Who doesn’t love a party? But when you are the one hosting the party, costs add up quickly. Sometimes being the hostess with the mostess leaves your wallet empty. Try these cheap, delicious crowd pleasing party foods at your next get together. All the items below are wallet friendly, crowd friendly and are easy to pull together.
Cheap Delicious Crowd Pleasing Party Food
Whether it’s a pasta, fruit, Caesar or a veggie laden green salad, these are always crowd favorites. I love salads that can be made well ahead of time and the ingredients are inexpensive. Here are my go to favorites:
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Fruit Salad with Cinnamon Chips
- The Best Italian Green Salad
- California Pasta Salad
- BLT Salad – This one is excellent!
- Balsamic and Feta Green Bean Salad
- Crudite Cups – Perfect for kids and adults too!
- Seven Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Vinegarette – This is absolutely delicious!
I make all of these salads and I almost always make them all the day before. The more they sit, the better they are. Out of all of them, surprisingly the Fruit Salad with Cinnamon Chips takes the longest to prepare. Since you make the chips out of tortillas and have to bake them, it’s a bit time consuming. However, you can buy cinnamon chips already made. I think Stacy’s is a brand that makes them. I will admit, I’ve bought them at the store and also made them. Both are great, however, the store bought chips are thicker. Which is good since I like my chips nice and LOADED.
Another time saver is that you can use your own favorite salad dressing instead of making the dressing in any of the above recipes. No biggie and no one will know. They’ll be too busy eating your delicious food.
Gotta admit. I love a good dip and have been known to be a double dipper. These dips are just that good. Dips use just a few ingredients and you can double or triple the recipe. Another wonderful thing is that these too can be made well ahead of time.
- Philadelphia Cream Cheese Onion Dip – This one is a classic. So very delicious. Though do not use the whipped cream cheese. You must use the brick. Whipped, light or fat free cream cheeses will not taste as good nor does using sour cream in place of the cream cheese. Trust me. I actually use this at the bottom of the crudite cups (mentioned above). I also serve it with chips. Get a chip that is for dip, don’t use a thin potato chip. It’ll only break when dipping into this thicky creamy dip.
- Hot Crab Dip – Confession time. I don’t use real crab – ever. In any recipe that calls for it. It is way too expensive. I use imitation crabmeat or canned crabmeat. With the other ingredients in this dip – the cheese, oil, yogurt, no one will tell the difference. I do make this ahead of time and microwave it before serving. I add the cheese before microwaving too. Serve this with club crackers or Triscuits.
- So-Simple Salsa Dip – It cannot get any easier that this. Just 2 ingredients. Feeds a crowd. You can make it spicier with a few shakes of hot sauce. Serve with those scoopy type tortilla chips. This is meant to serve warm. I do initially heat it but keep it out throughout the party.
- Cheesecake Batter Dip – Just. Simply. Awesome.
Here are three simple ways to save money when you are hosting a party:
(1) Always pick a dish that you can easily double or triple to feed a crowd;
(2) Try to pick a dish that requires under 5 ingredients that you have to buy; and
(3) Pick entrees that will be liked by kids & adults.
Here are my most served dishes:
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas – Buy some chicken breast, red/green bell pepper and tortillas and you’re all set. Kids love to make their own too. If you do not have the spices needed in your pantry, just buy 1 packet of fajita seasoning and use that. Easy peasy.
- Hot Ham Sandwiches – This is another recipe that I make when guests arrive and if there are any left, they are great eaten cold. So good and easy. I also omit the pickle relish since there are people who do not like it.
- Creamy Seafood Stuffed Shells – I always triple this recipe. Guests can eat quite a few of these shells. They are addictive. Also, I NEVER include the shrimp in this recipe. With all the other flavors going on, it won’t be missed.
- Slow Cooker/Stove Top Sandwich Fillings – I make French Dip in the crockpot. I do nothing more than add a couple pounds of deli Roast Beef and a couple cans of au jus or beef gravy. I do the same with deli Turkey Breast and add turkey gravy to the pot. Everybody loves it and can serve themselves. Serve with rolls.
- Meatballs in a Crockpot – Just use your favorite recipe for making meatballs and a few jars of sauce and put in a crockpot on low. I bake the meatballs and then add them to the sauce in the crockpot. There is less grease this way. Serve with rolls.
Lastly, for dessert I simply use a box or two of cake mix and make cupcakes. Frost and make beforehand and you’re good to go and enjoy the party. Enjoy!