A dinner party for $10 a guest is possible with good planning, foodies say

Entertaining at home instead of shelling out for pricey restaurant meals is often the advice given

Tara Noland hosts dinner parties at her Calgary home at least once a month, plus for almost every Super Bowl and much more often over the holidays.

Entertaining at home instead of shelling out for pricey restaurant meals is often the advice given to people looking to reign in their spending. A full-blown dinner party with multiple courses, decorative centrepieces and signature cocktails can seem costly, but food bloggers for whom hosting is old hat say it’s possible to do for about $10 a person.

“I think planning ahead is key,” said Noland, who just celebrated the seven-year anniversary of her blog, Noshing with the Nolands.

The Calgarian starts to think about her events weeks in advance.

“I think one of the worst things is having a dinner party and you’re not participating in it because you’re in the kitchen cooking.”

Preparation can also result in savings if you scour for sales at grocery stores or even dollar stores for decoration.

Frozen turkey or chicken that can be slow cooked is easy to snag at a discount, said Idriss Amraoui, a 29-year-old in Montreal who runs the blog Broke Foodies.

He also suggests using cheaper and versatile frozen vegetables that can be whipped into a starter, like soup.

It’s not necessary to do multiple courses though, and appetizers are often just a bonus when Amraoui hosts.

Entertainers can avoid being saddled with the whole food bill by asking guests to contribute a specific dish or turning the event into a potluck. In the event of the latter, Amraoui stresses guests must be aware it’s a potluck before they’re asked to commit.

“I wouldn’t tell you, ‘Come have dinner at my house,’ and then tell you, ‘Well, can you bring your potato salad?’” he said.

Lisa Bolton’s secret to affordable entertaining is creative grazing boards. The food stylist selects one killer cheese and loads of seasonal vegetables. She’ll slice a fresh baguette and one artisanal salami into thin pieces to make them last longer.

Even dessert can come atop a board. Rather than buying a whole cake or baking something elaborate, Bolton opts to set out some chocolate bars, strawberriesand other treats.

A beautifully crafted board also eliminates the pressure for decor, she said, as it functions as a centrepiece.

If hosts want to serve a full meal instead, she suggests looking at brunch instead of dinner.

“Eggs are pretty affordable,” she said, though she tends to gravitate to a big bagel spread.

The biggest budget item though, depending on the crowd, may be alcohol. All three foodies estimated they could pull off a budget-conscious dinner party for $10 a head or less with the caveat of imbibing coming at an extra cost.

They diverge on the appropriate hosting etiquette to tackle that problem.

“If you’re hosting, you’re hosting,” said Bolton of her mindset. She tends to stick any bottle of wine brought by a guest into her cellar for future use.

Instead, she’ll serve one bespoke cocktail that can be diluted with juice to make more.

Noland also creates a cocktail that she’ll serve guests right away, but said it’s OK to designate the event bring-your-own-beer or give guests inquiring what they can bring a specific type of alcohol, like a bottle of white wine.

When Amraoui hosts, he finds it important to have at least one bottle of wine on hand, but said the expectation shouldn’t be for the host to supply an open bar.

“I think that the guests usually without even asking will bring a bottle or two and you will end up with more alcohol than you need at the end of the evening,” he said.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake’s north water reservoir project to proceed with larger price tag

Council approved the tender and budget increase for the construction of the reservoir

Town of Sylvan Lake passes 2019 tax rate, estimates education tax

Sylvan Lake and all municipalities have been left without an education tax from the Province

Town of Sylvan Lake to replace old water meters to streamline monthly billing

Town Council also approved replacing old water meters to the current technology

Drivers reminded impairment and driving don’t mix

National Road Safety Week May 14 to 20

Former Sylvan Lake resident launches latest book

Talena Winters will launch her book at the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library on Friday

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Ottawa spending $24.5M to research on health benefits, risks of pot use

$390,000 will fund two cannabis public awareness

Crackdown on money laundering does not include federal public inquiry: minister

An independent report commissioned concluded $7.4 billion was laundered in B.C. last year

Trudeau’s action plan on climate change brings B.C. politician out of retirement

Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister, is running for federal office in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

Survey finds minimal progress in Canadian military’s fight against sexual misconduct

1.6 per cent of regular-force members — 900 military personnel — reported having been victims of sexual assaults over past year

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Most Read