A Glug of Oil

Easy and delicious recipes including midweek dinner ideas, English and world cuisine.

How to Impress Guests with Cheap Meals

Many people don’t think that good food and saving money can go hand in hand. We can spend lots of money on meals out, fancy takeaways and indulgent snacks, and it can be particularly tempting to splash the cash if you’re hosting a dinner party. We all want to impress our guests and receive compliments.

Coins in a jar

But you don’t need to break the bank. If you’re worried about finances, you can still impress guests with excellent cooking (and could also think about a stocks and shares ISA from Wealthify). So, how can you impress guests with cheap meals?

Go veggie
Fresh ingredients don’t need to be expensive. In fact, fresh fruits and vegetables are generally pretty cheap – because they don’t last long. If you did a supermarket shop consisting entirely of fruits and vegetables, it would cost next to nothing.

If you buy exactly the amount you need, you’ll save time, money and food waste. So, why not skip the meat and serve a veggie dish? By stocking up on fresh herbs like coriander, thyme or basil, you’ll add extra flavour to a dish and it’ll feel more sophisticated. A sprinkle of parmesan never fails, too.

An excellent tomato sauce
Who said that a dish must be complicated to be impressive? Perfecting an excellent tomato sauce is a fool-proof way to impress guests, and it’s extremely cheap. All you need are some fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, stock, herbs and tomato puree. It’s so versatile.

You can make a variety of different dishes with a tomato sauce. So, if you’re worried about money, make tomato sauce in bulk and that way you can continue to eat for the rest of the week. You can turn it into a soup, add it to a chilli con carne or use it in a lasagne later in the week, easy, delicious and cost-effective.

A fancy water jug
It might sound silly, but even just by sprucing up a water jug you can impress your guests. We’re so used to drinking plain tap water, but by adding some cucumber, lemon or berries, your guests will feel like they’re in a five-star restaurant.

Instead of serving sugary or alcoholic drinks, they’ll feel healthy, revived and full of energy. Plus, a colourful, fruity water jug looks beautiful on a well laid table.

Check the cupboards!
Before you run to the supermarket with your purse, have a think about what you already have at home. Can that tin of chickpeas be used in a dish? Or what about the leftover pesto from last Wednesday’s chicken?

Instead of inventing dishes to cook that require an entirely new shopping list, think about how you can adapt the ingredients you already have. This will not only make you a more inventive and exciting cook, but it will drastically save money.

If you can get away without going to the supermarket, that’s even better. You won’t be tempted to chuck a few things in the basket at the last minute.

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