Menu Monday: Frugal Party Guide & Recipes!

Clever and simple Halloween Party idea: Use Pringles for tombstones to turn ordinary brownies/cakes into ghoulish brownies or create a whole graveyard on top of a cake!  – Thanks to Pringles for this cool idea!


We frugal foodies have unique challenges that normal shoppers don’t.  This little segment aims to help by offering:

  • Stockpile-cooking ideas
  • Clever Casseroles in which to hide your leftovers from the hubby & kids
  • Kitchen tips & tricks
  • And really, everything but the kitchen sink!

Our very own “Deal Detective Kim” takes the time to compile her recipes and tips for us (aspiring food writer that she is) – so take it away Kim!

I talked about this last year, after the fact. For the newbies, and to give the rest of you an advance heads up, here’s the Deal Detective’s guide to party planning on the cheap!

Party season is about to start in earnest. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, FOOTBALL –it’s all ahead of us! You know what events you usually party around. If you’re like me, you mostly stick to the same tried-and-true goodies, with the occasional new thing tucked in amongst the old favorites. I’m going to touch on just a few ways to save major bucks when it comes to party favorites. First, let me say that I love, love, love the folks at Carolina Pride!!  They have been super-generous with the coupons lately, and I have sure taken advantage of that combined with the Bi-Lo sales. Bi-Lo regularly runs Carolina Pride products on sale, and right now my freezer is packed with BOGO rolls of sausage and packages of smoked sausage. I also have bacon and lunch meat in the fridge–my next trip to Big Daddy’s will make him happier than usual, because I scored him some $0.50 bologna (it was regularly $2, on sale 2/$3, and .50 coupons doubled)!

What else am I going to do with all that, you ask? Two of my favorite party snacks–heck, any time snacks!–are sausage balls (and Kraft cheese was on sale at Food Lion last week!!) and those little cocktail weenies in barbecue sauce. I paid $1/roll for the sausage, one of which will also get used to make Thanksgiving dressing, and $1/package for the cocktail weenies. I also got some cheap Armour meatballs last week, and those are good for parties, either in barbecue sauce OR as sweet-and-sour meatballs. Here’s a good recipe for those The Kraft cheese is also a good stock-up item for cheese balls; just watch for the cream cheese to go on sale as well.

I also have about 6 packages of bacon and a couple of packages of lunch meat. There is an entire page in my binder JUST for the Carolina Pride coupons, they’ve run that many coupons for their products! All of it has expiration dates around the first of the year, so plenty of time to use it all. I like the occasional breakfast supper or weekend “big” breakfast. Eggs are cheap–average is $1.50/dozen. To feed a family of 4 or 5, one dozen eggs, a package of bacon or sausage, and toast or biscuits would run under $5!!!   I”ve also seen breakfast/brunch casseroles that use bread, sausage and eggs and feed an army. Oh, yeah, and hot dogs…fall means bonfires and weenie roasts, right?

I have bags of popcorn and chips that I got on sale with coupons at CVS — I paid $.50/BIG bag for the chips, and the expiration date is after the first of the year!! Don’t forget, Halloween is only a week away; hit the after-Halloween candy sales for things you can use–candy for stocking stuffers, baking needs, or to decorate a Gingerbread House. I usually buy a kit so I don’t have to bake the walls, but then I buy up all kinds of extra candy to decorate with originality.

My stepdad loves Chex Mix–it’s something he expects at Christmas–so cereal sales are on my watch list. If you’re really creative, you can take honey or cinnamon cereals and combine them with nuts and dried fruit to make your own breakfast mix. Any variety of Chex Mix can be put into a decorative container and make a clever gift! (Get more ideas on how to make everything from snacks to supper out of cereal in Kim’s “Cereal Killers” post)

Publix had Welch’s Essentials Juice Cocktail Blend or Concord Grape Light Juice or Orange Pineapple & Apple Fruit Juice Cocktail on sale last week; if you normally do party punch OR require mixers, that’s a good stock-up. A couple of months ago we were able to score FREE Bounty napkins when they were on price lock for $1 at Bi-Lo–did you get some? That’s another party tip; I watch all year long for deals on paper plates, cups, and napkins. They come in handy for picnics and parties and camping trips, plus the occasional emergency. My Mom had surgery awhile back, and since she doesn’t have a dishwasher, they ate off paper plates until she was well enough to do her dishes again. I gave her some from my stash, saving her money.

What’s your favorite party snack, money-saving party tip, or breakfast/brunch casserole? Tis the season to share!
(not a paid endorsement for Carolina Pride)

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