Budget-Friendly Bites for New Year's Eve
Celebrate the new year with friends and family without breaking the bank.
The days of staying out all night and fighting for a stool in a crowded bar may be far behind you — or maybe you simply spent too much money on holiday gifts this year and can't splurge on overpriced cocktails. Either way, ringing in the new year with friends and family from the comfort of your home can be just as much fun. (And you can consider the money not spent on a ride home an added bonus.)
Plan your New Year's celebration to begin around 8 or 9 p.m., i.e., don't start your party until after your guests have eaten a full meal (at home!). Tell them you'll be serving crowd-pleasing apps and sips, and you can even plan a sweet treat to end the night. Sell it in an appealing manner to your friends while secretly applauding yourself for not having to shell out the moola on a huge roast.
Deviled eggs are always a party favorite. Channel your inner Ree Drummond and top them with crispy peppered bacon for a new take on the classic. No one will be able to resist the hand-held bites, and you'll be happy the recipe calls for just a few inexpensive ingredients you most likely have on hand.
Serving a signature cocktail is a win on multiple levels: It'll keep guests happy, make you look like you really have this hosting thing down pat and give your party a unique touch everyone will remember (or not?). Really, though, offering a signature cocktail means you don't have to stock a full bar for your soiree. And what's easier than making the same drink over and over again, or even setting out a signature cocktail bar where guests can serve themselves? Punch. Sandra Lee's Holiday Party Punch comes together in five minutes and makes enough to serve a crowd. All you have to do is pour the ingredients into one large punch bowl.
Ina Garten knows her stuff when it comes to being an excellent entertainer. Take classic pigs in blankets and give them the Barefoot Contessa treatment. She serves Lamb Sausage in Puff Pastry, but if you can't find lamb sausage or would prefer to use another favorite, Ina says, any kind of sausage will do. Four budget-friendly ingredients to please everyone!
You look to packaged ravioli on hectic weeknights when a trip to the store (and spending more money) is out of the question. Turn that trusty timesaver into a delicious party bite. A bag of fresh ravioli, kitchen staples like eggs, milk, breadcrumbs and oil — done! It'll look like you spent a lot more time and effort on this Toasted Ravioli than you really did.
This impressive-looking Onion-Herb Focaccia comes together quickly, thanks to store-bought pizza dough, and you'll love how few ingredients it requires. (Remember: Fewer ingredients often means no shopping necessary and that means more money in your pocket.)
Even though you're not serving a full meal, a sweet end to the night will be a welcome addition. Set out Slow-Cooker Chocolate Fondue with your favorite dippers. Think pretzels, fruit, and any other items you have in the house or can find on the cheap that go with chocolate (and, let's be honest, everything goes with chocolate!).