Food for eight with limited time and budget.The other day a couple of my friends invited me over to cook at their apartment. I'd been complaining about the cafeteria food here on campus and they thought it would make for a good break from canned soup and overcooked cheeseburgers.
Word got around, and before I knew it my quiet dinner with two good friends had turned into a dinner party for eight (plus myself).
I decided with this many people, it would be hard to please everyone with a single dish, but I didn't have time or resources to prepare multiple main courses. So, since chicken is both cheap and "safe" - people will rarely object to chicken, whereas some finicky people will be picky about their beef or pork - I picked up enough chicken to serve ten and I made about a gallon of chicken veloute, which I then used as a base and turned into three different sauces - a white wine and herb sauce, a curry and garlic sauce for those who like things a little spicier, and a creamy mushroom sauce. Between the three, I hoped my guests would be able to pick one that appealed to their individual tastes.
Since all three sauces had the same base, making three different sauces really didn't add onto the cooking time at all. Then I sautéd the chicken in some clarified butter, added some blanched cucumbers as a side, a few splashes of basil and citrus infused oil I happened to have just to pretty the plates up a bit, and I had a house full of happy diners. With minimal effort and only spending a little over $50. I was pretty pleased with myself.
And that's how I spent my Sunday.