Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lunch Party for 10 for under $10

A week from Monday, I'm hosting a small lunch in the office, for my boss birthday. We are a small office, only 5 of us, coupled with our office neighbors and a stray board member, volunteer or two - I'm planning lunch for 10. In an office with only a toaster and a microwave. I do love a challenge.

I'll bring in my crockpot and make my specialty dish - three-cheese marinara with portabella mushrooms and roasted garlic. Easy, versatile, meatless and super-super affordable. I'll boil the noodles at home and toss with warm running water and strain before serving.

The sauce takes 4-5 hours to simmer - perfect for a late lunch. I'll make a salad - see my favorite Italian salad, perfect for entertaining and cheapt to toss together.

Her favorite cake is one I made last year for another office birthday, my Orange Coconut Cream Cake. Easy, and I have nearly all the ingredients on hand - I just need the whipped topping. Which is on sale for $.88 a container. At that price, I should probably grab a few extra and toss them in the freezer - perfect to make another variation on this recipe during the summer. After all, what is a party without a great dessert?

Party Menu:

Loaf of sliced Italian bread (bread thrift store $.75)
Salad ($1.87)
Salad Dressing - (FREE after coupons!)
Pasta - 2 lbs. ($.50 after coupons)
Three Cheese Sweet Pepper Marinara ($4.99)
Orange Coconut Cream Cake ($1.75 - recipe yields 2 cakes - one for the office, one for me!)

Total Cost: $9.86 for a full lunch feast for 10 people.

Easy Italian Salad

Red and green leaf lettuce (on sale for $.69/lb. $.94)
Shredded carrot (1 lb. carrots for $.50 - only need 1/3 C. so $.08)
Croutons (I'll make my own - so FREE)
Dried cranberries (1/4 C. $.25)
2 T. basil (dried or fresh $.10)
Crumbled mozzarella (3/4 C. $.50)

Toss together all ingredients. Serve with your favorite dressing(s). I recommend Italian, Creamy Italian, or even Raspberry Vinagrette.