Menus & Entertaining

Host a fabulous holiday party for 12 on a budget

Chilled Mussels on the Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce<br />Photography by Yvonne Duivenvoorden Image by: Chilled Mussels on the Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce<br />Photography by Yvonne Duivenvoorden Author: Canadian Living

Menus & Entertaining

Host a fabulous holiday party for 12 on a budget

Staying within a budget is easy with some planning. Going potluck or saying yes to offers of help reduces both the cost and workload. Here are more tips to keep your get-together affordable:

• Make shopping lists and work within a budget when planning menu and drink choices.

• If making a crudité platter, bulk it up with economical vegetables, such as carrots, celery, radishes and green peppers. Use pricey choices, such as red peppers and snow peas, sparingly.

• Cheese and nuts are costly choices. Popcorn and pretzels are inexpensive options.

• Choose meatless appetizers or less expensive cuts of chicken and meat.

• Offer economical dips, such as this mayonnaise-buttermilk one:

Buttermilk Dip recipe:
If you don't have dillweed, use another dried herb, such as oregano or Italian seasoning, or 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh, such as dill, parsley, thyme or basil.

In bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup (125 mL) each light mayonnaise and buttermilk; 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and dillweed; and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) hot pepper sauce. Stir in 1 green onion, sliced.
Makes about 1 cup (250 mL).

Budget cocktail menu for 12:
* Mini Potato Zucchini Latkes with Chunky Applesauce
Cost: $4.24 or $0.11 per piece. Splurge: Top latkes with sour cream and a bit of smoked salmon or North American-farmed caviar, such as sturgeon, salmon or paddlefish.
* Blue Cheese Bacon Gougères
Cost: $6.40, or $0.13 per piece. Splurge: Use a Canadian artisanal blue cheese, such as Bleu Bénédictin or Ermite.
* Vegetarian Salad Rolls
Cost: $9.31, or $0.39 per piece. Splurge: Make seafood rolls by adding a large cooked peeled deveined shrimp or a little cooked crabmeat to centre of each salad roll.
* Zucchini Sun-Dried Tomato Tartlets
Cost: $5.27, or $0.22 per piece. Splurge: Top warm tartlets with a curl of aged Canadian Gouda, such as Thunder Oak Extra-Old or Sylvan Star's Grizzly Extra Aged.
* Chilled Mussels on the Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce
Cost: $6.73, or $0.14 per piece. Splurge: Serve with your favourite bubbly, such as a Spanish cava or French Champagne.
* Chinese-Style Meatballs
Cost: $1.25 or $0.19 per piece. Splurge: Replace veal with minced shrimp (mince in food processor); add 2 tbsp (25 mL) more cornstarch.

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Menus & Entertaining

Host a fabulous holiday party for 12 on a budget

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