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Something Easy and Cheap to take to dinner party?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by PDilemma, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    So....I got arm twisted into this all girls dinner party with people I went to high school with , half of whom I didn't even like in high school. Originally, I was told it was four people including me and there was no one on the list that I don't mind seeing. Now it has bloomed into eight people and the added four...I don't even want to see. Ever. But since I'm the only one who moved away from the town we went to high school in...the date was planned around me, so I feel obligated.

    That's all annoying enough. Then, somehow, in the last 24 hours, it has morphed into a pot luck. So far...here's what people have announced they are bringing....

    Hostess: steak, salad, red & white wine

    Others: rice dish, bread, dessert, fruit, cheese plate and crackers, steamed vegetables

    Now I feel obligated to bring something. I had volunteered to bring white wine (I often tote it to parties as I am allergic to red and most people only serve red). The hostess informed me that she only likes certain whites and doesn't "want something undrinkable" and would buy it herself (can you all see why I'm not wanting to spend an evening with these people?).

    If I show up with nothing--since the list is looking like a complete meal--I know several of them will bitch at me. But I have no money (substitute teaching does not pay well in the summer) and already have to drive 75 miles one way....

    Anyone have an idea of something cheap and decent to take?
  2. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    If you have access to a kitchen, how about making some cookies? If not, could you buy a small box of petit-fours at a bakery?

    Another option might be a couple of fancy steak sauces. You can get those at steakhouses.
  3. How about hummus & pita? You can make hummus for about $2, and the pita might cost you between $2 and $4. You can make the hummus a little fancier at very little cost by adding an avacado, or some roasted red pepper, or my favourite variation, Moroccan (season with mint, lemon, cumin, cinnamon, and a little hot sauce).

    I'm sorry you're not looking forward to the event, but do try to keep an open mind. I don't know how long removed you are from high school, but people can change. Sometimes.
  4. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    I don't see potatoes on that list. I'd probably choose twice baked potatoes - goes great with steak and not difficult. If you're not handy in the kitchen then baked potatoes is another option and make sure to take sour cream and maybe some chives along.
  5. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    Oooh - good idea - yum.
  6. my little pony

    my little pony war crawling into canada

    vodka and lots of it, you might need it
    PDilemma and (deleted member) like this.
  7. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

    How about a hot artichoke dip? It is really easy to make with canned artichoke hearts and with a loaf of french bread you are ready to go. I have a great recipe .. PM me if you would like it.
  8. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    I am far removed. And I have seen these people enough in the last few years to know they have not changed.

    Real conversation at our class reunion two years ago:

    Me to Decent friend: Who was the woman talking to you about her kid who is graduating next year?
    Decent Friend: So and so. She played volleyball and basketball.
    Me: Oh!!! (So and so had gained about 200 lbs)
    Decent friend (who has always been heavier): Yeah. I feel much thinner. (Laughs)
    Me (to her and a third person with us): Well, we've all aged well, anyway!
    Third person who is attending this party: I assume you're trying to speak for yourself and you shouldn't.

    :rolleyes: Because some people never change.
  9. chantilly

    chantilly Well-Known Member

    Brushetta. Looks like no appies
    A couple of loaves of french bread with a mix of tomatoes basil and a bit of bocconcini(yeah can't spell it )
    Plus it should go well with the host's(drinkable white wine:rolleyes:)
  10. Oh dear, that's too bad. I feel your pain.

    But at least it's just one evening. I have one old friend from high school who still lives in our same small town ... and runs into the same bitchy girls from school on an almost daily basis. (Most of them haven't changed either.)
  11. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    How about some rolls? I don't see that on the list.

    Hey, you can never go wrong with baklava! :)
  12. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    Great ideas, everyone! I knew FSU could help.

    I'm thinking I might try doing artichoke dip and taking tortilla chips for it. I can do that pretty cheaply.

    These people used to turn everything into a complicated nightmare in high school and college...and they haven't changed a bit. And my one close friend in the bunch already warned me that the hostess just wants to show off her house and two others are probably just coming to brag about how much money they make--since that is all they ever do.

    I would need lots of vodka, but I have to drive home, 75 miles. So not such a good idea.
  13. Fergus

    Fergus Well-Known Member

    A small antipasto platter: Slice a small pepperoni, get a small container of mozzarella balls, and olives and artichoke hearts in a jar. Arrange artfully with some sort of toasted bread rounds and *voila*! Maybe $25 total. :)

    Stick the vodka and a martini glass in the freezer for when you get home. :D
  14. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known Member

    Bean dip! Just blend a can of white beans with olive oil, garlic and some fresh rosemary. Serve with crackers. Presto!
  15. Aimless

    Aimless Active Member

    Flowers? chocolates? Small potted flowering plant? A frame with a sheet of good paper in it that everybody can sign as a memento of the day.
  16. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member

    No, the mean girls would make fun of that.
  17. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member

    $25 is not a cheap dish! :lol:
  18. Nan

    Nan Just me, retired

    Is the cheese and cracker item an appetizer? If so, the hummus and pita bread would go well with that. Add some olives to the tray.
  19. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    I think that if you have some pre-set things to say, it will help you a lot. That way you don't have to grit your teeth and think of something on the spot. But you can insert a word or two that fits the situation.

    Friend with new house: this is a lovely house, how did you pick out the colors for the (insert room name here). I would never thought to put that color combination together, but for this house it works great.

    Friends who make money: Tell me more about your job (perhaps that diverts them from the salary to the job - even if you think that they have the most stressful job or the most inane job, they will most likely like to talk about how much they do in their job)

    When friends ask about your house: You know, we are just starting out as a married couple and need to determine what our preferences are in housing. I know that there are so many options: ranch, split level, two story, finished basement, etc. and we really need to figure out what will work best for us.

    When friends ask about your job or income (which they should not ask about income, that is a big no/no): I have always wanted to go to graduate school and we have the opportunity for me to pursue that desire at this time. You know how school is - it takes up so much time to do it right. We think that this is the best time for me to do it.

    Those pre-thought out responses always help when you are in an uncomfortable situation.

    The artichoke dip sounds wonderful. Twice baked potatoes are wonderful. IIRC - your sister in law has a coffee shop,perhaps some small flavored coffee packets for each of them would be a fun thing to do (they probably won't think about bringing something for each guest to take home - a big coup for you :) )
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
    PDilemma and (deleted member) like this.
  20. Andora

    Andora Skating season ends as baseball season begins

    I like the hummus and pita suggestion. You could make your own guacamole, too, if you can get decent/affordable avocadoes on sale. Just mash it up with a little tomato, onion, garlic and plenty of salt & pepper. Mayo if you want it creamier, I'm told, but I never use it. Then you have two dips for the pitas.
  21. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Have you looked at any of Sandra Lee's semi-homemade recipe :)

    I would just take a tub of store bought humus and pipe/dump it into a nice bowl. Sprinkle some decorative bits on top and there you go.
  22. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    Couldn't have said it better myself - excellent suggestions.
  23. Fergus

    Fergus Well-Known Member

    Find some coupons.

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  24. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    Thanks for this, Numbers123. I hadn't thought about what to say. And all of your suggestions are great. And the grad school thing is the truth--this has been my dream since I walked out of undergrad with too many student loans to keep going until they were paid. And in spite of our money struggles, the bills are all paid and my husband is amazing for not just letting me do it, but telling me a year ago that I had to because I had been given the gift of time for it. Probably wouldn't hurt to include that since the married ones among them seem to have, shall we say, tense marriages.
  25. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Hummus or the hot artichoke dip are nice to take in case the hostess hasn't considered any vegetarians in the group.
    You could do something similar with eggplant, also.
  26. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    My dad makes this very simple wonderful dish:

    Take a few sheets of filo dough. Lay out. Mix together ricotta, cottage cheese, spinach, eggs, salt, and pepper in obvious quantities (if you cook). Spread on the filo dough. Roll up filo dough. Repeat with another selection of filo dough (3-4 sheet at a time). Bake at 350 for 40-ish minutes (when it's golden). Cut and serve! It's awesome.
  27. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    That sounds really good! How much olive oil?
  28. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    To me, the artichoke dip or the antipasto suggestions win over the hummus.
    I don't like hummus or tahini for that matter, but I do like pita chips.

    A seasonal fruit salad would be good - some sliced melon and berries, maybe with a container of vanilla yogurt. Easy and not expensive if you buy in-season fruits. That can be an appetizer or a dessert or a course on its own.
  29. Ooh, yogurt fruit dip is so good -- and so easy! I usually make it by thickening some yogurt (drain in a collander for 12 hours or so), and flavouring with a fruit liqueur like Triple Sec. Yummy!
  30. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

    I noticed there's no dessert on the list--cheesecake is relatively inexpensive, except the vanilla.

    Put a vanilla wafer in the bottom of a cupcake wrapper. Take a softened 8oz package of cream cheese, three eggs, one cup of sugar, and a cap of vanilla. Pour batter in wrapper until the wafer is covered. Bake 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Put about three cherries from a can of cherry pie filling, or leave 'em plain. Cheesecake and steak go really well together.