Want to host a Middle Eastern food tasting party, but your wallet is saying "no"? Check out these easy ways to cut costs without cutting quality in your food offering.
01 of 08
Buy already prepared tahini instead of making your own.
Tahini is an essential ingredient in recipes like hummus but can be expensive to make on your own. Sesame seeds are the main ingredient and can be expensive. Already prepared tahini is a good option if you don't use a lot of it regularly and need it for only one of two recipes. If you do use large quantities of tahini, it is really a money saver to make it in your own kitchen.
02 of 08
Make your own hummus.
It still shocks me at how much hummus is at the supermarket! You can pay quite a bit for 12 oz. container of basic hummus. For that money, you could make about three different 12 oz varieties in your own kitchen, without the preservatives.
03 of 08
Don't buy pre-washed or pre-cut vegetables or fruit.
You will up to 3 times as much for pre-washed and pre-cut fruit and vegetables. They may be convenient, but how much time does it really take to dice an onion or chop a green pepper? Take pride in your cooking and do the chopping yourself. Not good at chopping? Remember, practice makes perfect - just keep the Band-Aids handy.
04 of 08
Don't even think twice about already assembled kebabs.
Please, please, please do not give those already assembled kebabs a second look in your meat department. They may look pretty, but really, how good are they going to taste if they have been sitting there for two days? Refrigerated or not, chopped vegetables lose their flavor in a day, at most. It is much cheaper and fun to assemble them at home. Better yet, offer a kebab bar where guests assemble their own and you grill them!Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Go authentic and use real dinnerwear.
It may be tempting to pick up a pack of paper plates, but think twice. You are once again paying for convenience. Honestly, paper plates may be handy, but have you ever tried to cut a steak on one or fit a decent meal on a paper plate? They are unsightly and tacky unless you are grilling out informally.
Ashamed of your mismatched dinnerwear? Fear not! Dollar stores usually sell solid colored plates for, you guessed it, only $1! Mix and match colors for a colorful spread.
06 of 08
Make it a "potluck".
Make it a potluck, but don't call it that, please. Potluck sounds so informal and well, blah! Invite your guests to bring their favorite Middle Eastern dish to share with others - you can add this on the invitation by calling it a 'community party'. I once received an invitation for a Mexican food party and the front of the invitation read "What's Your Favorite Mexican Food?". When I opened the card, it read, "Well, bring it!". Be creative when making your... invitation, which brings us to the next money saving tip...
07 of 08
Make your own invitations...
You would be surprised what you can do with some cardstock and images from the net. Get creative with your invitations by gluing on images of the pyramids, Sphinx, and other trendy fun Middle Eastern culture traditions.
08 of 08
Don't serve recipes with lamb.
Lamb may be a staple in Middle Eastern food culture, but unless you happen to have your own lamb to slaughter, skip out on the fresh lamb meat. The cuts are expensive and half the time are extra fatty. Unless you know a great butcher who owes you a favor, skip out on the lamb and serve chicken or beef instead.