- I host and cook for family and friends by buying budget-friendly ingredients from Aldi in the UK.
- Camembert cheese and ready-made pastry dough are good staples for dinner parties.
- Tea and a prepared dessert provide an excellent goodnight drink after a delicious meal.
I discovered my love of cooking and hospitality during my sophomore year of college, but I could not afford the smartest ingredients as a student.
Years later, I still enjoy making my friends and family beautiful but cost-conscious meals.
Here’s what I buy from Aldi to host on a budget:
I like to serve dips and chips while my guests wait for dinner
Although I love taking the time to cook, I do not want my friends and family to go hungry, so I often serve some chips and a variety of dips to snack on.
Aldi sells a wide range of options – guacamole, salsa and sour cream dip are good, effortless appetizers before the main event.
Butternut squash risotto is an autumn favorite
If your friends have a variety of dietary needs like mine, a seasonal butternut squash risotto will fit most diets and hit the spot every time.
It is creamy and decadent, but also includes a healthy serving of vegetables.
Plus butternut squash is relatively inexpensive, so you can easily make this for large groups without worrying about the cost.
Aldi’s pastry dough lets you show off with minimal work
I highly praise anyone who makes their own dough, but on more lazy days, I’m not motivated to prepare something I can easily buy.
I add a sweet filling – like spicy apples or peaches – to make a tasty pie or combine caramelized onions, peppers and cheese to make a lush pie.
Frozen shrimp often save the day
Sometimes I will host a dinner with very little warning in advance, so shelled and extracted shrimp are good to store in the freezer to make a quick meal for several people.
While other frozen proteins, such as chicken and lamb, may take a while to thaw, shrimp are good for thawing and stuffing into a tasty cherry-tomato linguine or a paella made with mostly pantry staples.
A charcuterie board is a welcome addition to any fancy dinner party
If I want to go the extra step, I also prepare a charcuterie board for grazing before the main course.
Aldi’s baked camembert topped with honey, rosemary, chili flakes and sliced garlic along with some bread provides the perfect, warming centerpiece in the colder months.
Small tomatoes can add color to many dishes
From tomato-based pasta to airy and soft focaccia to side salads, cherry tomatoes work perfectly for so many dishes.
I tend to buy plums for the subtle taste difference, but I also love having a mix of orange, red and yellow tomatoes to keep my food colorful and appetizing.
I also like to enjoy some bubbles
Many of my friends and I do not drink alcohol, but we still like a glass or two of non-alcoholic bubbles for our dinner.
I like to mix water with flavor with lemonade, which looks pretty sweet with a few raspberries tossed in for garnish and extra flavor.
Potatoes are a versatile addition to a fried dinner
A fried dinner is a crowd pleaser and so easy to make, so I often grab a bag of white potatoes from Aldi.
Once I have marinated the meat and put it in the oven, I prepare my potatoes by peeling, parboiling (cook the ingredient until they are partially cooked through), and fluffing them in the colander with a little cornmeal. I then coated them with salt, pepper and softened butter.
Plus with fried potatoes, you can also let the skin sit and skip parboiling and fluffing over a lighter dish.
Bread is a daily staple of breakfast
Eggs, pancakes, berries and orange juice all provide a lovely brunch, but the one true base is bread.
A soft, airy bread can turn your modest meal into a wonderful afternoon affair, so I often grab this white bloomer from Aldi.
Coconut milk is a key ingredient in many curry dishes
Coconut milk is an excellent base for many curry dishes, such as. creamy Goan fish curry or Thai green curry.
Curry dishes are easy to make for large crowds and wonderfully retain their flavor the next day.
Garlic granules are a wonderful time saver
You can save time cutting into cubes and chopping with this handy garlic seasoning.
I do not know if I would call it cheating, but garlic granules instead of the fresh alternative can save you a lot of time and add a much needed flavor to your dish.
Tea is a soothing beverage after dinner
When you relax after dinner, a goodnight drink can do wonders for calming down with a full stomach before bedtime.
Aldi’s range of teas means there is something for everyone, whether you love herbal or fruit cups.
I always have room for dessert, but sometimes not enough willpower to make it
Rumor has it that we have a different stomach for sweet food – I do not know if that is true, but my guests and I rarely refuse dessert.
But after a while in the kitchen preparing my appetizers and entrees, I sometimes do not have the energy to make it.
Luckily, Aldi has a delicious selection of sweet options I can count on.
I love whipping beetroot salad up for a light meal after leftovers
While it’s always nice to host my friends for delicious dinners and evening chats, I do not always eat the healthiest selection of food. So I often grab a packet of cooked beets from Aldi.
When I’m done with all the leftovers – for waste not, will not – I like to make a delicious, nutritious beetroot and goat cheese salad, which I garnish with walnuts, lemon juice and a little olive oil.
This also provides a good packed lunch.