Cheap Meals For Summer Entertaining
Having people over for dinner is an easy way to entertain – unfortunately, it can also be expensive. The good news is that there are so many cheap meals for summer entertaining! Whether it’s grilled pizza or chicken pasta salad, you can create meals everyone will love without breaking the bank. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Sausages with Peppers and Onions – An upgrade from the basic hot dog is grilled sausages. These are a little more expensive, but the flavor is usually better and the meal is still super affordable. You can top the sausages with sautéed or grilled peppers and onions and serve with potato salad and baked beans. If you don’t want to grill the sausages, you can poach them in beer and onions for extra oomph. The alcohol will cook off, but leave you with great flavor. (As a Chicago girl, I must insert a caveat here – If you are a Chicagoan, Vienna hot dogs are just as good (if not better!) as any other hot dog or sausage. Serve yours Chicago Style (mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, peppers, pickles and celery salt on a poppy seed bun) and throw a Chicago themed gathering!). Watch for sales on both sausages and hot dogs to keep your costs down.
Fritos Taco Salad – One of my favorites (that looks amazing in a trifle dish) is this Taco Salad with Fritos. It is something that everyone will fawn over while you keep your budget intact. I usually keep it vegetarian, but you can add ground turkey, chicken, bacon or beef it you want to bulk it up a little more.
Grilled Pizza – Pizza can be a very affordable meal to make at home. The key is making dough from scratch. It’s actually easier than you might think, especially if you have a mixer, food processor, or bread maker. After you prepare your dough, shape it and place it on the grill. Close the grill and let the dough cook on the first side. Flip and add your toppings. Close the grill again and cook until the cheese is melted and the toppings are cooked. Voila! Or if you’re watching carbs, you can try a cauliflower crust for something just a touch different.
Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta – If you’re looking for a cold meal to serve, my Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta is fantastic! It makes for an excellent side dish or main meal depending on your needs. This can actually be served hot or cold, so prepare it beforehand and refrigerate or cook it on the fly and serve hot!
Black Bean Avocado Salad – This hearty Black Bean Salad is both thrifty and will produce a generous amount of food. To make it go even further than just the black beans and avocado, make triple the recipe and add a few cans of corn. This will make a huge side at a minimal cost.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches – Another really affordable meal to make is pulled pork sandwiches. All you need to do is slow cook a Boston butt or pork shoulder roast until it’s fall apart tender – 8 to 12 hours. Once the meat is done, shred using forks or meat shredders and toss with your favorite barbecue sauce. Place on toasted hamburger buns with pickles and serve with potato chips or potato salad.
Macaroni Egg Salad – If you’re looking for a side that can also be a vegetarian option (provided your guests eat eggs), this Macaroni Egg Salad is a delicious option! It’s heartier than a regular egg salad just by adding the pasta, but it can find a home both on a bun and a plate.
Kebabs – Looking at the sales at your local grocery store, see what you can find that will make a great kebab! Chicken, shrimp, beef or tofu, tomatoes, onions, pineapple, peppers or squash – there are lots of combinations that you can create on a budget.
Crispy Asparagus Fries – With asparagus on sale during the spring and summer months, you should be able to make this Crispy Asparagus at a really good price. They’re so good that you may even be able to get the kids to eat some extra vegetables on the sly!
Stuffed Burgers – Last, but not least, burgers can be really affordable – unfortunately, they can also be boring. The easiest way to jazz up burgers is to stuff them! Stuff with cheese, sautéed mushrooms, jalapeno peppers or even bacon – anything your heart desires. Pat the hamburgers out really thin and top half of the patties with whatever you want. Place another thin patty on top of the stuffing and press the edges to seal. Cook as normal and serve with your favorite toppings.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to entertain this summer. You also don’t have to sacrifice flavor when cooking cheap meals! These meals are packed with flavor and sure to be a big hit!