Do you often find yourself entertaining a crowd for dinner? If so, you know how expensive it can be. Here are some tips on putting together Cheap Meals for a Crowd. Instead of going broke, take a look at these 7 cheap and easy ways to cook for a crowd a try. When you give these ideas a try, you will find that cooking for a crowd can not only be fun, but frugal as well! Here is how to get started.
How to Feed a Lot of People on a Budget
1. Try a hot dog bar.
Hot dogs as well as their condiments can be quite inexpensive. Wow your guests with a deluxe hot dog bar, complete with fun and funky toppings such as relish, bacon, pickle slices, celery salt, cheese, and more. Guests will love making their own loaded dog and will leave full.
2. Get budget savvy with salads.
Salads are inexpensive to make and are great for feeding a crowd. Opt for potato or pasta salads since the base of both salads is quite cheap. You can then dress these items up any way you please to make a salad your guests are sure to love.
Having a Chef Salad Bar is one of my favorite ideas, people tend to eat a lot less meat as a topping than if it’s the main course so it’s a great way to stretch your budget and still have a fun and healthy meal!
3. Opt for bone in meat.
If you want to serve your guests meat, make sure it is bone in. Bone in will always cost less than de-boned meat, and it still tastes just as great. For example instead of boneless chicken breasts, make BBQ chicken legs.
I do this a lot with my family, we make this Cajin Lime Chicken recipe for Chicken Wings, Thighs, or even Legs – I just use whatever I have found marked down or on sale and it’s delicious!
4. Pile on the pizzas.
Homemade pizza not only tastes great, but they are cheap as well! Pile on the toppings of your choice and serve with a simple salad. People can even design their own pizza if they wish. Everyone is sure to leave feeling full!
5. Use what is in season.
Use produce that is in season, as it will always taste great and cost less. Base your salads, sides, and desserts around these in season produce items and you are sure to save.
6. Always serve buffet style.
Serving buffet style is a great idea when cooking for a crowd. Chances are, not everyone will want to eat everything you serve. People like to pick and choose. Having a buffet allows them to do this and food will not go wasted.
7. Opt for drink mixes.
When feeding a crowd, you should also have drinks on hand. Use drink mixes instead of bottled drinks. They cost way less! There are many generic varieties that taste fantastic and cost just pennies to make.
Cheap Meals for a Crowd
If you’re still looking for other ideas then make sure you check out my Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe, this is a great inexpensive recipe that can feed a lot of people easily! I’ve also put together a list of 15 of my favorite recipes for feeding a crowd!
BBQ Beef, Pork or Chicken Sandwiches with Chips (My Favorite recipe here)
Taco Bar (Doritos Taco Bowls are fun!)
Baked Potato Bar (Try Making Baked Potatoes in your Crockpot)
Chili with Frito’s & Cheese
Homemade Soup Bar (try this Chicken & Wild Rice Soup Recipe)
Lasagna, Green Beans & French Bread
Chicken Alfredo (I have a great easy alfredo sauce recipe here)
White Chicken Enchilada Casserole (Get the recipe here)
Beef Stew (I have a great crockpot recipe here)
Mexican Pile Up (One of my families favorites!)
Chef Salad Bar (Include Cheese, Eggs, Turkey, Ham, etc as toppings)
Sloppy Joes (Fun Sliders Recipe Here)
Hot Dogs Grilled Around a Bon Fire
Pancakes or Breakfast for Dinner
You can also check out all of these 5 Meals for Under $5 Recipes. These are smaller batches but you could easily double, triple or quadruple the recipes to feed a crowd!
Don’t worry about your wallet the next time you need to feed a crowd. Instead, give these tips for feeding a crowd for less a try!