Christmas Party Food on a Budget -beautiful menu, including drinks for $100, and hot and cold food. How to entertain this Christmas without breaking the bank, without your guests even noticing.
I’ve been sharing all the details of the Christmas Ornament Making Party with you and today, for my final post on the party, I want to share the food with you. I love to entertain, but especially around the holidays, things can really start to add up. I wanted to share with you the great food I made for the party, and how I did it on a budget -all for about $100. Admittedly $100 isn’t cheap. But, I made two hot appetizers, plus other cold nibbles, a dessert table, and drinks. For this quality of food, I think it was a great price.
I know that some people just don’t have time to look for sales, and stop by multiple stores for a party, but if you have a little time, here’s how I did it on a budget. Start out by browsing the grocery store flyers the week before the party. I found a few things on sale, and thought about some budget conscious items that would still be great.
A cheese tray seems like a stable for a Christmas party, but cheese is expensive, so right away I tried to think out side of the box little. I found pork shoulder on sale for a $1 a pound, so I decided on mini pulled pork sliders for the main appetizer. I went ahead and shopped the week before for some of the things I needed that I knew would keep. The next week, I hunted the flyers again, and what I couldn’t find on sale I bought at a cheaper grocery store.
I used what I had in my fridge and pantry, and didn’t include it in the cost breakdown, since you would probably have things like vinegar, onion soup mix, and sugar too. Where I did need something -like eggs and onions, I included it. I did over buy, so in this break down, I only put down the one bag of chips we ate, rather than the 2 we bought, for example. There is a big lesson here when you’re trying to save money -don’t buy too much food. I never want to run out of food and always seem to err on the side of too much, but at least the food gets eaten as leftovers -we had pulled pork for days. 😉
The Savoury Appetizers
I started out with the pulled pork since I found the pork on sale. This was my main hot item for the party. I found a good crock pot recipe here, which also meant it could be made ahead.
I served the pork with a homemade coleslaw on slider buns, that were the perfect size.
For a vegetarian hot option I served perogies. They were simple frozen ones, garnished with a little sour cream and some fresh chives. They looked great, and were super easy. Simple food dressed up with a garnish and served individually is always a hit.
I also made some homemade humus and served it with some chips I made from pita bread, and rice crackers for my gluten free guest. Humus is really inexpensive when you make it yourself and always a hit. I also made a veggies and dip platter, and offered some kettle chips to go with the dip. Both were good vegetarian and gluten free options.
The Sweet Table
I wanted to offer my guests a few nice sweets too. Vanilla cupcakes are a fav. of mine. My go-to recipe for vanilla cupcakes has become the Barefoot Contessa’s coconut cupcakes, with the coconut left out, and with a plain vanilla icing.
They were delicious. I loved how retro they looked with the cute little Santas on top. I found the Santa ornaments at the dollar store, and added a toothpick to the bottom to make them into cupcake pics. Then I added a sprinkle of edible glitter.
Since the theme of the party was retro Christmas, I thought it would be fun to do some no-bake cheesecakes, since they’re a little retro too. I used this recipe. I served them in little mason jars, with some antique little spoons and they were really cute.
For a healthier but still sweet option I wanted to offer some fruit. I bought some berries -which everyone always seems to feel are a treat. By shopping the sales they weren’t too expensive and they looked great too.
One of my favourite additions to the dessert table were these walnut stuffed dates. I wanted to do at least one gluten free dessert and this was what I came up with. It was also a great option for anyone watching their weight. They were really simple…except for slitting the shell exactly in half. I found a tutorial on-line here, that suggests baking the shells first. I bought about 20 walnuts and ended up with about 16 good halves -which is less than 50% so…plan ahead and buy some extras.
At first I wasn’t sure how to serve the dates and make them look pretty. I ended up used an olive tray to serve them, and filled it with coarse sugar to keep the empty walnut shells from tipping over. To make them I stuffed a walnut piece into half of a date, and placed it in the shell and added a little edible glitter (I promise I don’t have any shares in an edible glitter company, it’s just my new fav. Don’t worry I have enough room in my heart for it and spray paint.) 😉
The last expense was the drinks. The homemade hot chocolate was expensive to make, but I think you could really taste that it was homemade from real milk -get the recipe here. A bunch of the items for the hot chocolate buffet were from the dollar store. I didn’t include the cost off the marshmallows in the breakdown, since I made them earlier in the week and didn’t keep the bill. All I had to buy was the gelatin -so probably a couple of bucks. I already had the Bailey’s and Kahlua, which helped. I picked up a couple of bottles of wine. The punch was a just juice and ginger ale, both found on sale. I already had some bottled water. I probably didn’t need this many drinks, but some of everything was used.
Here’s a break down of roughly what I spent, if you’re interested. As I mentioned, I used items from my pantry and fridge as well, but this is basically what I bought for the party.
pork $5 + onions $2 + eggs $3.25 + $3 slider buns = $13.25
perogies $2 + sour cream $2 + chives $1.50 = $5.50
rice crackers $3.25
carrots $1 + tomatoes $1 + cucumber $2 + peppers $2.50 + radishes $1 = $7.50
chick peas $1.25 + lemon $.50 + pitas $1 = $2.75
raspberries $3 + blueberries $2 + blackberries $2 = $7
dates + walnuts = $4
cream cheese $3 + lemon $.50 + cherry pie filling $2.50 +condensed milk $2.50 = $8.50
foil cupcake liners $2.50 + butter milk $3.50 + icing sugar $2 = $8
milk $4 + cream $3 + choc. chips $2.50 + condensed milk $2.50 + candy canes $1.50 + cinnamon sticks $2 + caramels $1 + choc. spoons $1 = $17.50
cranberry juice $2.50 + ginger ale $1 = $3.50
wine = $20
13.25 + 5.50 + 1.50 + 3.25 + 7.50 + 2.75 + 7 + 4 + 8.50 + 8 + 17.50 + + 3.50 + 20 = 104.75
Basically $100 -Not bad for two hot apps, dessert table, and drinks!
With food this lovely and all for about $100, life really is a party!