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Entertaining made cheap and easy???

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
For my daughter's 2nd birthday, we're having 17 adults and 4 kids... with a total of 4 vegans and 3 gluten-freers... The rest (including myself) must have meat! Sooo.... What do I serve for dinner??? (It's a 5:30 PM party)

I wanted to make a buffalo chili and a vegetarian chili, but the buffalo chili would turn out to be pretty pricey, because I'd need at least 2 lbs. of meat.

I don't know... Does anyone have any ideas for me, that's cost effective, won't take all day, and satisfies everyone???

Also, I love these sheet cakes from Whole Foods, but the vegans and gluten-free folks wouldn't be able to join in the fun on that.

Should I just serve cough drops???
post #2 of 4
2 pounds of meat in chili for 17 adults? it doesn't seem like much to me. And with prices here, that would cost 15 dollars for 2 pounds of ground buffalo. Yes, not "cheap", but it's honestly not that much, since beans and stock and tomato paste and spices for the chili are all fairly inexpensive. so you spend 20 dollars on the chili? for 17 adults and 4 kids, it doesn't strike me as expensive at all.

If it's too much, how about ground beef chili? or turkey or chicken chili? They are all less expensive meats. if you have to have meat, it won't be super cheap to feed 17 adults.

chili sounds like a great option, because you can make it gluten free, but the folks who eat gluten can have it without bread. it doesn't need much hands on work. you can make two batches one with and a small one without meat.

For dessert, I would say that there isn't nessicarily an obligation to provide cake for the vegans and the gluten free folks. I would provide a dessert, but maybe get some coconut milk ice cream or dairy free sorbet, so that everyone can have some. trying to have a vegan, gluten free cake will drive you up the wall.
post #3 of 4
You are describing my family, and I feed them often!!! We have four vegans, 2 gluten free, and 12 carnivores!

I think the chili is a great idea! You aren't going to be able to S-T-R-E-T-C-H your meat any further than that! Add lots of beans and yummy sauce and spices, and some rolls for those able to eat gluten.

I often do indian food, as it lends itself to gluten free and vegan cusine quite naturally.

Soups are good too! You can make 2 or 3 soups, add a salad or two and you're good.

As far as dessert, I do make gluten free cupcakes/cake as I'm one of the gluten free-ers, but I also always have a lovely platter of fresh fruits with dark chocolate dip, and a coconut ginger dip. This gives everyone a lovely dessert, (and often it's more popular than the cake/cupcakes! lol)
post #4 of 4
When I am entertaining (and it's always on the budget) I usually first look to see what meat is on sale, then plan my menu around that since that will be the most expensive thing.

To give everyone lots of variety due to differing tastes and dietary needs, I also usually don't just serve one big dish and one dessert, but lots of little things and people can pick and choose what will satisfy them. My meals usually consist of vegetable platters, some form of soup or bread (I know the bread is not ideal for your gluten free people), then a main dish. Dessert is usually a main dessert and a fruit tray or a big bowl of grapes - which is also a hit with two years olds.
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