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Plan an Outstanding and Inexpensive Outdoor Party

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It’s been a heck of a year! You know – that pandemic thing! We are slowly making our way out to the other side and it’s time to celebrate. Many are still a little leery of hosting an in-house party. I get it. Too many people, too close together, in a confined space can have some feeling uncomfortable.

So – it’s time to get all those friends and family together outside!

I have so many ideas for a great outdoor party I thought I would put them all together and share my ideas.

inexpensive outdoor party

Ways To Host an Inexpensive Outdoor Party

A tight budget doesn’t mean all socialization and entertainment has to stop, you just have to look for new ways to entertain, like hosting a cheap outdoor party.

The economy has crimped our lifestyles by cutting down (or out) most people’s entertainment budgets. Less expendable income does not mean all socialization and entertainment has to be completely a thing of the past. You just have to look for new ways to entertain on a shoe-string budget.

Here are a few ways to host a less expensive outdoor party and party guests won’t even realize your expenses have been minimal.

Appetizer and Dessert Party

What are your two favorite courses at a dinner party? Mine are the appetizer and dessert courses! Host a cheap party by just serving appetizers for your party guests to enjoy while they mingle and get acquainted. Then create a great coffee and dessert table near the end of the party. No one will miss the entrée and you will have successfully hosted a cheap party.

Wine and cheese, cocktails and munchies provide the ice breaker for many gatherings. Appetizers are great foods to offer guests. Meat, cheese and fruit trays are easy to prepare and work for any occasion at a fraction of the cost of a full meal.

MEAT TRAY: Have the deli cut thin slices of meats like turkey, chicken, roast beef or ham. The meats can be individually rolled using a toothpick to hold in place. Arrange on a platter and garnish with parsley, olives or cilantro.

CHEESE TRAY: There are a variety of cheeses to choose from. According to Laura Werlin in a Food Network.com article “How to set up a Cheese Platter,” “select different cheeses within the same family of cheeses.” It is suggested to serve lighter cheeses like herb-coated goat or fresh mozzarella with an appetizer.

Cheese should be served at room temperature. After arranging the cheese on the tray, place the tray in the refrigerator and take out an hour before the guests arrive. Compliment the cheese by serving with sourdough bread, baguettes or crackers.

Fruit Tray: Select a base fruit. Slice evenly. Fan the slices to make sure they do not stick together, and then place in the center of the tray.

Next, add the other fruit selections around the base fruit. The fruit should be placed tight around the base fruit and visible on the tray. Barefoot Contessa suggests adding green leaves to set off the fruit color or use fig and grape leaves.

DESSERTS: Cakes, cupcakes, cheese cakes, puddings, the list can go on. Food experts recommend that hosts be comfortable with their choice for desserts. “Prepare what you know”. For a large party choose desserts that balance each other, such as, strawberry shortcake and a chocolate cheesecake or an apple pie and a lemon cake.

Another idea is to have a chocolate fountain and offer strawberries, crackers or marshmallows for the guest to dip in the chocolate.

Outdoor Brunch Party

Hosting a brunch party is always cheaper than hosting a dinner party. With a few inexpensive ingredients, like flour, eggs, jellies and fresh fruit, you can host a successful and cheap brunch party. Crepes, waffles, pancakes and sweet breads can be whipped up cheaply with basic ingredients and the brunch’s main course can be topped off with jellies and fresh seasonal fruits. In-season fruits are always cheaper and fresh fruit compotes and purees make the perfect toppings for brunch menu items.

Make it a BYO Party

A Bring Your Own (BYO) party allows every party guest to participate in food prep and showcase their specialty dish or try out a new recipe. As host, prepare the main course and allow guests to bring the side dishes and dessert.

A (Bring Your Own Booze) BYOB party will allow guests to arrive with the perfect host or hostess gift which can be served during the party.

Only Serve One Drink at the Party

A fully stocked bar is not a requirement for a successful party, choose one drink and build a party theme around it. The drink choice does not have to be cheap, but serving just one lessens the overall cost of the party. A themed, cheap, one-drink party can be anything from football and beer to cheese and wine.

Since you’ll be outside – make it a tropical, beach party!

Hosting a cheap party doesn’t mean things at the party will be cheap, it simply means less money spent on extravagant foods and more focus placed on the conversational aspect of the party. Hosting a get-together offering appetizers and desserts, brunch foods, serving one beverage choice or hosting a BYO party will cost less money while still affording good fun with family and friends.

A Great Party Food Idea That Fits Any Occasion

Food is often the most important part of a social event, whether it’s a birthday party, anniversary party or bridal shower. Whether it’s a formal affair or a BBQ – there are simple tips to make party foods look inviting.

Fondue

Fondue: One of the exciting things about fondue parties is that they encourage conversation and mingling because guests are concentrated around a communal bowl cooking together.

With the cost of entertaining increasing, a fondue party will definitely help you save. You’ll not only save money – but fondue parties take less time to prepare too!

Most fondue recipes make 4 to 6 servings – so 3 pots of cheese, meat, and dessert fondues will feed 12 to 18 people.

Another way to determine how much food you will need at your party is according to how much food an average person can eat:

  • 1/3 to 1/2 loaf of French bread
  • 8 ounces of meat
  • 8 ounces of seafood
  • 4 to 6 ounces of cheese
  • 8 ounces of vegetable
  • 8 ounces of fruit

A good rule to follow is about 1 to 1.5 pounds of food per person.

USE THE RIGHT POT: Ceramic pots are best for cheese, chocolate, or other dessert fondues where dipping is involved. Metal fondue pots are great for oil, wine, broth, or beer fondue recipes in which the bits of food are cooked within the pot.

A combination of pots is a practical way to make the most of your fondue festivities.

COOKING: Always cook your fondue on the stove beforehand and never let your fondue boil in their pots under tea lights or other heating methods. This will only make the fondue mixtures rancid and tasteless. Let the mixtures simmer under tea lights or cooking gels just enough to keep warm.

HAVE SEVERAL COURSES OF FONDUE: Traditional fondue parties start with cheese, continue with meat and then follow with a dessert. Don’t feel bound by these traditions, but it’s a good idea to have several types of fondue to please varying tastes.

If you want to experiment with making your own cheese recipe, make sure you melt cheeses of the same family, or textures together so they melt and blend evenly. Check www.cheese.com for an excellent list of cheeses and textures.

ARRANGE THE FONDUE TABLES: Set up different fondue stations or tables for each different fondue. For example if you have 3 types of fondue you could arrange 3 small tables, or one long table. Design and decorate around each type of fondue.

TIMING THE FONDUE: Fifteen minutes before your guests arrive is a good time to take the fondue sauces from stove and place in fondue pots.

FONDUE ETIQUETTE: You many want to demonstrate these techniques to your younger guests who are new to fondue. The fondue fork shouldn’t touch your mouth – pull off the food onto provided plate – Double-dipping is not allowed – Don’t dip with your fingers – If you lose your food in the pot leave it there and remove it out with a teaspoon.

Get creative with your fondue dishes and ideas.

Mexican – Add a teaspoon of pureed jalapenos, or a teaspoon of pureed salsa to a basic cheese recipe. Don’t add the worcestshire sauce to this variation of the cheese sauce. Cut up chunks of chorizo sausage for dipping into hot oil. Use paper towels to blot excess oil on meat. Serve with Margaritas.

Greek – Add feta cheese to the basic cheese sauce recipe. Cut up lamb cubes for the hot oil and serve with a tzatziki dipping sauce. Serve with Ouzo wine.

Italian – Cut up Italian sausage for cooking in hot oil and use paper towels to blot excess oil from cooked meat. Use marinara for dipping sauce. Serve with red or white Italian wine.

Easy to Make Party Dips

Every outstanding (and inexpensive) party needs great dips! Here are 4 of my favorite dip recipes!

Yield: 4 cups

Simple Salsa

Simple Salsa

Party dips are easy to make in advance. Slice up some vegetables, open some bags of chips and stand back to watch guests go wild.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 large fresh ripe tomatoes (diced) or 2 cans of drained diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 or 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, depending on tolerance for heat
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar (optional)

Instructions

    Put the tomatoes in a food processor.

    Pull the leaves off the cilantro and add to the tomatoes.

    Slice the jalapeno peppers and remove most of the seeds. The more seeds that remain, the hotter the salsa.

    Put the peppers into the food processor with the tomatoes and cilantro.

    Add salt and pepper to taste. If adding sugar, add it.

    Pulse the food processor until the salsa is at the desired consistency.

    Cover and chill for at least 1 hour for flavors to continue melding.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 7Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

AnOpenSuitcase.com offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The information comes from online calculators. Although we attempt to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Yield: 1 cup

Easy Onion Dip

Easy Onion Dip

People enjoy munching on chips and flavorful dips while chatting, and party dips are easy to make in advance.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sour cream Paprika
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. of chives
  • 2 tbsp. of dried onions
  • 1 packet of dry onion soup mix 
  • Salt and pepper (optional) 
  • Paprika

Instructions

In a medium mixing bowl, combine sour cream and mayonnaise. Stir well

Add the chives, dried onions and dry onion soup mix.

Now is the time to add salt and pepper if using it.

Cover the mixing bowl and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Scoop the dip into serving bowls and sprinkle lightly with paprika for a festive look.

More chives may be sprinkled on top for even more color.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 83Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 321mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

AnOpenSuitcase.com offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The information comes from online calculators. Although we attempt to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Yield: 4 cups

Mexican Layered Dip

Mexican Layered Dip

This simple and easy layered dip will be the hit of any party! It's a great take on the typical 7 layer dips available in stores because it's made fresh.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 can of refried beans
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 small package of softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 1 ripe diced tomato
  • 4 cups of shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup of sliced black olives
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

    In a medium mixing bowl, combine the refried beans and tacos. Stir well

    Scoop the beans and spread in the bottom of a serving platter or casserole dish.

    Using a hand mixer, blend the cream cheese and sour cream in a mixing bowl.

    Spread the cream cheese and sour cream mix over the beans.

    Add the salsa and spread over the creamy mixture.

    Add the lettuce and spread it over the salsa.

    Sprinkle the top with the black olives and cheddar cheese.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 143Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 389mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g

AnOpenSuitcase.com offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The information comes from online calculators. Although we attempt to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Yield: 2 cups

Guacamole Dip

Guacamole Dip

Everybody loves guacamole! This will make the perfect addition to any party and it's easy to make!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup of minced onion
  • Leaves from 2 cilantro stems (more if desired)
  • 1 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • 1 diced small ripe tomato
  • Chopped Chili or jalapeno pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the avocados, remove the seeds and scoop out the avocado. Put in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Mash the avocado.
  3. Add the onion, cilantro, lemon juice and salt.
  4. If using the chili or jalapeno pepper, add now.
  5. Cover and chill until serving.
  6. Right before serving, mix in the diced tomato.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 107Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 217mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

AnOpenSuitcase.com offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The information comes from online calculators. Although we attempt to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

All of these dips are delicious served with corn chips, potato chips, pita wedges, bagel chips, carrot sticks, celery, broccoli florets or anything else that can be dipped. Divide up the salsa, onion dip, guacamole and Mexican layered dip and place them strategically around the party so everyone can enjoy them.

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