How to Feed a Crowd on a Budget

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Preparing food for a large group of people can easily turn into an expensive task. There are many ways to feed a large crowd without emptying your bank account. You simply need to get creative and spend some time planning the event. It can be very intimidating to prepare a large feast for a crowd so don't be afraid to ask for help. The following steps will help assist you with money saving ideas to feed a crowd of people.

  • Do a Potluck! Potlucks are great because you're guaranteed to have a wonderful variety of foods and it ends up being a community effort. Just make sure everyone is designated a specific course so you don't end up with too many side dishes or desserts. On second thought, I suppose you can never have too many desserts...but you get the idea. A potluck will save you a lot of money when feeding a crowd.

  • Serve chili. The ingredients for chili are usually inexpensive such as beans, potatoes, canned tomatoes, bulk cheeses, vegetables, and spices. If you have a large crock pot, you can keep the chili warm and let the crowd serve themselves. A self serve chili pot will take the stress out of serving a crowd of people all at the same time while trying to keep everything warm.

  • Crock-Pot meals can be a big hit for a large group of people, not to mention inexpensive. Most of the ingredients that go into a slow-cooker are inexpensive, especially since it's better to buy them in bulk. Again, the meal will remain warm in the slow-cooker and makes a great self-serve option.

  • Consider theme ideas for your meal. A Mexican theme will go over great with a large crowd. By setting up a buffet style table with items such as fajitas, tacos, and enchiladas, your guests can serve themselves. A stir fry wok can be used to quickly cook vegetables and meat for the fajitas. You might want to invest in a couple of plate warmers for the enchilada and rice dish. Tortillas, vegetables, rice, tortilla chips and salsa can be purchased at low prices if bought in large quantities.

  • Another great theme idea is to create an Italian meal to feed a crowd. Italians know good food and they especially know how to enjoy it with their large families. Use a slow-cooker to keep a meat and pasta dish inside to keep warm. Pasta, pasta sauces, and bread are very inexpensive. Making a couple of large lasagna dishes and maybe even a tiramisu in a casserole dish for dessert will be a big hit with your crowd if you are on a budget.

  • Create a master list of every item you will need for the meal you've chosen to make. Seek out any coupons that will save you money on the items from your list. When choosing brands from your master list, go with the inexpensive generic brands. In most cases, people won't be able to distinguish an eight dollar jar of pasta sauce from a three dollar jar.

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