Smart Shopping: Game Plan for Entertaining

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Shopping for your week's groceries is always a puzzle. How do you get everything you need in one shot and avoid midweek runs for forgotten items? Here are some tips from the Food Network Kitchens.

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Now, let’s talk about large-batch recipes, or recipes that are easy to double and even triple without breaking the bank. What are your favorite recipes to make in a large pot? We love soups, stews, chili and pasta. So maybe throw a couple of these cost-efficient ingredients into your cart:

  • Canned beans: Stock up on cannellini, black and red kidney beans. With cannellini beans, you can make white-bean soups with hearty Swiss chard and baby meatballs. Try making a big batch of your favorite three-bean chili and offer your guests a chili topping bar with a variety of fun toppings like corn chips, avocado, green onions, crumbled Cotija cheese and yummy hot sauces.
  • Frozen vegetables: Frozen vegetables are a fantastic, economical way to be prepared to feed a large group at any given moment. With a couple bags of frozen peas, you can make a delicious pureed pea soup. Or, stock up on variety packs of veggies for a tasty, healthy vegetable noodle soup.
  • Pasta: A hero in any entertainer’s book. A couple of boxes of pasta can feed an army — literally. Stock up on a couple different shapes and sizes and make your favorite pasta sauce to go with it; whether it’s a tomato, cream or meaty Bolognese sauce, your guests will be satisfied.
  • Russet potatoes: Count how many guests are coming over, and that’s how many potatoes to buy. You’d be surprised how happy people will be with a baked potato and a choice of toppings. A baked potato bar is a fun way to get people involved (and serving themselves). Offer up some crispy bacon bits, a range of cheeses, some chopped herbs; the options are endless.