My husband is a pastor, and we should entertain more than we do. I hardly ever have people over, because it seems that any good meals are so expensive and hard to make. "Hard to make" never works out for me, and "Expensive" doesn't work for our budget. Is there any way you could suggest a few easy, company-worthy meals that won't break the bank? Thank you so much.
When we started this lower budget, one of my worst fears was not being able to provide a yummy meal for company. I thought that our days of guests for dinner were over mainly because I felt like I had to make a big deal over a meal when guests were here. I guess my main focus was "impressing with my meal" rather than enjoying the company of others. Very Mary vs Martha of me. But I was really hung up on it.
But when push came to shove I couldn't stand NOT having people over, so I changed my focus from impressing to providing a good meal, and our entertaining become much more relaxing and enjoyable and everyone still walked away with a tummy full of a good meal.
I use the same basic guidelines for guests as I do with our own families meals. We use meat in small portions, (usually as a part of a casserole) make sure that the side dishes are filling, and drinks are usually water in a pretty pitcher with a slice of lemon, or a homemade batch of iced tea or lemonade.
To bump it up a bit for company I usually offer a dessert, make sure my table is set with a tablecloth and the nicer dishes and glasses, and take my presentation up a notch by serving out of dishes rather than the pans I cooked in.
And it's always acceptable to invite people over JUST for dessert. What a frugal way to provide some hospitality and not feel the pressure of a whole meal.
So here are a few guest menus to get you started. They are easy to prepare as well as budget conscious. I've used these with my own guests with much success.
Dinner for 8-10
Baked Chimichangas with bowls set out for sour cream, salsa and guacamole, Spanish Rice, Green Salad, water with lemon slices and Apple Cake.
Crockpot Taco Soup, green salad, Cornbread, water with lemon slices, Easy Lemon Pound Cake.
Crockpot falafel served in a pita with lettuce, tomato and cucumber sauce, green salad, lemonade, sliced fresh fruit with whipping cream.
Ground Beef Gyros in pitas with lettuce, tomato and cucumber sauce, green salad with feta, tomatoes and olives, apple dumplings with ice cream.
Just dessert (usually offer fresh coffee)
Chocolate Torte with fresh strawberries and cool whip. (Very thrifty, delicious and impressive on a plate.)
Apple Dumplings with french vanilla ice cream. (these are INCREDIBLE!)
So don't hold back. There are ways to provide hospitality without feeling the need to serve fancy and expensive meals. Your guests really are coming to see you, not the food.