Got guests? Quick, cheap dinners to keep your crowd happy

Published on June 28 2010 - 3:31 PM
Got guests? Quick, cheap dinners to keep your crowd happy

Does this ever happen to you? I’ve planned like crazy for a big 4th of July dinner for out-of-town guests who are coming this weekend, but I’ve neglected to consider that they may want food the other nights they’re staying over. Oops.

Going out to eat is a solution, but that’s often expensive. And when I’ve poured my heart and soul (as well as the contents of my wallet) into the meal I’ve made the night before, all I want now is to make a cheap, easy, quick dinner (like Mexican Polenta Scramble) to keep my guests and myself, the gracious hostess, happy. I’m smiling through my teeth, can you tell?

So along with planning my fabulous meal for this weekend, here’s what I’m thinking about to feed my overnight guests:

Recipes that don’t take a lot of time: Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Blackberry Mustard
Cost: under $2.00 per serving
This 20-minute dinner is about as quick as they come, it’s incredibly tasty and has the added bonus of a very short ingredient list, which leads me to my next hot tip . . .

Recipes that have 5 ingredients or less: Five-Spice Tilapia
Cost: under $1.50 per serving
Chinese five-spice powder, soy sauce and brown sugar make a quick glaze for tilapia. This recipe is easily doubled: cook the fish in two separate batches, using more oil as necessary.

Dinners that I already have ingredients for: Turkey and Balsamic Onion Quesadillas
Cost: under $2.00 per serving
Grab some deli turkey, Cheddar cheese, some tortillas and onion with a splash of vinegar and wham! You have a quick, mouthwatering (and cheap!) meal in minutes.

EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.