Dinner can be stress-free and cost less

December 22, 2008

Staffers at the BJ's Warehouse Club in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., gave us tips on putting together a holiday meal for 20 people for less than $5 per person.

Cindy Jennings of BJ's says she's seeing a trend of people entertaining more casually because of the economy.

The key to a stress-free, wallet-friendly menu: ditch the big ham or turkey and serve a wide variety of finger foods. Jennings says you should figure on 10 pick-up pieces for each guest.

And just as you would with a sit-down meal, you can bring the food out in courses. Jennings started her thrifty meal with dips as appetizers, including T.G.I.Friday's spinach and artichoke dip, which sells for $11.99 and Legal Seafood's crab and lobster dip, which is $7.99.

Next, heavier finger foods, which serve as an entree. Jennings picked Thai chicken satay sticks, and an assortment of puff pastries, which cost $11.99 each. Then, she added a Paula Dean sausage, chicken wing and meatball platter, which costs $15.99.

Of course, you have to have dessert. Jennings topped the meal off with a $6.99 sweet potato pie, an $11.99 Cheesecake Factory cake, and a $10.99 assortment of pre-cut fresh fruit.

Another advantage of shopping at a warehouse store, in a single shopping trip, you can also pick up holiday table decor and paper products at a discount.

For more inexpensive holiday entertaining ideas, coupons, and menu items, click here.

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