a few minutes while you get a pot of well-salted water boiling. Use a knife to flick off small, uneven ribbons of the spaetzle into the water. Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. While the water is boiling, start melting the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Once the spaetzle are done, fry them in the butter until they have a firm exterior.
  5. Repeat with all the dough.

Red wine braised pears

Yields 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 pears, halved and cored (about $6)
  • 3 cups red wine (already purchased)
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone (about $4)
  • 1/4 cup honey (about $4)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (about $5)

Directions:

  1. Put the pears and red wine in a pot large enough to hold them.
  2. Bring the red wine to a boil, then quickly reduce the heat to medium (or lower) so that there are tiny air bubbles that form at the bottom of the pan, but they are broken before they reach the top. (This is the perfect sign of a simmer.)
  3. Simmer the pears for 20 minutes or until they're soft. When soft, remove from the liquid.
  4. Mix the mascarpone and honey together and fill the cores with the cheese. Top with the almonds.
  5. The total cost of all the food is about $90 dollars. That leaves you with $30 for wine, which should be plenty. Enjoy your party!

Other party ideas

Double duty starters
10 Menu ideas for a casual get together
How to host a dinner party for 10 or more

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