Family reunions and covered dish dinners usually require large amounts of food. If you’re organizing the event, make it easy on yourself. Enlist the help of others, especially where the food is concerned. Since cost is more of a consideration than ever before, following these hints will help you and the participants enjoy reunion or covered dish dinners on a budget.
Have each family prepare one or two dishes, rather than one family being responsible for all of the food. Having everyone bring a covered dish also means that no one family must bear the brunt of the cost. Keep a list of what everyone is bringing. This helps to ensure there is a variety of food available.
Whenever possible, use store brand items rather than name brand foods. Store brands are often considerably less than the better-known brands. In most cases the people at your event won’t recognize the difference.
Choose a meal that is inexpensive. For instance, spaghetti is one meal that won’t break the family budget. Two and 1/2 pounds of noodles will cost approximately $3.00, sauce will be about $4.00, garlic bread may be around $4.00 and meat will probably run about $7.00. Considering the total price “less than $20.00” you could feasibly provide an entree for 25 people.
Casseroles are also a good choice for feeding a crowd on a budget. You can put together a large (pan of lasagna for about $40.00 and it would feed up to 30 people. Serve a tossed salad with the lasagna and another vegetable to round out the meal.
Determine how much money you have budgeted for the event and stick to that amount. Plan to spend about $5.00 per person and multiply that number by how many you expect. If there are going to be 25 or more people, that could get rather expensive – $125. Most people wouldn’t be able to afford that for meal.
Plan a menu if you’ll be doing most of the cooking. Preparing a menu will help you purchase items at the least amount possible and yet ensure you have everything you need. Having a planned menu also enables you to take advantage of sale prices on certain items which can reduce the overall cost for food.
The above ideas might be helpful when you have to feed a crowd on a budget. You may be able to come up with other ideas by talking with others who will attend your event but these can get your thoughts started. Remember to stick to your budget and ask others to provide some of the foods so you don’t have to pay for everything all by yourself.