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Lunch Party for 13 on a Teeny Tiny Budget

(35 Posts)
VenusInFauxFurs Wed 16-Dec-15 19:22:52

Money is VERY, VERY tight at the moment. I am having all my family round for lunch next Sunday. There will thirteen of us. It's for a family birthday so NOT Christmas-themed.

It will be a vegetarian spread. I am thinking of doing pasta with accompanying sauce/veg. And bread and salad. Also couscous as one of the guests doesn't eat wheat. I don't have much in the store cupboard - although there is olive oil, balsamic vinegar, plenty of dried herbs and spices and an enormous pumpkin. (Some kind of roasted pumpkin side dish?). Am fine for posh tea and coffee.

I don't drink alcohol. It won't be a boozy affair anyway (middle of the day, lots of children there) so the couple of people who might want a glass of wine will bring a bottle with them. So I don't need to budget for booze. My niece is bringing the birthday cake.

Not planning to do a starter. So I need pre-meal snacks, the main meal and a pudding. (Preferably something fruity and wheat-free). I have Sainsburys, Aldi, Morrisons and Asda nearby.

I am a decent cook and will have plenty of time to prepare. I am happy to spend all Saturday preparing. So ideally I want super-cheap ingredients that I can make a bit special.

I would really, really appreciate everyone's suggestions for super-cheap but delicious meal ideas.

TendonQueen Wed 16-Dec-15 19:28:56

On the pudding front, Eton Mess is a good gluten free / wheat free option.

VenusInFauxFurs Wed 16-Dec-15 19:33:48

Good call, Tendon, thanks. I was thinking of something meringue-y. (I make a mean pavlova.) That'll leave me with a whole load of egg yolks to use up though. What can I do with a dozen egg yolks? Some kind of veggie carbonara?

Ooh, I could make my own mayonnaise! That'd be fancy. Will that work with bog-standard sunflower oil?

VenusInFauxFurs Wed 16-Dec-15 19:37:22

Oh and just to confirm, suggestions only need to be wheat-free not gluten-free. It's a health preference thing not an actual allergy.

PhoenixReisling Wed 16-Dec-15 19:42:03

Bean chilli served with rice or filled inside tacos (the addition of salad and cheese) this is obviously gluten free and cheap.

belizabus Wed 16-Dec-15 19:42:06

Cous cous is made from wheat!

PhoenixReisling Wed 16-Dec-15 19:42:33

With the addition of....

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Wed 16-Dec-15 19:48:35

Pasta for so many is a pain to cook.

I think the suggestion of a veggie chilli is perfect. Roast pumpkin would be lovely on the side of that. Bowl of rice or a load of baked potatoes. Bowl of grated cheese. Salad if you want it. If the kids won't eat chilli, they could have baked potatoes and cheese.

No need for pre-meal snacks.

Pudding - icecream with frozen berries warmed through with a glug of red wine and a bit of honey and cinnamon/nutmeg . Icecream in cones for the children.

VenusInFauxFurs Wed 16-Dec-15 19:52:04

belizabus - Cous cous is made from wheat!

So it is. "... a berber traditional North African dish of semolina (granules of durum wheat)". Huh. I genuinely didn't know that. I already checked with my sister and she said that she is happy to eat couscous. Not a wheat-avoider then. Just a fussy cow. smile She doesn't eat flour or pasta. Maybe it's a processed wheat thing?

VenusInFauxFurs Wed 16-Dec-15 19:59:00

No need for pre-meal snacks.

I think snacks are handy for the bit when people are mingling on arrival. There can be a bit of a gap between first lot of people arriving and the last. Was thinking of doing popcorn. Maybe with an unusual flavour. That's cheap. And some value tortilla chips or peanuts.

Artandco Wed 16-Dec-15 19:59:53

Not Coucous, that is wheat!

I would do a veggie Greek theme. Slightly different but easy and something for everyone

- veggie mousakka x2 dishes
- large Greek salad ( cucumber/ tomatoes/ olives/ red onion/ feta)
- houmous
-pitta bread ( fills people up cheaply, get from foreign grocery if possible as even cheaper)
- tzaki
- veggie sticks ( carrot/ cucumber/ red pepper) - more carrot as cheaper

The pitta bread and veg sticks can be eaten with the houmous and tzaziki dips as a snacky starter / pre dinner snacks. Buy the houmous, make tzaziki ( Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, dried mint, lemon juice).

I think you can easily make the above for 13 for £20 and will have ingredients left oven to use yourselves

Artandco Wed 16-Dec-15 20:01:05

Oh and mousakka is potato not pasta so suits everyone

Artandco Wed 16-Dec-15 20:02:36

The bbc mousakka veggie recipe is easy and not too many ingredients.

VenusInFauxFurs Wed 16-Dec-15 20:12:34

Excellent idea, Artandco.

Is this the BBC moussaka recipe you mean?

Definitely agree with "more carrot as cheaper" with regards to veg sticks/salads. Plus carrots are delicious so that helps.

Artandco Wed 16-Dec-15 20:18:17

That's pretty much the recipe but bizarrely that one doesn't include potato which is should... But you can just par boil sliced potatoes a few mins, add to the creamy topping on that recipe then add that potato and creamy topping ontop instead of just the creamy bit

dottygamekeeper Wed 16-Dec-15 20:21:58

The North African chick pea stew from the HF-W veg everyday book (leave out the orzo pasta, or substitute with rice). It uses squash, passata (or tin of tomatoes), tin of chickpeas, red lentils plus various spices and is really delicious. Youcan make a big quantity very easily and just serve with a green salad.

Or roast the squash and cook green lentils and then toss them together in a mustardy dressing with some watercress (this is another HF-W recipe).

Chewbecca Wed 16-Dec-15 20:28:36

Have you ever looked at Jack Monroe's recipes? Website is now called 'cooking on a bootstrap'? Everything's costed out and there's a lot of veggie recipes. Well worth a browse round.

this brownie recipe might go down well with a big group including children.

Domino777 Wed 16-Dec-15 20:35:39

Bean chilli with rice, fresh coriander and Greek yogurt. Ice cream for pudding

Skippedthelightfandango Wed 16-Dec-15 20:37:25

you could make garlic mayonnaise with the egg yolks and serve with crudité as a starter/nibble. The garlic will hide that you aren't using olive oil in it. You could also make hummus (dried chick peas are cheap but you will have to go somewhere other than aldi for them) to go with it.

I think the vegie chilli would be perfect and simple. Guacamole and salsa with it, and a big bowl of leaves. Yes to the jacket potatoes too.

then meringue for pud.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Wed 16-Dec-15 20:51:34

I was trying to save you some time/money by saying no need for snacks. smile

If you do want them, popcorn sounds great. Personally I don't like value peanuts (too oily) or tortilla chips (dusty), so would prefer just the popcorn. Maybe two flavours, one sweet and one savoury?

VenusInFauxFurs Wed 16-Dec-15 20:52:06

Chewbacca, thanks for the Jack Munroe recommendation. Funnily enough, I was checking out the recipes there before you posted.

Skippedthelightfandago - dried chick peas are cheap but you will have to go somewhere other than aldi for them
Ooh, just remembered, I have a wonderful Indian supermarket nearby. Very cheap for pulses/rice etc.

VenusInFauxFurs Wed 16-Dec-15 20:59:03

I was trying to save you some time/money by saying no need for snacks.

And it's very much appreciated, Remus. smile

Sweet snacks seem weird before a meal though. Maybe one lot of salty popcorn and then some chilli/spicy popcorn.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Wed 16-Dec-15 21:00:17

Save the sweet for after dinner. The children would love you. grin

thenumberseven Wed 16-Dec-15 21:06:48

To make the mayonnaise place 4 of the egg yolks in a tall narrow container, add salt, lemon juice and pour in oil. Place stick blender right at the bottom of jar and switch on. Beat without pulling blender up until it thickens then pull blender up slowly. If mayonnaise is too thick you can lighten with a little bit of milk. Sunflower oil will be fine.
For ali-oli add garlic (not too much) at the beginning

You could use it on a potato salad or to top tuna stuffed eggs

VenusInFauxFurs Wed 16-Dec-15 21:12:05

Definitely need to get some after dinner chocolate, I reckon. For the kids and the grown-ups. Luckily there's load of special offers at the moment. I might hit Poundland for a big bag of pretendy Quality Street.

The kids coming aren't particularly fussy. Well, two aren't fussy at all. The other one is fussy in unexpected ways. A few Christmases ago, he only ate sausage meat and then had a couple of apples for dessert. He's less picky these days but is on the autism spectrum, so he likes to be in charge of what he eats. If there's enough separate food on offer, he'll find something he likes. Even if it's a plate of plain rice with grated cheese and a side order of grapes.

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