I am bound and determined to come in at our under my $400 budget for household and groceries. I have a game plan, sort of in my head. Today is DH's day off, so to head off a rogue shop, I have a pasta prima vera crock pot dish all ready for hi to just pull out of the refrigerator, put in the heating unit and plug in. Next week is no school and besides a two day college visit trip, I've got a hungry kid home, plus assorted friends. If M comes over, the junior chef and baker, I'll give her free reign to bake up cookies and other snacks as I am good with baking supplies. I'll make sure we have plenty of popcorn, pretzels, veggies and hummus.
Now, I woke up to this crazy idea that I can do Easter dinner included with this budget as well. There will only be six of us now and my mother-in-law and cousin -in-law want to bring something. I'll request a salad and desert, which most likely will be a pie. I'll have DD2 make some carrot cake cupcakes as well. My goal is to get the whole meal for $50. My quest starts for a smallish, bone in ham at a good price. I also think I'll make a turkey breast to have two meats. Rounding out the meal will be cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, steamed mixed vegetables, deviled eggs, pickles, olives, celery and carrot sticks, and dinner rolls. If I can keep the meat to around $22-$25 this should be a doable. I have ample wine and coffee to serve and will try to squeeze some beer out of the March budget, or leftovers from having friends over (on my March goal list and counted in entertainment.)
I've hosted a ton of informal birthday parties for my kids and big open house style events like graduation, confirmations, and their baptisms but don't have a ton of experience with sit down holiday meals. I'm glad we are a small group. I hosted a very difficult Easter 22 years ago after DH's sister was in her car accident and in a coma. She passed later that summer. For the kids and for DH's grandparents who were still alive at the time, we all didn't feel we could just skip, but we wanted to be fairly close to the hospital and other than my MIL, who was not in a mindset to do any hosting,we lived the closest. I threw something together. From what I remember, it went OK.
I write this to give you a preview of what could be a crap show, or a success or something in between. Experienced holiday hosters, weigh in. What advise do you have for a holiday meal hostess? What dishes do you always serve for Easter? For guests, what do you appreciate most about being a guest? Thank you, and wish me luck.