Monday, April 12, 2010

Offering Hospitality on a Budget, Part 2: Simple Suppers

by guest poster

My name is Carrie, and I write about life and stewardship at with all that I’ve been given. Hospitality and frugality are two of my main interests, and I think they can certainly go together.

In my first post, I discussed the details and fun of hosting a potluck-style supper. But of course you can serve guests an entire meal without breaking the bank. For the past two years, we’ve hosted two sets of neighbors for a winter meal to thank them for keeping an eye on our house during Christmas vacation. For last year’s dinner, I served French bread pizza, spinach salad and brownies with ice cream. Here are some of the details--this is for 6 adults and 4 kids:

I used two loaves of French bread (purchased on the day-old rack for 90 cents each)—cut in half length-wise, this made 4 pizzas. I made four different kinds, but of course you could simplify this part and just make two varieties. We made pepperoni, cheese, BBQ chicken, and alfredo with ham and pineapple (my husband’s favorite). Obviously, the toppings you choose will vary in price.

The recipe for the spinach salad can be found here. All of the ingredients are inexpensive, especially if you can snag a bag of spinach on sale for 99 cents as I often do.

For dessert, I confess to using brownie mix (on sale for $1, and snazzed up with a handful of chocolate chips thrown into the batter). We buy the big buckets of ice cream when they go on sale for $4.99—that amount goes a long way!

I did not add up the amount I spent on this dinner, but I’m pretty sure the total cost was under $15. I think that’s pretty good for 10 people!

Having others over for a meal doesn’t have to be expensive. What are some of your recipes or ideas for offering hospitality on a budget?


  1. LOVE IT! I think we'll have french bread pizza on Friday night and see how it goes over before serving it to others.

    And yes, chocolate chips add a lot to a brownie mix!

    Are you considering being more than a guest contributor here? Then we'd have Carrie 1 and Carrie 2....AKA The Carries.

  2. Mmmm - that sounds yummy, Carrie! And, I agree very thrifty for that many people! I also love to do pasta for a thrifty meal - it makes a lot and is very inexpensive!

  3. Sounds de-lish, Carrie!! I will definitely have to try this, and I think my kids will enjoy making their own 'personalized' pizza ~ fun! Maybe I could even have the kiddos 'take orders' and play restaurant when we have company!?

    I often find my crock-pot helps out with a tasty yet budget-minded meal when hosting a get-together.....Sloppy Joes, BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Pasta Hot Dish, Moc Chow Mein.

    I'm loving this series with your great idea...I hope you'll be writing more!

  4. Keep the good ideas coming!

    My favorite cheap meal for a crowd: soup. Not so appetizing this time of year but in the fall/winter it's great and inexpensive!

  5. Lisa,

    When we hosted our neighbors this past winter, I made two kinds of soup (potato ham and white chili). Unfortunately, neither of these was a hit with the kids, so that's why I didn't mention that it in my post. =)

    I do agree, though, that soup is cheap and good for a crowd.

  6. French bread pizza! SO creative and inexpensive. Great idea. Love the post.