This weekend we’re having friends over again.

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Entertaining makes me happy.

I hear from friends who don’t entertain that it’s scary and costs too much money.

Scary, yes. But the more you do it, the less intimidating it becomes.

Too much money, possibly. But if you share the meal with your guests by delegating a portion of the menu, it becomes very affordable.

If we can just focus on the true meaning of hospitality and let go of the fancy ideas–that entertaining has to be picture-perfect and made-for-TV–it becomes genuine hospitable entertaining.

Here’s a little tidbit that I’ve learned over the years. Don’t overcook. When you plan appetizers, salad, a full meal, and dessert, you really don’t need extra food in the kitchen for guests to get seconds. We eat way too much in America. Our plates are too full to begin with … and then seconds?

Keep the portions small.

Smaller portions

Bring people together and make it fun and light!

Here are my tips for affordable entertaining:

1. Invite a few friends over.

2. Plan out the menu; put it on your phone or write it down.

3. Think of your budget first, and then decide what you would like to cook.

3. Delegate the rest of the menu slots to your guests.

4. Ask each couple or guest to bring wine (or drinks).

5. Don’t overcook; keep the portions small.

There is a balance of not having enough food versus too much food. And of course you don’t want your guests to leave hungry, but I really do think that we tend to overeat at dinner parties.

My hand is in the air, especially when I’m invited to a friend’s dinner party, because I love sitting back and enjoying another person’s cooking!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips on affordable entertaining when it comes to the menu!? And do you tend to overcook?

(Food in photos from our garden/raised beds. Potatoes, rosemary, snow peas, and raspberries and mint. Eating from the garden is another way to save money when entertaining.)