How To Feed Ten People With $5.00!

Every year I look forward to Memorial Day. It is the beginning of the summer for those of us in North Dakota - school is out, normally the weather is getting warmer, and it is our annual church picnic.

I love picnics but they can sometimes be costly. Not only do you bring food for yourself but you bring extra food. I challenged myself this year that I would make all my food for $5.00 or under! The requirements were a main dish, a side, and a dessert. My goal was to bring enough to feed 10 people.

The menu for our picnic is Grilled Chicken Thighs, Corn on the Cob, Homemade Rolls, and Strawberry/Banana Trifle (I'm adding blueberries to make it patriotic). Normally this menu would cost me at least $10 if not more, so how did I do it?

1. Planned my meal around seasonal items and items on sale. When you plan your meal around the current seasonal items, you most likely not only can get your items on sale but there are probably coupons for those items also. My chicken cost me a $1.00 because I found it on sale and had a Target coupon and a Manufacture coupon to stack.

2. Bought some items in advance. When you see a good deal on something that will store or freeze well, buy what you can afford to pay and store it. I purchased some of my ingredients for my trifle ahead of time because it is a favorite and I knew I would need to make it again. I'd rather pay $.50 for something than $1.50!

3. Choose to do some of the work myself instead of buying it already done. While prepackaged food is convenient, it can be expensive. It is also is not as healthy. By making my rolls instead of buying them, I will spend some time but it will not cost as much money as it would if I had bought them. I will be able to make more than the double the amount of rolls than I would have been able to buy.

4. Wasn't afraid to change my menu. I had planned to do chicken patties for Monday's picnic but when I saw the price of chicken thighs, I knew I had to change my plan. Not only was the ground chicken not on sale but it would cost me so much more to do those than to do the chicken thighs.

What are you planning for Memorial Day? Are you doing a picnic? Are you feeding a lot of people? What's on your menu? Leave a comment and let us all know! :-)