A Salsa of Your Own
Few appetizers are as inexpensive, easy to make and flexible as salsa. Use fruits and vegetables that are in season, such as different varieties of tomatoes, onions, peppers, mango, pineapple, and cilantro. Add salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Experiment with different combinations of your favorites, offering a few different kinds for your friends and family to try. Serve the different salsas with tortilla chips, pita or bagel crisps, or whole wheat crackers to enhance the flavors in your salsa creations.
Succulent Side Dishes
Instead of plain old pasta or green salad, try a couple of healthy and inexpensive side dishes made from vegetables that are in-season. Halve ripe tomatoes and cover with extra-virgin olive oil, grated parmesan or asiago cheese, salt and pepper and oregano. Bake in your oven or on the grill for about fifteen minutes until the cheese is melted and the tomato is tender.
Another healthy and inexpensive side dish involves zucchini, which is plentiful this time of year. Slice and place directly on the grill with olive oil and desired spices, or wrap chunks of it with butter and salt in aluminum foil and put on the back of the barbecue to steam. These side dishes are so delicious that your guests will hardly notice how healthy they are!
To save on the cost of providing meat choices to a large group of people, consider setting out a variety of items that participants can make into fun and festive kabobs. Consider what’s in season, like peaches, zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper and tomatoes. Cut these items into easy-to-skewer chunks, along with different kinds of meat like pork and chicken. These choices will lessen the need for a lot of meat but still produce deliciously grilled, one-of-a kind main dishes for your guests!
Don’t Forget Dessert
A fresh fruit salad makes a simple and satisfying dessert, and can be combined with inexpensive ice cream or whipped cream. Whip up a yellow or vanilla cake from your pantry for a more hearty dessert, and provide toppings like chocolate and strawberry syrup so that everyone can enjoy it as they’d like!
Kelly Wilson is a freelance writer who loves gathering with friends over the long Labor Day weekend. To find out more about how to take care of your teeth on a budget, contact Dr. Todd Beck of South Waterfront Dental, a dentist in Portland, OR.