Well, the dinner party penny-pinching experiment was a success. We managed to have a pretty tasty and very hearty dinner for 6 people* for $80.48. Sadly, I was enjoying myself too much to take any pictures of the dishes. Maybe next time if the wine isn't flowing ;) Here's how the budgeting broke down:
Appetizers – Total Cost: $10.23
Surprisingly, the appetizer was one of the most expensive parts of the dinner due to the price of the spiced organic nuts. By the time I got around to making the appetizer, I opted to use store bought Lavash crisps and Baba Gannouj. This paired with some fresh veggies to dip were just right to tie us over until dinner was ready.
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup – Total Cost: $5.95
Super easy to make and a great first course. Definately serve a small amount because it's quite filling. We sort of winged the recipe. Here's what we did; cut up a 2 lb butternut squash, add 2 small sweet potatoes, an onion and 3 cloves of garlic. Simmer with 2 cups of vegetable stock. Add salt and pepper. Once all is soft puree and add 1/3 cup sour cream and a pinch of cinnamon. Put a dollop of tzatziki on top when you serve it.
Osso Bucco with Gremolata – Total Cost $45.92
The first glitch for the $100 dinner party was the cost of organic veal shanks. A quick call to Whole Foods let me know the 5 veal shanks I needed for the Osso Bucco were going to cost nearly $90. I opted to use organic beef shanks purchased at Organic Garage for almost half the price. It made the dish a bit more 'meaty' in flavour but still very good. With the switch from veal to beef, I had to adjust the seasoning a bit to compensate. Tip: I've started calling ahead to stores to check on product availability and pricing – especially at the butcher's counter. This really helps cut down on excess driving around saving time and gas.
Homemade Linguine with Walnuts, Parsley and Garlic Oil – Total Cost: $7.86
This was a little time consuming to make, we actually wound up making the pasta in front of our guests because I ran out of time, but very delicious. The walnuts were a nice contrast to the heavy beef flavour in the Osso Bucco.
Sauteed Spinach – Total Cost: $4.48
Kind of surprising the spinach cost almost as much as the first course soup. Enough said.
Homemade Forcaccia – Total Cost: $1.56
While I was baking bread for the week with the Stupid Easy White Bread recipe, I turned two of the loaves into Forcaccia. We only ate 1/2 a loaf during the meal so the rest will go to use during the week.
Apple Crisp with Organic Meadows Vanilla Ice Cream: Total Cost: $4.48
I got lazy by the end of the day and opted to make a quick apple crisp instead of the sour cream coffee cake. The Royal Gala apples were on sale at Organic Garage for $1.97 for 2 pounds and it made a generous sized tray of apple crisp we will enjoy for the next few days.
* The youngest foodie child was off babysitting for the evening and came home to some pretty tasty left overs later in the evening. She espically liked the homemade pasta with walnut sauce.