You’ve been throwing your kids’ birthday parties for years, and though it’s great fun, it’s also a ton of work. When they’re babies it’s a little easier. You probably had a few friends and family over, but usually it’s just adults and only a couple of little kids. But once your children are in school and begin to make friends, the size of the party can simply explode. Now you’ve got a full-fledged mob on your hands, with adults, kids and even magicians and bouncy ball pits. How do you keep the precious child smiling while not destroying your monthly budget? It’s all in what you choose to serve. While the terrifying clown that the kids seem to love may be pricey, the food doesn’t have to be. Choose wisely, and you’ll leave people raving until the next big celebration.
Homemade will save. Anything you can make in your own kitchen will always save you money over the store-bought version. Consider snacks you can create at home, that fill people up while fulfilling the craving for nastier options. Nachos are great, because you can buy chips in bulk and layer on cheeses. And instead of popping pack after pack of popcorn, make it yourself with a big bag of kernels. You can split the result in half and make caramel corn or cheese corn with very little effort.
Fruits and veggies. You may be tempted to buy pre-cut plates of vegetables and fruits, but if you buy everything whole and cut it up you’ll save a bundle. Veggies are a great option, because they’re very inexpensive and with a great dipping sauce they’ll be a huge hit. Just buy sour crème and mix in a seasoning pack, and you’re good to go. Fruit will go far at a party, as long as you don’t have to leave it out so long. Keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve and you’ll avoid that oxidized look. Get a large yoghurt and a chocolate or cheese dipping sauce and everyone will be more than happy.
Bring in the sticks. Anything on a stick is a hit at a party, but it’s also a great money saver. Making kebabs with your ingredients stretches them out, allowing you to serve more people with less chance of waste or leftovers. Make chicken, steak or shrimp kebabs with plenty of fresh grilled veggies, and make fruit kebabs for the kids.
Buy bulk on your drinks. If there’s ever an area of the party menu that should be tackled through bulk purchasing, it’s the drinks. If you have a bulk store membership, stock up on all the juice and soda you can there. You’ll always save over a supermarket. But when it comes to water, cooling your own will be cheaper than buying all those bottles. The day before, use a Britta pitcher and pre-filter a couple of gallons. And when it comes to alcohol, keep it simple. Making sangria with fruit and ice will stretch the wine, while also adding a refreshing option the grownups will love.
Consider crowd-focused entrees. Any main courses that you can serve family style will help out your bottom line while also pleasing a large crowd. Tacos are a great option. You can cook up a huge helping of meat and beans, and chop up all the vegetable fillings anyone could want. The great thing is you can make it super rich or more on the healthy side depending on your tastes. Everyone gets to make their own tacos the way they like it, and vegetarians will also be well served. Make sure you have a long table or some other convenient place to lay everything out, so the line of hungry party-goers can keep things moving along. If you’re absolutely lost in the kitchen, call for the best fast pizza delivery you can find. It’s a shortcut to be sure, but no one, child or adult, ever turns their nose up at a great slice of pizza.