There’s nothing quite as warm and wonderful as having the people you love gathered in the kitchen, talking, laughing, and enjoying a healthy meal.
But if you’re a serial entertainer like I am, you quickly realize that making meals for a crowd can be a budget-buster. If you love the richness of these gatherings but lack riches, the key to entertaining is finding recipes that can feed a crowd for a relative pittance. In the pages that follow, you’ll find recipes — complete with estimated costs, nutrition facts and calorie counts (because who isn’t diet-conscious these days?) — for group meals that you can make inexpensively, as well as ways to make your everyday lunches and dinners more cost-effective and healthy.
We’ve also interspersed some healthy eating tips from consulting nutritionist, Jessica Stamm. Stamm, who earned her chops helping dieters at the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu, also contributes a few compelling comparisons — like the nutritional difference between making your own pizza and buying from Domino’s. Her philosophy is a simple one — a good diet is one that you can live with. Subtle differences in preparation can allow you to eat foods you like without blasting through the day’s caloric intake. We are grateful for her practical coaching in print and in person.
Cost-effective party-pleaser: Veggie Pizza
Want to make a low-cost meal that your family will love — and might even help you make? Think pizza. The trick to making it both extremely low-cost and fun is the same: You’ve got to make the pizza dough.
One more pizza pie: Sausage-Pineapple
You made enough dough for two pizzas, but only got a recipe for one. What should you do with that other shell? Here’s a sweet and savory topping suggestion for a simple sausage/pineapple pizza that you might like.
Make or buy: Pizza comparison
When you get home after a long day, it’s pretty tempting to just dial Domino’s. After all, who has time to cook? But you get a lot of empty calories with that convenience. Here are the details so you can decide whether it’s worth it for you.
Make-your-own flavored oils and vinegars!
Love the taste of flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars, but don’t like paying $25 a bottle to buy them?Flavored oil and vinegar is easy to make on your own for a fraction of the price.
Jessica Stamm, our consulting nutritionist, is a registered dietitian candidate and the author of A Healthy Medium blog. Currently engaged in nutrition counseling for the government’s Women Infant and Children program in Los Angeles, she formerly worked as the head nutrition counselor at the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu.
The only problem with having a family is they’ve gotta eat. Every. Single. Day. And right now all you’ve got in the kitchen is a half-eaten roast chicken, a few vegetables of dubious quality and some non-descript dry goods in the cupboard. We can work with that. It’s time for whatever’s-in-the-kitchen risotto.
(work in progress….coming soon)