Everyone loves a good crockpot dinner, but have you heard about the latest kitchen gadget? The Instant Pot is basically the opposite of a crockpot where your food is done in a fraction of the time and we are all for it! It’s okay if you don’t have time to set up your crockpot before work in the morning, you can easily whip together a delicious and fast dinner when you get home, too! So for all of our fellow hustlers who sometimes need to throw dinner together in a pinch, we’re sharing some delish and easy recipes for you to try out this fall.
Weddings can be a burden on your bank account, and most forget about the additional expenses surrounding a wedding like the bridal shower, lodging for family, and the rehearsal dinner. To help you save on additional expenses, we've come up with budget friendly rehearsal dinner ideas your friends and family will love.
Buffets are a great catering option for your rehearsal dinner because you can offer a few different dishes that fit into your budget. Who doesn't like a pasta and salad buffet, or some southern style mac and cheese and fried chicken?!
Appetizer stations are perfect for the bride and groom who want a more cocktail hour style dinner. Friends and family can feel free to socialize and have a lighter dinner. You can make your apps themed to go with your wedding or have stations representing cuisine around the world!
Barbeques are the laid-back option you didn't know you needed for your rehearsal dinner. Have a pre-wedding party and grill everyone's favorite burgers and dogs. Play backyard games, and just have fun!
Gather everyone for an exciting murder mystery dinner night! You can play this in the comfort of your home if you have a small dinner guest list. It will help the happy couple forget about the stress of the upcoming day, and who doesn't love a party game?!
If there is a beautiful park in the area, consider having your rehearsal dinner picnic style! Bring comfy blankets, pillows, finger foods, and champagne! Everyone can be involved by either packing their own food or bringing a dish like a pot-luck.
The worst part about making dinner is the cleanup. Who wants to wash multiple pots and pans after cooking and eating a big meal--no one! Our favorite solution is one pan dinners! One pan dinners are exactly as they sound; your whole meal is cooked in one pan (that means only one pan, plus prep bowl/cutting board, to wash)! To start you on your one pan cooking journey, here are 4 recipes that we love--including a vegetarian option!
SHEET PAN STEAK FAJITAS
Preheat the oven to 450℉. In a small bowl combine 2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. each of pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika, 1 tbsp. chili powder, and ½ tsp. cumin and divide the mixture in half.
In a large plastic storage bag combine 1 tbsp. olive oil and lime juice, and ½ of the spice mixture. Add a 2 lb. flank steak to the bag, shake to coat, and let sit while preparing the veggies. Slice 3 bell peppers and 1 small red onion into ¼ inch slices and add to a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and the remaining spice mixture, and turn to coat. Push the veggies to the outer edges of the pan and place the steak in the center.
Cook for 12-15 minutes, then broil on high for 2 minutes. The steak should read 145℉. Let the steak rest at room temp for 10 minutes before cutting. Garnish with cilantro and fresh lime juice.
Warm tortillas in foil in the oven while the steak rests.
ONE PAN LEMON BUTTER GARLIC SHRIMP WITH ASPARAGUS
Preheat the oven to 400℉. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Add 1 lb. asparagus (ends trimmed) to the sheet and drizzle with oil. Add 1 tbsp. minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and toss until evenly coated. Arrange asparagus in an even layer and cook for 4-6 minutes.
While the asparagus is cooking, de-vine and remove the tails from 1½ lbs. of raw shrimp. Remove the pan from the oven, push the asparagus to the side, and add the shrimp. Drizzle with olive oil; more salt, pepper, and garlic to taste; ¼ tsp. paprika and red chili flakes; and 3 tbsp. fresh parsley. Toss until evenly coated, arrange in a single layer, and cook for 6 minutes until shrimp are just opaque. Garnish with lemon juice.
SHEET PAN CHICKEN AND ROASTED HARVEST VEGGIES
Preheat the oven to 425℉. In a small bowl whisk together the marinade: ¼ cup EVOO, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp. each dried thyme and red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Pat 8-9 bone in, skin on, chicken thighs dry and place in a Ziplock bag. Pour in marinade, shake to mix, and set aside while preparing the veggies. Chop all veggies into uniform size: 10 baby potatoes, 1-2 medium sweet potatoes, 3 shallots, 2 zucchini, 1 honeycrisp apple (skin on).
Prepare a large sheet pan by lining with foil or spraying with cooking spray. Add veggies to the sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tsp. each dried thyme and rosemary, and mix until evenly coated. Place chicken slices on top of the veggies and drizzle with remaining marinade. Cook for 30 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165℉. Garnish with fresh herbs.
SHEET PAN HONEY-SESAME TOFU AND GREEN BEANS
Preheat the oven to 400℉ and prepare a baking sheet. In a small bowl whisk 2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tbsp. each of honey and grated fresh ginger, and 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil.
Cut 12 oz. extra firm tofu (drained and patted dry), into triangles and place in a single layer on one side of the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the soy sauce mixture and bake until golden brown on the bottom (about 12 minutes).
Flip the tofu and add 1 lb. trimmed green beans to the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Return the sheet to the oven and continue to cook until the other side of the tofu is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
Dinner parties are a staple of adulthood these days, but they can get pricey and overwhelming fast. You get your girlfriends together, grab some wine, and catch up over some mouthwatering food, but let’s be real - it’s a lot harder to relax and enjoy a dinner when you’re hosting! You can be totally down to have some company, but sometimes a meal for a big group isn’t exactly in the budget, and it’s hard to find the time to cook a few courses entirely on your own. It’s easy to miss out on the fun when you’re too stressed about how much you’re spending or how long the lasagna has to go in the oven for, so change it up and make the dinner prep part of the experience!
If you’re having a casual dinner party with close friends, consider asking each of them to be responsible for a certain part of the meal, and have everyone bring the raw ingredients over earlier in the afternoon. Instead of thinking of yourself as the sole host, imagine that you’re all hosting the party. Delegate different aspects of the meal to each one of your guests. They can make whatever they’d like within that category, but you can prepare it all as a group for some extra time together.
For example, assign one friend to a side of veggies - she could bring some peppers and onions for a stir fry veggie dish, or bring the ingredients for a fresh Greek salad. Another friend could be responsible for an appetizer of her choosing, another for a starchier side, another friend for dessert, and so forth. Choose the entree yourself, and have everyone plan their sides accordingly for an effortless and inexpensive meal!
If you’re looking for something even easier but you still want that dinner party experience, round up your friends with the same food subscription service. Have everyone bring that week’s Blue Apron box- you can still prep it together and enjoy a delicious meal as a group, but there’s a lot less pressure on you as the host. For some added excitement, put someone in charge of drinks and try out some fun cocktail recipes while you cook. Grab some cute aprons, toss on some throwback hits, and chef up a great meal while you reminisce together!
There’s nothing better than a dinner party to catch up with your girlfriends, but there’s also nothing worse than the clean-up that follows. It’s hard to spend time with your guests when you’re worried about the huge mess that’s left behind after dinner. Even worse? Those brand new dishes you picked out aren’t dishwasher-safe and way too expensive to risk tossing in. Next time, skip the hand-washing and save yourself some money with on-trend paper products!
Zazzle and Paper Eskimo are just two of the many companies jumping on the bandwagon, and their paper plates are affordable and adorable. They offer everything from simple patterned plated to completely customizable options, which makes it a great option for any occasion. If you’re throwing together a last minute girls’ night, grab a simple solid colored plate - the mint green ones are super cute, and are perfect for the springtime! If you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, the polka dot and striped plates add a fun and feminine touch that will really elevate your dinner party! Grab the matching cups and napkins, or mix up different patterns for a bold statement your guests won’t forget.
You could also impress your guests with customized products if you’re having a more formal event. With templates for everything from a bridal shower to a birthday, there’s an endless amount of choices that will compliment whatever theme you’re going for. If you and your hubby are hosting a dinner party, add your monograms and the date to the middle of your plates for a classy touch.
If you’re not one for over-the-top decor, we love the idea of sticking with understated, solid colored plates and mixing in a fun striped napkin or a chevron cup. The colors still make for fun decor, and you don’t have to commit so much to a vivid statement. If you’re still looking for that unique touch of customization, consider personalized wine labels that will have everyone talking!
Personalization sounds a bit pricey, but it’s actually much more reasonable than investing time, effort, and money into dishes and glassware. Most plates average around $1.50 each, which is just around $15.00 for a decent sized dinner party, and there’s usually some sort of discount code or deal available too that saves you even more - it’s a totally affordable way to glam up any occasion!
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and you probably have no idea what you and your man should do for dinner. This year, opt for a satisfying and intimate meal at home instead of a fancy and overpriced restaurant! We wanted to stay away from the stereotypical spaghetti and meatballs or steak dinner, so we chose a dinner that is just as delicious and rich-- paella! This Spanish paella dish is spicy, flavorful, and bold! Cook it together or surprise him with a romantic dinner, either way you both will love it! (Recipe adapted from Food Network)
Total Time: 2.5 hours
Combine ½ tbsp. smoked paprika and 1 tsp. oregano in a small bowl. Rub over 1 lb. of cubed chicken breast and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Heat 4 tbsp. oil in a paella pan, or large skillet, over medium heat, and sauté 1 chorizo sausage (thickly sliced) until browned. Remove and reserve. Add the marinated chicken, a pinch of salt and pepper, and brown until cooked through. Remove and reserve. In the same pan sauté ½ diced yellow onion, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, and a bunch of chopped fresh parsley for 2-3 minutes.
Add ½ can (7-8 oz.) crushed tomatoes and 2 tsp. smoked paprika to the skillet and cook until the flavors combine. Fold in 1 ½ cup short grain Spanish rice and add 2 cups broth (chicken or lobster are our choices!) and juice from half a lemon; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. If the rice has absorbed the liquid too quickly feel free to add more broth ¼ cup at a time.
Add the chicken, chorizo, and a generous pinch of saffron threads to the skillet. Tuck ½ dozen scrubbed mussels and ½ lb. jumbo peeled shrimp into the rice mixture and let simmer until the mussels open and the shrimp cook (about 5 minutes). Add ¼ cup sweet peas (frozen and thawed) to the skillet, mix, and take off the heat and let rest for 5 minutes.
Add more salt, pepper, fresh parsley, and lemon juice to taste! Enjoy!