Monday, April 5, 2010

Offering Hospitality on a Budget, Part 1: Potlucks

by guest poster

My name is Carrie, and I write about life and stewardship at with all that I've been given. I was excited when my blog friend, who is also named Carrie!, asked me to write on this topic, because hospitality and frugality are two of my main interests, and I think they can certainly go together.

Before my husband and I were even married, we knew that we wanted to regularly invite others into our home. One of the most common (and frugal!) ways we’ve done this is to host potluck-style dinners. I always make a main dish and usually a side or dessert, and then the rest of the meal is up to our guests. We’ve actually made it a tradition (except on holidays) to not assign a certain type of dish. This aspect has added to the uniqueness of each gathering. I don’t think any of us will forget the time we ended up with several desserts but a sparse selection of “real food.” The kids loved it. =)

I like to make things that don’t need last-minute fussing, especially since we rarely eat right away. Crockpot dishes are handy for this. Most recently, I made chickenetti—it’s delicious, frugal, and easy to make!

We keep the set-up simple, as well. If several young children will be present, we get out a small kids’ table, which our 3-year-old thinks is wonderful. I put stacks of (real) plates and silverware on our counter, and we create a buffet of dishes in the kitchen. I like to set napkins and pitchers of water on the table so they are easily accessible. I occasionally mix up some lemonade or iced tea, but offering just water is a great way to keep things simple and inexpensive.

Regarding the size of the gathering, we’ve found that we can comfortably accommodate a dinner for 10-12 guests. We ended up with 19 people at a recent potluck, and it was unfortunately more chaotic than enjoyable!

Potlucks really are a nice way to host a meal. I hope you’ll consider it sometime soon as a fun and frugal means of opening your home to others!


Do you have an idea for practicing hospitality that you would like to write up and have featured as a guest post on Offering Hospitality? Please let us know!


  1. Thanks for sharing this. I love the idea of a true potluck. People just don't seem to do them any more.

    I saved the chickenetti recipe, too!

  2. Lovely blog ~ found it from your guest poster, Carrie's blog. :-)

    I love that 'the rest of the meal is up to the guests' ~ what fun!!

    The tips for entertaining with littles were much appreciated too.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love how you and Eric have opened your home so often to so many! This is a great way to make it doable -- love you, Mom

  4. I love it, Carrie. The control freak in my might hyperventilate about not assigning elements of the meal, but I'm sure it would be good for me to let go of some control! GREAT JOB!