- Ease of preparation
- What I had in the freezer and/or pantry
- What could be made ahead
- Cost (I keep within my normal monthly food budget)
This is my tried-and-true chocolate cupcake recipe topped with a peanut butter frosting. Guess which cupcakes were the most popular? Everyone loves their chocolate.
For decorations, I aimed for simple, yet still festive. I bought this Happy Birthday banner when my son had his third birthday, believe it or not. I just keep it in storage and hang it up for any birthday we celebrate. I added a little “congrats grad” star to the bottom as we were celebrating both for him.
From the Dollar Tree we decorated with streamers, confetti, hanging lanterns, a table decoration and a yard sign, for a total of $8.00. Brian’s folks contributed the balloons- at a dollar each, they are a fun and easy way to add to the decor.
I chose a black bean and corn salad because beans are cheap and I have corn in the freezer to use up. I added a red pepper and an onion plus a spicy cumin dressing (a Rachael Ray recipe) and made it the day before for the flavors to blend.
Pasta or grain salads are another cost-effective way to serve a large group. This Barley Pesto salad was a new recipe (another Rachael Ray recipe) which I chose because it used pesto which I already had in the freezer from last fall (yes, it’s still good!).
This recipe for Spinach-Artichoke Dip was terrific paired with bread or vegetables. I liked that it was rich-tasting, but not greasy like some of these dips can be. I estimate this dish to cost about $5.50. And there was only a spoonful left.
I did make another dip, a fresh onion dip with caramelized onions, sour cream, garlic and salt and pepper to serve with the cut-up vegetables.
As I mentioned previously, the Easy Artisan Bread was the item most people raved about. What an great way to make an impression- cheap and easy!
And I think this was one of my best decisions, though maybe not the most frugal. I loved having Brian in charge of grilling the Italian sausages- one less thing for me to think about.
This is linked to Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom