I recently hosted a 1920s Murder Mystery Dinner Party for my birthday. Since the kit could accommodate 20 characters, I decided to get the most out of the evening by filling the slate. I really wanted to make a meal that was reminiscent of the '20s, and I had lots of great ideas about how to do that.
In order to make a fabulous meal and not spend a lot of money, I took my list of ideas to the store to see what dishes would be the cheapest to make. With this in mind, I also compared what ingredients I already had on hand. Costco had some good prices on certain things, but WinCo had the best deals.
The official menu for the evening was:
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Marinara
Rhubarb Jello Mold
Curried Deviled Quail Eggs
Baking Powder Biscuits.
Here's the price breakdown of the entire shopping trip:
$ 16.00 organic spinach and ricotta ravioli
$ 2.79 celery
$ 1.50 red grapes
$ 5.49 organic sweet apples
$ 1.79 10 quail eggs
$ 1.79 10 quail eggs
$ 1.00 3 packs of raspberry jello
$ 4.49 big box of spring mix salad
$ 1.50 3 cucumbers
$ 36.35 Total
$ 1.82 per person
Things I had on hand:
It is important to your wallet to use ingredients on hand. Had I bought each and every ingredient specifically for this meal, I would be bankrupt! That is one of the main things I consider when preparing meals - what's already in the kitchen that I can use. Except for those times when I get a delicious idea in my mind and must have it - then I make sure to use the left overs.
For dessert, my friend Sarah made an amazing three-layer cake: Charlotte Royale on top, chocolate coconut in the middle and white ginger on the bottom. She has a knack for that kind of thing, and I don't know of anyone who could have made a better cake! In addition to this, my friend's mom sent a chocolate ganache and raspberry cake down with him.
If I had to plan dessert for this dinner, I probably would have done a build-your-own-sundae.
Lessons on frugality from this evening:
- Incorporate "on-hand" ingredients into meals
- Use ingredients in more than one way (I used a little bit of the different vegetables and fruits to make the snack tray)
- Accept offers when friends ask what they can bring (alcohol fits well into this category)