Cheap xmas get-together

Hi all, just looking for a bit of advice for over the xmas period. I am having a get together with some friends doing food and drink for them at my house. There will be 9 people including me and partner and I am looking for cheapest buffet food to do and cheapest drinks? I don't really want to but these packets of buffet food from supermarkets as they seem to come out tasting really naff, also don't want the food and drink to look obviously cheap. I am willing to cook from scratch and have room in freezer. Not a lot to ask lol but I know some of you guys can perform miracle recipes on a budget so please help. My budget is £40 including drinks. Thanks xx;)

Ps also having in-laws for a meal over xmas so any cheap main and dessert xmassy meals you can think of would also be greatly appreciated.
Mummy to two beautiful girls and one gorgeous boy.


  • We have a party each year for dh's students and colleagues. The menu was set years ago when we had no money - I do a big pan of chilli (and a smaller one of veggie chilli) and serve with chunks of French bread. It can be eaten out of bowls standing up with a fork or spoon - and I think if we changed it now after 12 years there would be a riot.

    One or two hot dishes can work out a lot cheaper than cold party snacky things.

    “the princess jumped from the tower & she learned that she could fly all along. she never needed those wings.”
    Amanda Lovelace, The Princess Saves Herself in this One
  • frogga
    frogga Posts: 2,217
    First Post First Anniversary
    Hi Smiler,

    I had all my work collegues over for lunch in the summer. There were 20 of us and I did a massive pan of veggie chilli that I left on the stove and served with jacket pots. The guests came over in relay as we had to do it in shifts while some stayed at work to cover. I cooked it in the morning and left it warming on the hob. Same with the jackets, just kept them warm in the oven. The chilli went down VERY well and everyone exept 1 had seconds!:j

    AS for the drink, is it rude to ask people to bring a bottle? I guess that's the bit that would bump up the cost. I just had a non alcholic fruit punch and cups of tea and coffee. It was lunch time and everyone had to go back to work so they didn't want "drink". As a tea totaler I would have no idea what booze to buy anyway.:rotfl:

    Hope it goes well, let us know xxx
    Say it once, say it loud ~ I'm an Atheist, Anti-Royalist, Socialist, Tea-Total Veggie Frog and PROUD!:D

  • PasturesNew
    PasturesNew Posts: 70,698
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    Ask them to bring a bottle and a plate of nibbles with them.

    Nobody minds. And at least that way they get to bring their favourite thing.

    Often people have something that they never buy themselves because they're the only one that eats it, so they're glad of the good excuse!

    Also a lot of people LOVE the excuse to make a favourite thing they love cooking and never get chance to normally again because nobody but them in their household would eat it.

    It also breaks the ice as everybody's asking "ooh that's nice, where did you get that?" or "mmmmm can I have the recipe?". Less awkward silences.
  • I agree that asking people to bring a bottle and plate is a good idea.

    Then you can use some of your budget to make a mulled wine and provide some nibbles without having to spend all of it
  • CRANKY40
    CRANKY40 Posts: 5,669
    Debt-free and Proud! Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Pan of chilli, and a pan of hot pot in case anyone doesn't like spicy food, or maybe a pasta bake that would be cheap enough, and some french bread - goes with anything.

    Will the in-laws be looking for a break from roast dinners? Braising steak feeds plenty of people and pretty much cooks itself once it's on?
  • sandy2_2
    sandy2_2 Posts: 1,931 Forumite
    Turkey curry.......................
  • If you happen to be near a market, how about Roasted Veg ? This could include: courgettes, sweet potatoes, peppers, squash, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, aubergine, red onions - any root veg going cheap down the market. Roast in the oven with olive oil, add some garlic in there, bay leaf, etc. You can do this a day or two in advance, and serve it hot or cold, looks gorgeous and more expensive than it is. :D
    All Art is the transfiguration of the commonplace
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  • Jake'sGran
    Jake'sGran Posts: 3,269 Forumite
    I could just eat some chilli! One thing that always goes down well is trifle. I used to use jam rolls sliced as the base but I don't think there is much difference in price now between them and trifle sponges. If you have a bit of sherry, sprinkle that on or any other sweet drink you might have in the cupboard. Cheap mandarin pieces (all the supermarkets sell them) come next. Then thick custard, cream and I grate chocolate and any nuts I can find over the top. A couple of these on the table will fill a lot of space. Oh, just remembered, there is a quick and easy cheese slice that will disappear in seconds. Buy flaky pastry, roll it out, cover it with chopped, cooked onion, then grated cheese (cheap cheddar will do), season if you wish then turn it over and over into a long sausage shape - don't forget to seal the long edge - and then slice it into thin pieces with a sharp knife. Bake at about 400deg. It's quick and easy. Some people like cold baked beans so have a bowl of those, hard boiled eggs, sweetcorn, tuna and white beans mixed. Sliced melon fills a gap too.

    None of these will use up much of your budget.
  • Gingham_Ribbon
    Gingham_Ribbon Posts: 31,520
    Combo Breaker First Post
    How about mini pizzas, garlic/herb pittas cut into strips, carrot, cucumber and courgette cut into batons with hummous and another dip, sandwiches, couscous salad, tomato based cold pasta salad...and ask people to bring a bottle. It's a lot to expect you to provide drinks for so many people.
    May all your dots fall silently to the ground.
  • vanoonoo
    vanoonoo Posts: 1,897
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    a bottle of cava mixed with a litre of orange and some ice in a big jug makes a really nice bucks fizz style drink and isnt too pricey - should get a wine glass full each out of that for about £6 - its a nice drink for when people arrive.

    but I agree with getting people to bring a bottle for the rest of the event!


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