Staying In and Staying on Budget with Homemade Dinner Dates

Story by Megan O’Neil
Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Living off campus can mean a lot of things, but we all know it can mean less time spent with friends, and the (sometimes problematic) issue of cooking dinner.

When having people over your place for a get together, a little planning and an extra trip to the grocery store can make hosting a meal both cost friendly and easy on any budget. We’re making sure you’ve covered all the basics.

Does anyone in your party have any food allergies?
Both gluten and lactose intolerance are increasingly common, as are allergies to foods like peanuts and shellfish. If you know of these allergies in advance, avoiding them can be as simple as making gluten free pasta or allowing guests to add cheese to their individual dishes, rather than including it in the main course.










How many people are coming?
Try to confirm your guests attendance via group text or Facebook message, since not having enough food can be embarrassing and too many leftovers can be overwhelming.

Are you pursuing a theme?
When cooking for others, try to pick foods that go together. Pasta and garlic bread are always a good standby, but so are chili and cornbread, burgers and fries, or stir fry and rice. In sticking with a theme, you won’t end up with awkward mixes like sushi, barbecue sauce, and sweet potato pie.

Don’t have a grill?
Try oven burgers – grill level flavor without the open flame!








Do you have enough dishes?
If not, its a good idea to pick up some paper plates and disposable silverware!

Yes, no or who’s buying?

Need a beautiful drink to brighten the table?
Stir up this colorful cocktail!










Finally, it’s dinner time. Is your dinner the event of the evening, or do people have places to be?
Keep in mind the schedule of your guests.

Above all, stay relaxed.
Hosting dinner can be a blast, and allow you to show off some mastery culinary (or Pinterest) skills. Many of your friends will be impressed by the effort you put forth, but very forgiving if one or two things doesn’t go according to plan.