I love sharing meals with family members and friends. We typically have people over to eat once a week, and while we love to show off our cooking skills, there is no need to go over our budget. What follows are some of our favorite recipes to make when we’re expecting company.
Chicken Quarters – I love serving chicken quarters to guests. Quarters are tastier than breast pieces, stretch a long way and are less than half the price per pound. I season the quarters in the morning using whatever I have (I like using the green packets of Sazon Tropical seasoning by Goya). Preheat the oven to 350 and cook the quarters for 75-90 minutes depending on how many you’re cooking. Low and slow ensures juicy, yet fully-cooked, chicken.
Caramel Chicken – Another great chicken recipe, Caramel chicken makes great use of the cheaper thigh cuts. My favorite recipe, which happens to be super easy, is Chef John’s Caramel Chicken. Serve over rice. Butter chicken is another great chicken dish using thighs, served over rice.
Bean Soup – Always tastiest when served in a bread bowl, bean soup is a great dish to share in the fall and winter.
Pizza – Homemade pizza is fun, frugal and delicious. I always make the normal pizzas (pepperoni and cheese) but I like to add one or two more unique flavors, particularly BBQ Chicken & Carmelized Onion or Buffalo Chicken (use blue cheese dressing as the sauce, top with cooked chicken pieces that were tossed in Buffalo sauce, with Buffalo sauce drizzled over, topped with mozzarella cheese).
Tacos – So easy, so cheap, and a child favorite! Tacos are a great meal to share and everyone is guaranteed to get something they like. We absolutely adore Ranchy-Chicken tacos/nachos.
Salad & baked potatoes – Salad may not sound very filling, but add a big baked potato and you have a hearty meal anyone will love. Start with inexpensive head lettuce & plain baked potatoes (baked in a slow cooker or microwaved for convenience) and provide whatever toppings you find in your fridge. A potato bar is a great way to use up leftovers. Don’t forget to make your stale bread into croutons!