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  • FIRST POST
    slonik
    Dinner Party ideas?!
    • #1
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:31 PM
    Dinner Party ideas?! 8th Mar 05 at 2:31 PM
    Hi,
    I've found some great inspiration in the recipies on this site and made lots of yummy cheap meals. But this weekend we've got some family members coming round for a meal this weekend and I want to impress them but can't afford to splash out too much at the supermarket.
    My aunt is a bit of a foodie and I don't think she'd think too much of my corned beef hash (yummy though it is), or other similar budget meals that I've been making.
    So I would be really grateful for any ideas on entertaining money-saving-style!

    (PS Sorry if this is the wrong thread but I wasn't sure where else to post.)
    Snootchie Bootchies!
Page 1
    • Debt_Free_Chick
    • By Debt_Free_Chick 8th Mar 05, 2:36 PM
    • 13,149 Posts
    • 9,492 Thanks
    Debt_Free_Chick
    • #2
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:36 PM
    • #2
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:36 PM
    How many courses?
  • slonik
    • #3
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:47 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:47 PM
    well, in the interests of money saving (and laziness!) I think we can safely skip the starter. Should probably do something for pudding, though I've never been much good at making cakes...
    But most of all I am interested in inspiration for the main course.
    Snootchie Bootchies!
  • Galtizz
    • #4
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:55 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:55 PM
    This could be a good cheap starter, if you use a cheap filling

    why not try stuffed peppers as a starter.

    One red peper per person, slice off the top (neatly) and reserve. Scoop out the seeds and make a mixture to fill the space left.

    fillings to try;
    mince/lentils/rice/chilli powder
    cheese/breadcrumbs/cottage cheese/herbs
    rics/nuts/sultanas/herbs/paprika

    Basically anything goes, but cook the filling first if it contains 'raw ingredients', then fill the pepper, pop the top back on and place in an ovenproof dish. Cook in the oven for 30 mins or so, until the peppers are soft and starting to brown. Everything can be assembled in advance and the fillings can be adapted to be as cheap or as expensive as you feel. If the peppers are large, serve them with salad and garlic bread as a main course.
    by r.mac
    Or how about HM soup to start
    Or potato skins (bake, cut in 1/2 scoop out most of the insides put in a bowl and mix with mince/chilli/cheese/soft cheese and chives etc. put back into potato skins)
    Or tomato/ mozarella bake, slice beef tomatos and mozarella (about 50p from Lidl) arange on plate in a big circle alternating tom, cheese, tom, chees etc. bung in the micro for 1 min or so (don't let cheese melt, just so it's soft) serve with a drizzle of flavoured olive oil (or chopped basil and olive oil)
    When life hands you a lemon, make sure you ask for tequilla and salt
  • Galtizz
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:56 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:56 PM
    well, in the interests of money saving (and laziness!) I think we can safely skip the starter.
    by slonik
    Oh b*gger, we cross posted I'll think of some mains now.
    When life hands you a lemon, make sure you ask for tequilla and salt
  • Queenie
    • #6
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:57 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Mar 05, 2:57 PM
    You can still cook an impressive meal on a tight budget.

    Slow cooked brisket cooked in red wine (cheap red wine!) was the first meal I ever cooked to impress after I was married.

    Starter was stuffed lemon (basically lemons stuffed with tuna!)

    For dessert I made a sponge cake in a fluted tin, spooned a miniature bottle of brandy over it, smothered in whipped cream and decorated it with grapes!

    Coq Au Vin (chicken in white wine) was very much a meal to impress in the 70's preceeded by a prawn cocktail and a chocolate mousse for dessert.

    In the 80's my XMIL belonged to a Singles Club and they would have Meal Safari's (a starter at one house, main at another, dessert with party at the 3rd). She would always cook a roast and that was very much appreciated by everyone.

    If I could give you *one* piece of advice from my experiences, it would be:

    Only cook what *you* feel confident and competent cooking!

    If you're planning on trying out a new recipe, a trial run is the best bet. If you have a basic recipe that you are confident with, simply look for ways to dress it up a bit, ie. instead of milk, use cream, instead of chicken pieces, get chicken breast - that sort of thing.

    Good luck
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PMS Pot: 57.53 Pigsback Pot: 23.00
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    • Debt_Free_Chick
    • By Debt_Free_Chick 8th Mar 05, 3:01 PM
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    Debt_Free_Chick
    • #7
    • 8th Mar 05, 3:01 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Mar 05, 3:01 PM
    bummer.... I was going to suggest Soup for a starter ...

    Main course
    Just about anything home-made

    Beef en daube
    Lamb Shanks
    Coq au vin

    Steak & Kidney pie - or a variation e.g. Steak & Mushroom with Guinness
    Cottage Pie (beef)
    Shepherd's Pie (lamb)
    Posh Toad in the Hole (honest!)

    Roasted Monkfish with smashed potatoes & watercress (Rick Stein)
    Salmon en Croute
    (These are only money saving if you are near the coast and have a fishing fleet locally, or a very good fish market like Birmingham - where, roughly, do you live?)

    Rosti Fishcakes (Delia)
    You can do this with tinned salmon. The Lidl one is excellent for this. Rosti is Swiss grated potato - can you grate Swiss style
    Smoked salmon lasagne with spinach (Delia)
    Money saving if you use Lidl smoked salmon.

    Do any of these appeal? I don't want to post recipes for all of them - would take forever! But need a feel for what sounds good to you.

    And is it a "grand dinner party" or a cosy family supper?

    Go on ... gimme a clue. I guarantee I'll come up with something )
    • Debt_Free_Chick
    • By Debt_Free_Chick 8th Mar 05, 3:04 PM
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    Debt_Free_Chick
    • #8
    • 8th Mar 05, 3:04 PM
    tipping orrors!
    • #8
    • 8th Mar 05, 3:04 PM
    Seriously, I would consider Soup as a starter and either skip pud or make a good old fashioned rice pudding or bread & butter pud with home made custard for dessert. These cost peanuts!
  • Galtizz
    • #9
    • 8th Mar 05, 3:12 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Mar 05, 3:12 PM
    How about sticking to something simple that you have tried before like toad in the hole with salsa. I have tried this before and it is easy to make. You can even make the salsa the night or morning before so all you have to worry about when the pressure is on is making toad in the hole.
    When life hands you a lemon, make sure you ask for tequilla and salt
  • slonik
    Thank you!!!
    Wow thank you! I wasn't expecting so many responses and so quick too!
    I am most intrigued about the stuffed lemons, Queenie!!! Do you have a recipe??! Have never thought of stuffing lemons before.....
    Debt Free Chick - I would love to have your recipes for salmon rosti and also one for coq au vin.
    And I love the bread and butter pudding idea - think that was one of the first dishes I ever cooked when I was a kid! Haven't had it for years and we do have lots of oldish bread to use up.
    It will be a Saturday lunch - not too grand but not too cosy either (I'll be on my best behaviour!).
    As Queenie rightly suggested, it's probably not a time to experiment too much so I think I'll steer well clear of toad in the hole which I have never been able to get right yet (as I said, I am not very good at baking stuff).
    Thank you all again - hopefully other money savers can find some great stuff here for their dinner/lunch parties too!
    Snootchie Bootchies!
    • Debt_Free_Chick
    • By Debt_Free_Chick 8th Mar 05, 3:43 PM
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    Debt_Free_Chick
    Salmon Rosti Fishcakes
    From Saint Delia of course

    Don't use fresh salmon. Tinned actually produces better fishcakes. Buy the tinned salmon from Lidl. This is excellent ... it's a piece of poached salmon in a tin (natch!) and nothing like "pink" or "red" salmon that we had as kids. The tin is shallow and longish .. not like a tin of tuna. I buy the one that's just "naturel", they also do other variations (can't remember) but I guess they would be fine, too.

    To serve 4 as a Main Course
    350g salmon
    225g firm fleshed potatoes
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
    1 tablespoon capers, drained & roughly chopped (or use good quality gherkins)
    2 tablespoons lime juice
    pinch of cayenne pepper (or paprika, or small amount of chilli powder)
    salt
    oil - groundnut is best

    Wash pots. Boil (skins on) for about 10 mins

    Chop salmon - with tinned, just gently use a fork to break it up, until fairly fine

    Put salmon in bowl, with capers, lime juice & chopped coriander. Mix, season with salt & cayenne.

    Don't let pots go beyond 10 mins - you want them very firm in the middle... almost raw. After 10 mins, drain them and allow them to cool until you can handle them. I put on a pair of clean rubber gloves to pick them up. And then rub off the skin.

    Take pots and grate them. If you have one of those tall graters, use the coarsest side. You want large flakes of pots.

    Mix the grated pots with the salmon mixture, gently.

    Take a small handful of the mix and gently slap it into a cake. Press gently, but leave any ragged bits of potato that stick out - these look quite pretty, when cooked.

    Make more cakes by repeating the above.

    You should get 12 cakes from this mixture ... or 8 larger ones.

    Heat oil in pan until really hot. Add fish cakes. Fry for 3 mins on each side until golden. Use a fish slice to gently press the top of the cake down onto the surface of the pan, then immediately turn over.

    Drain on kitchen paper & serve.

    Alternatively, you can put them on a piece of Bake-O-Glide and put them at the top of a hot oven. This does away with the frying bit and should save on the oil aroma in the house!

    You can prepare the cakes in advance, then put them in the fridge until needed. I've made them a day in advance with no ill-effects.

    Serve as soon as they are ready, and sprinkle some chopped coriander on top.

    Serve with any fresh made salsa.

    They should only take about 20 mins to prepare and less than 10 mins to cook & serve. So, prepare them in advance and then do all other stuff. Start to cook them about 10 mins before you need to serve.

    Once cooked, they will keep in a low oven for 10-15 mins, so if you do a starter, you can eat that whilst they are kept warm.

    Hope this is OK ...
    • Debt_Free_Chick
    • By Debt_Free_Chick 8th Mar 05, 3:48 PM
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    Debt_Free_Chick
    Delia's Coq au Vin

    The thing I love about her is this "If you do exactly what she says, it turns out exactly as she says". And this can be made the day before ... !

    http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/r_0000001168.asp

    • Glad
    • By Glad 8th Mar 05, 3:48 PM
    • 17,957 Posts
    • 39,913 Thanks
    Glad
    following on from galtizz wonderful starters, why not use some of them as side dishes to the main meal,

    I stuff peppers with lemon couscous with feta cheese and pinenuts mixed in, cook the empty peppers and lids in oven first then stuff with cooked couscous and pop the lid back on.

    For baked potato sidedish, cook potatos scoop out the potato and mash with tub of marscapone cheese and fresh chopped chives, put mix back in potato skins, sprinkle with grated cheese and pop in oven/grill until cheese melted and bubbling

    Either of these could be served with a simple meatdish, ie roast gammon
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    • Bogof_Babe
    • By Bogof_Babe 8th Mar 05, 3:56 PM
    • 10,239 Posts
    • 16,854 Thanks
    Bogof_Babe
    I have a family gathering (8 people) this Sunday, for my mum's 90th birthday. I am doing lamb casserole for the main course, with a veggie lasagne alternative (hubby is veggie and dad is semi-). Frozen mixed veg, mashed potatoes (maybe with garlic and parsley flavouring - still deciding on that) and minted new potatoes to accompany the casserole. Garlic bread and salad (*see below) for the lasagne.

    Starters will be bought prawn cocktail, smoked salmon "bits" (cheaper than slices), bought mushroom pate, and a big bowl of *salad, for people to make up their own platters. Lemon wedges and brown bread will be supplied too!

    Pudding will be the birthday cake, but I also have two bought apple strudels in the freezer, and will stick a pot of cream in the fridge, just in case required. I doubt anyone would want cheese and biscuits but we always have cheddar and cream crackers in - so they'll have to make do with that!

    I've just been doing my shopping list, and the meat will be the only expensive thing, but I have factored it into my budget!

    Now all I have to do is get organized!
    I haven't bogged off yet, and I ain't no babe


    • Debt_Free_Chick
    • By Debt_Free_Chick 8th Mar 05, 4:10 PM
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    Debt_Free_Chick
    Frozen mixed veg
    How about roasted seasonal veg with herbs e.g. turnip, carrot, onion, potato, swede, broccoli. Toss in oil, season with salt & pepper, mix with a little oil & herbs of choice. Roast in oven at a fairly high temperature

  • Lillibet
    Doubt this'll help as there are so many fab ideas already posted but I always skip doing a starter, or just have dpis in teh living room before the actual meal & have a cheese & fruit course at the end instead, it always impresses people for some reason plus it doesn't take any preperation, unlike a starter!!
    Post Natal Depression is the worst part of giving birth

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    • Debt_Free_Chick
    • By Debt_Free_Chick 8th Mar 05, 4:14 PM
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    Debt_Free_Chick
    Here's Delia's Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding

    http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/r_0000001036.asp

    It only needs cream, or if you prefer, homemade custard, here
    http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/r_0000000771.asp
    • Glad
    • By Glad 8th Mar 05, 4:36 PM
    • 17,957 Posts
    • 39,913 Thanks
    Glad
    How about roasted seasonal veg with herbs e.g. turnip, carrot, onion, potato, swede, broccoli. Toss in oil, season with salt & pepper, mix with a little oil & herbs of choice. Roast in oven at a fairly high temperature

    by Debt_Free_Chick
    I use this a lot, another mix I use is red onions, peppers, courgettes tossed in garlic and oil with cherry tomatoes added fro last 10 mins,

    using a lowfat spray oil makes it even healthier
    I'm a Board Guide on the Money Savers Arms, Discussion Time, Wales, Competitions, Marriage Relationships & Families, Health and Pet Care boards. However, please do remember, board guides don't read every post. if you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with reportable posts). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
    Compers please read the Comping Guide
    • Bogof_Babe
    • By Bogof_Babe 8th Mar 05, 4:38 PM
    • 10,239 Posts
    • 16,854 Thanks
    Bogof_Babe
    How about roasted seasonal veg with herbs e.g. turnip, carrot, onion, potato, swede, broccoli. Toss in oil, season with salt & pepper, mix with a little oil & herbs of choice. Roast in oven at a fairly high temperature

    by Debt_Free_Chick
    Hi DFC - sounds lovely but I know my limitations! I will be flapping around like a blue a*sed fly just trying to co-ordinate the simple plan. Also with two casseroles of lamb and one of lasagne I will be a bit pushed for oven space, what with the garlic bread etc. as well.

    Sigh... I wish I was organized . It always seems so easy on Ready Steady Cook!
    I haven't bogged off yet, and I ain't no babe


  • shallowpockets
    What about Fajitas? Marinate some chicken with herbs - cinammon, oregano, cayenne pepper and some lime juice and then fry with peppers, onions etc. Always a favourite with family and friends in our house. I must admit I buy the wraps and would recommend the Asda ones.
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