View Full Version : Party on a Budget

Pretti in Pink
08-05-2008, 02:31 PM
Hello Gang,

Okay, yes this is a topic off our usual subjects but you guys always have such great ideas that I thought I bounce this one off on you too.

I am attempting to give my husband a surprise birthday party but I am on a budget and I wanted to know if anyone has any menu ideas.

Thank you

08-05-2008, 07:30 PM
What does he like that you can afford? I have those cheap little trays with the bowl built in, or use a nice plate with matching bowls.

Hubby loves BBQ meatballs, its so easy. I buy the frozen family size meatballs(not much more than fresh ground). Toss in skillet with little oil and brown, then add in hubby's fav BBQ sauce and simmer low for 8-10 minutes. Serve alone or as I do: take small bowl and fill with tooth picks, place inside larger bowl and fill around with cube cheese, place on large plate and fill around with meatballs. I do the same with lil smokies (tiny sausage) with the cheese and toothpicks. Or with cooked sausage links (smoked flavor) cut at an angle with BBQ sauce, cheese and toothpicks.

Hubby loves meat. I also serve with sun tea, refreshing twist with lemon or lime juice from produce department in small little containers. The sun tea: Gallon jar w/ 4lg tea bags (tettly tea heres the cheapest) set in full sun 4hrs at least. Making tea indoors is always faster though. Everyone here loves soda, but says tea's a refreshing drink to wash down food. For dessert I always bake a rectangle cake, plain or chocolate (comes out the prettiest with powder sugar) cut into squares, placed on serving tray and sprinkle with powder sugar just before party. Makes it look fresh, pretty and no messy frosting to deal with or pay for. I keep my powder sugar in an old salt shaker, I spruce up cakes and brownies all the time.

I love to cook, if you liked these simple ideas just let me know. I'll try to think of some more I've done to your hubby's liking. I hoped I helped :D .

08-05-2008, 08:25 PM
Hey PIP -
I would love to help!! I am known to throw alot of parties and I was also in the restaurant/catering business my whole life...
Will this be at your house? Inside or out? How many people?
When in doubt, I always cook Italian. First off, pasta is really cheap and it is also cheap to make a HUGE sauce. Its always a great idea if youre having alot of people. You could do a BIG tray of ziti bake for under $25, easy..
Make your own sauce (if you dont make your own I will be happy to give you an easy, cheap recipe). Cook 2-3 boxes of pasta ($2), buy a Giant bag of shredded mozzarella cheese - and toss it all together the night before. On the day of the party, sprinkle more cheese on top, cover and cook slow for a couple of hours. Serve when ready, or heat when its time for dinner. You could accompany this will a couple of loaves of fresh bread, and a large salad to start (I also have a cheap recipe for antipasto, which when completed looks SO FANCY!!). You could have a couple of family members each bring a bottle of red wine...and BINGO! you have alot of delicious food. I also add Sweet Italian sausages to my sauce, and then put them in a big bowl for a meat - people love it and its cheap!!
I have a great dessert idea thats cheap too, if you want it!!
Let me know - I would love to help!
Love Lauri

08-06-2008, 07:57 AM
I do pasta too. Thanks for reminding me Lauri :D . I put mine in a huge crock pot all day on low. That way less fuss and in a dish that stays warm for you. I always loved to cater, bet that was a fun job Lauri. I'm sure stressful though :shock: .

08-06-2008, 08:12 AM
Hey Cheryl,
OMG - I miss that business SO MUCH!! Yes, very stressful, intense...I always worked in high volume restaurants as well. But that was what I was like before I got sick...go go go!! I used to work at the Beanpot which is across from the Fleet Center in Boston (where the Celtics and Bruins play, concerts, etc.). When there was a game, we would literally get 300 people almost ALL AT ONCE. They wanted to eat fast and drink alot before the game started. I used to make $200 in 1 1/2 hours! Then, the place would completely empty out - they would all go to the game, and we would goof around all day. The game would get out and then BOOM! Again, that many people, but now theyre all DRUNK!! We would make another $100+, and be done in another hour or so, when the night people would come in, and Id be home by 5PM!! Gosh, I loved that type of lifestyle...not to mention the money!! I worked that job while my daughter was really young and I was also going to Suffolk University up the street in Boston full time!! This is why it p--ses me off that when I got sick, people would insinuate that I was being lazy...huh??
Anyway, (whew!! that was a nice vent!!) yeeah, pasta is always a good choice as most people love Italian and its so inexpensive...
I have a GREAT dessert thats easy and inexpensive too:
Make 4 cups chocolate pudding (instant is fine and much easier)
Bake a choc. cake in rectangular pan.
When cake is cooled, cut in half. Take half of choc. cake and break it into pieces and put on bottom of large glass bowl. Make a layer of choc pudding with the first 2 cups of pudding. Make a layer of cool whip whipped cream. Sprinkle crushed Heath Bar pieces over Cool Whip.
Repeat with 2nd half of cake, and last 2 cups pudding, Cool Whip. Top with rest of Heath Bar. Refridgerate for couple fo hours. Place small bowls next to large glass bowl with trifle (which looks really cool all layered in glass bowl) and big serving spoon. Cost: Under $10 and serves alot of people.
I have never made one where there was ever any left - it always goes!!
**You can also make the same trifle, but with yellow cake, vanilla pudding and strawberries with cool whip - OMG - so yummy!!!
Take care

08-06-2008, 11:53 AM
I think I'll try the vanilla version, allergic to processed chocolate. I'll bet hubby will love it, he's a big vanilla fan. I would have loved to work there. I love the rush, then break instead of steady stream. More fun and less boring.

I have an interview with a new parent here at home in a little while. Wish me luck, I so need the business!!

Pretti in Pink, when's the party? Love to help too, although Lauri sounds more qualified :D .

Pretti in Pink
08-06-2008, 03:49 PM
Thank you ladies for the ideas. The party is going to be at the subdivision clubhouse and I am expecting about 40 people. I called my brother last night and he has agreed to barbeque and I think I'll be buying alot from Sams.

08-06-2008, 07:26 PM
oooooohhhhh, may favorite store! Love it, especially with a teenage son :lol: .

08-07-2008, 08:07 AM
I had a hot link sausage from Sam's Club, served in a french roll at a 4th of July party, that was barbequed and it was absolutely delicious and their hamburgers were really good too. I know this stuff is not the most health conscious, but having it once in a while isn't too much of a set back. Served with baked beans and a potatoe or macaroni salad, it makes a perfect meal. Men love this stuff!

Pretti in Pink
08-07-2008, 04:18 PM
that does sound good