feeding a crowd on a budget {food on friday}

I promised you the story behind this picture:


Well, we had a little impromptu get-together with some friends from church last weekend, and I made the oh-so-wise decision to ask my brother to take a picture of the food for me while I was getting everything ready...

Smart people know what happens when you ask your little brother for a favor-- he gets you back for those 15 years of childhood pranks you played on him! Now I’m a firm believer in the old phrase, “don’t dish it out if you can’t take it,” but I was off my game that night.
And to think I trusted this sweet face:



So while he was supposedly snapping pics of the food, I was telling a story to some new friends about the time we found a local newspaper from 1920 in our bathroom wall {it was so cool!}.

The photo speaks for itself, I suppose- I obviously use lots of hand gestures when I tell stories of great discoveries- and even better, I look like a maniacal serial killer when I chop tomatoes and tell fun stories at the same time!

{and I so couldn’t figure out why my friends were listening so intently from the other side of room... gotta love younger brothers who aren’t afraid to capture the awkward moment on film! ;) }

Luckily he did actually take a few of the food too! {thanks, Josh- I owe you one, bro! wink, wink}

Need to feed a crowd quickly without spending a fortune?

Enter homemade Subway sandwiches, the world’s easiest solution for party food!



We bought four large, fresh loaves of French bread at Sam’s, a huge bag of shredded lettuce, a double package of turkey, and a block of cheese, assembled and cut them deli style, and let everyone pile on the condiments themselves.

The cost? About $3 per foot with thick slices of real cheese and lots of meat! We fed 13 adults and 6 kids for around $18, plus the cost of a big bag of chips and lemonade and sodas. And I even got to take my Sunday nap an hour before the guests arrived!

Now that’s my kind of party! :)

What meals do you like to serve to a hungry crowd? I’d love some new ideas!


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  1. My "go to" meal when I'm feeding a crowd is spaghetti. It's easy and cheap (if you do your sauce from scratch like I do). I might add garlic bread, but I like to keep in simple.

  2. very impressive! I always like to do homemade spaghetti and meatballs. I can throw it in the crockpot in the morning then just throw a salad and bread together right before the guests arrive. And it's inexpensive! I can't tell you how much I love your blog..by the way

  3. Those look yummy! We usually do Carne Asada Tacos. Mini corn tortillas topped with carne asada, chopped onion, cilantro and salsa. Serve with tortilla chips (and maybe a side of black beans) and soda and your set!

  4. For a crowd, I"ll sometimes do BBQ Chicken Sandwhiches. I buy the bag already indv. frozen chicken breats (family value size at Walmart). Through them frozen in the crock-pot for the day (no water or anything, creates it's own juice). Drain juice, shred, add BBQ sauce and serve with buns. I have 3 boys and boys ALWAYS like these. If I have extra BBQ chicken, I use it to make BBQ Chicken pizzas or wraps. YUM!

  5. Looks yummy! I like to make a big o pot of soup for a big crowd...either taco or tortilla or my new favorite, chicken enchilada soup. Easy, cheap and oh so good! Thanks for sharing!

  6. we do subs too! And breakfast food, build your own tacos/nachos. We've even built our own baked potatoes. Chili (not cheap) but warm and yummy. If its a really large crowd, we do pot luck!

  7. Beef and bean chili, already cooked and ready in the freezer, warming in the crockpot and potato soup......same fixins' for both...cheese, sour cream, crackers, etc. and something for everyone!

  8. I love love love Chili's version- but I've never tried to make it at home! Do you have a particular recipe? {and will you share it? heehee!}

  9. ok, that is making my mouth water. seriously. it's time for bed and I'm thinking of raiding the fridge for bbq sauce! That's going on the menu this week!

  10. Oh, thank you, Bethany!! you are so sweet! I love the spaghetti and meatballs idea- do you boil the noodles first or can you put them in dry? I'm going to have to try it!! :D

  11. mmmmm! where do you get your carne asada? or do you season it yourself? :we love mexican food!!

  12. I love the tacos/nachos idea too! we went to a friends house and had haystacks {nachos with fritos basically}- it was such a great idea! Breakfast sounds fun too... I'm getting hungry now! lol! :D

  13. Mandy,
    Here's the Chicken Enchilada Recipe:

    *Chicken Enchilada Soup

    Brown 1 onion (finely chopped) and 1 bell pepper (also finely chopped) in olive oil*
    *When onion is transparent, add 3 TBS minced garlic
    *Add 2 large cartons of chicken stock*
    *2 cans of garbanzo beans*
    *2 cans of zucchini or two large fresh zucchini chopped (I used 2 fresh, chopped)*
    *1 large can of Glory brand seasoned green beans*
    *1 large can of pinto beans (Ranch if you like or refried if you want a creamy soup) I added a can of black beans too!*
    *2 cans of Rotel original (1 can of plain tomatoes if you like a little less kick)*
    *1 large can of white hominy (or corn if you prefer)*
    *1 package of enchilada sauce mix*
    *2 bags of Tyson grilled and cubed chicken breast (comes in freezer section precooked or you can use a rotisserie chicken)*

    *Simmer and serve. You can top with grated cheese, sour cream and cilantro.*

  14. We always go to our local carnicera. We have tried it from a regular grocery store and even Costco, but the mexican markets know how to season it perfectly! I blogged about finding our carnicera at http://thelewisteam.blogspot.com/2011/07/im-home-chris.html.


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