Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Dinner Party for Less Than $100
Last weekend we hosted a dinner for three for $99.64. We had a steak dinner, dessert and wine. We still have leftovers. How did we manage this?
· We made everything from scratch or close to scratch
· We were Money Conscious when grocery shopping
· We bought three bottles of not-so-expensive wine and a box of wine (not your grandmother’s Franzia)
For an appetizer we got a wedge of brie for $3.70, a medley of olives and other pickled vegetables from the olive bar for $2.94 and organic, whole wheat bread for $2.99. We already had ginger-peach marmalade and water crackers for the brie and olive oil and vinegar for the bread.
We got a cheap bottle of Vino Verde (I can’t remember the name - It wasn’t great) for $7.99 that we drank while cooking and waiting for our guest. For dinner we bought a bottle of Zin 91 for $13.99, a bottle of Piping Shrike Shiraz for $16.99 and a Black Box merlot for $24.99 to drink after we finished the other wines. Your taste buds can’t tell after three bottles, can they? Plus, we now have leftover wine that’s perfect for weeknights or our next dinner. Our guest brought a bottle of Barco de Piedra Tempranillo for $15.99. This didn’t add to our personal costs, so I’m not including it. It was yummy, though.
For dinner we grilled a New York Strip steak. We chose a New York Strip because they’re leaner, but not too lean. We bought 1.02 pounds at $10.99 per pound, totaling $11.21. A serving of meat should be between a quarter to a third of a pound. We know! Most people will scoff at such a small serving. Not only are we living on a budget, we’re also controlling our caloric intake. A third of a pound was more than enough for all. We seasoned the steak with a dry rub and set it on the counter for a couple of hours to get to room temperature before grilling it. This prevents toughness. Our side dishes included broccoli with olive oil, salt and pepper. The broccoli was $1.99 per pound. We bought two pounds exactly, totaling $3.98. We bought a bag of red, yellow and purple potatoes for $2.99, a white onion for $0.59, and three bulbs of garlic for $1.00. With these ingredients, we made a sautéed medley of potato quarters. We only used one bulb of garlic. We had enough broccoli and sautéed potatoes for everyone and still have leftovers. We’ll finish these this week. This will prevent us from wasting food and eliminate cooking.
For dessert we bought a bag of store-brand ginger snap cookies for $2.29 and a pint of Hagen Dazs vanilla bean ice cream for $3.99 (on sale for a dollar off). We used these ingredients to make ginger snap ice cream cookies. While cooking, we discovered a bar of dark chocolate that we got as a gift. Just before serving our ice cream cookies, we melted the chocolate down and dipped half of each cookie into the chocolate. Each person had three cookies. Being an ice cream lover, I finished the pint last night. The bag of cookies is almost gone three days later.
Our guest visited for over four hours. It was a relaxing evening with a lot of talking and laughing. We would’ve easily spent $300 at a restaurant for as much food (and wine) as we had. The wine would’ve cost over $100 alone. Not only was our food delicious, it was healthier than what most restaurants serve. We used salt, but not a lot. We used olive oil in place of butter. Lastly, we controlled our portions.
The best part was that we didn’t have buyer’s remorse the following day and half of our dinner was already made for the next night.
Consider hosting a dinner at home instead of going out and over-spending. If you don’t want to take on all of the work or you want to split the costs more evenly, have your guest(s) bring food.