Brides-to-be and their bridal party will have enough on their plates without having to fret over budgeting for party food. Here are some great spins on home favorites to satisfy your guests without breaking the bank. Petite single servings mean you can present home-cooked meals and treats as canapés, and your meals will go further, keeping your budget in check.
1. Mini Lasagne
400g whole-wheat lasagne sheets
3T cake flour
3 cups low fat milk
400g extra lean beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 punnet mushrooms, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely grated
1 tin tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2T tomato paste
1/2 cube beef stock
2T balsamic vinegar/sugar replacement
Salt and black pepper
Ramekins for serving
Parmesan for garnish
1. Start by soaking your lasagne sheets in hot water, being careful not to let them stick together. 2. Start your bolognaise by simmering your onion and carrot in a little water in a large saucepan until soft. 3. Add your mince and garlic and stir until browned. 4. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 5. In a separate saucepan, create a roux with melted butter and flour. Slowly stir in the milk until you have a thick white sauce. 6. Using a ramekin as a stencil, cut out circles in your pasta sheets, then layer your lasagne into the ramekins. Cook in the oven for a further 30 minutes then serve with grated Parmesan. Beefing up your bolognaise with plenty of veggies is what makes this great for budgeting at your bridal shower.
2. Stir-fry Spoonfuls
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
Small bunch coriander, finely chopped
3T cashew nuts
1 punnet skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp ginger, crushed
1 chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
3T soy sauce
2T oyster sauce
200g whole-wheat spaghetti/angel hair noodles, cooked
Chinese spoons for serving
1. Heat the garlic and chili in a little oil in a pan.
2. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and brown.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients except the chives and stir for approximately 10 minutes.
4. When cooked through, stir in the noodles and cook for a few minutes.
5. Swivel the mixture into forkfuls and arrange on each serving spoon. Garnish with coriander.
6. The fresh ingredients that make up this dish are seriously budget-friendly, whilst still creating a decadent dish.
3. Mocha Chocolate Mousse
15ml good quality coffee granules
10ml cocoa powder
125ml boiling water
250g low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese
380g tin lite evaporated milk
Coffee beans for decorating
100-150ml glasses for serving
1. Mix the coffee, cocoa powder, gelatine and boiling water in a heat-proof bowl.
2. Place the bowl in a saucepan of very hot water and stir until the gelatine / Agar flakes have dissolved and the mixture is smooth. 3. Beat together the cottage cheese and xylitol with an electric mixer. 4. Place the evaporated milk in a separate bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture is frothy and holds its shape. 5. Gradually beat the cottage cheese and mocha mixture into the frothy evaporated milk, until well combined. 6. Pour into your serving glasses and refrigerate for 3-4 hours until set. 7. Decorate with a handful of fresh berries.
4. Strawberry, Chocolate and Cream Flutes
1 punnet strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1 slab dark chocolate
1 tub whipping cream
Sliced almonds, for serving (optional)
Martini and champagne glasses for serving
1. Beat your cream until whipped into firm peaks and set aside.
2. On a low heat, lightly toast your almond slices until golden brown and set aside.
3. Break your chocolate into a glass bowl and add a few drops of boiling water in at a time. Stir until fully melted.
4. In the martini and champagne glasses, pour alternating layers of the chocolate, cream and strawberries.
5. Garnish with the almonds and serve.
6. Try make use of this food idea when strawberries are in season, to keep your budget down.