Entertaining, even casual entertaining, can add up to big bucks quickly if you go out and buy everything to make that perfect meal. Sometimes though, the meal is just the excuse to get together instead of the whole focus --- and that can be done easily and cheaply and without having to spend a ton of time in the kitchen and a lot of money.
Last night my Mom came over for dinner. We didn't want to make a big deal (meaning we didn't want to spend the whole time in the kitchen), but rather we wanted to visit and catch up. So, before Mom got there, I whipped up some homemade salsa using the tomatoes, onions, jalepenos, garlic, limes & cilantro I bought earlier this week. (I made it in the Pampered Chef Manual Food Processor and it took about five minutes total and made the perfect amount for us to have as a munchie before dinner). For the main deal, I had picked up a take & bake cheese pizza, to which I added my own veggies to half -- the Princess does not care for anything on her pizza except cheese (and more cheese). There was more than enough for the three of us -- with leftovers too!
After dinner, I whipped up an easy peasy Rocky Road Brownie Dessert in my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker --- I altered the official recipe a bit using a store bought brownie mix (which was free with coupons a few weeks back) instead of doing the whole thing from scratch since I had the mix on hand-- I meant to take a picture of it because it was scrumdillyumptious, but forgot in the midst of all that marshmallowey goodness! After throwing that together, I popped it in the microwave for 7 minutes.
We took a walk around my yard and gardens while dessert baked in the microwave and pondered the things we (I) need to do as improvements. After dessert we visited a bit more before Mom headed home and I headed to bed.
Total cost out of pocket for the evening - $6.35 for the pizza. Everything else, wine, salsa stuff, chips, veggies, and dessert ingredients, I already had on hand.