Under $100: Best Dishes for a Crowd of 25 People

Published: November 16, 2013

When the holidays roll around, you can be sure that you will be celebrating with all of your favorite people. This year, why not host a gathering at your house? When it comes to hosting, you want to make sure that you offer the perfect spread that is both delicious and easy to consume while mingling. In keeping with the seasonal fare, it is easy to provide a mouth-watering spread without breaking the bank.

  1. Chicken Pot Pie

    Chicken Pot Pie, the ultimate comfort food! Not only is it delicious, but also it is easy to double and triple the recipe to feed a large crowd. The secret to keeping the price of this dish down is doing all of the prep work yourself. Bake two large batches in disposable roasting pans to cut down on the work. 

    Chicken Pot Pie for 25: Grocery List

    Flour, 5lb bag $2.50

    Half and Half, $1.50

    Butter $2.00

    2 lb. carrots - $3.00

    2 lb. celery - $2.00

    2 cans of peas $1.20

    2 large onions - $.60

    1 whole chicken, uncooked - $4.00

    1 bullion cube - $.15

    1 tsp. ground thyme - $.20

    1 tsp. kosher salt - $.15

    Black pepper - $.30

    Chicken Broth – FREE, DIY

    2 Foil roasting pans from Dollar Tree - $2.00


    PRO TIP: Trim your carrots, celery and onion first. Take all of the scraps and throw it into a pot of boiling water with your whole, skinned chicken. In two hours you have a cooked chicken, and bonus chicken stock!

    Total Price- $19.00

    Crust (x4) RECIPE HERE

    Pot Pie (x4) RECIPE HERE

  2. Garlic Mashed Potatoes

    When feeding a crowd on a budget, you want to offer a large quantity of delicious starches. Not only are most starches inexpensive, they fill everyone up!

     Garlic Mashed Potatoes for 25: Grocery List

    x2 10lb bag of plain brown potatoes - $6.00

    x 6 heads of garlic - $2.00

    1 container of sour cream - $1.30

    2 sticks of butter - $1.00

    Gallon whole milk - $2.69

    Salt & Pepper to taste - $.25


    Total Cost - $13.25

    PRO TIP: Work in batches, that’s a lot of potatoes! First peel all of your garlic, and determine how many batches of potatoes you will boil. Divide all of the garlic evenly among the batches, and boil with the potatoes until it is easily pierced by a fork, about a half-hour.  Drain and add cooked potatoes and garlic your largest bowl. Mash all of the potatoes and add butter, S&P, sour cream, and milk until you have your desired consistency.



  3. Creamed Carrots

    This tangy dish is deliciously different, and serves up a helping of unique veggies.

    Creamed Carrots for 25: Grocery List

    6lbs. of carrots - $7.50

    1 container of Dijon mustard - $1.25

    1 stick of butter - $.50

    ½ cup half and half or cream - $.60

    Total Cost - $9.85

    To make this dish you will need to peel, rough chop, and boil the carrots.  When sufficiently boiled, process them in the food processor until smooth. Mix 6 tablespoons Dijon with all other ingredients and serve. This dish can be reheated.

  4. Olive Cheese Bread

    This amazing dish can serve as a side or an appetizer. Be warned, you might have to make extra, because this is quick to disappear!

    Olive Cheese Bread for 25: Grocery List

    4 loaves crusty French bread

    3 jars manzilla olive - $3.90

    3 cans black olives - $3.00

    1 jar regular whole fat mayonnaise - $2.75

    2 lbs. Monterey Jack Cheese (or similar), Grated - $6.75

    Green Onions - $1.20

    4 sticks of butter - $2.00

    Total Cost - $19.60

    The cheese topping can be made a few days ahead of time, so that you simply slather it onto the bread and bake before your guests arrive.

    Olive Cheese Bread Recipe

  5. Festive Jello

    What is a party with festive holiday food? This dish will demand all of the attention.

    Festive Jello for 25: Grocery List

    3 boxes Cherry Or Strawberry Jello (6 Ounces Each) $3.57

    3 boxes Lime Jello (6 Ounces Each) $3.57

    4 cans Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 Ounces Each) $6.00

    18 envelops Plain Knox Gelatin - $10.00

    Nonstick Cooking Spray - $2.50

    Total Cost - $25.64

    Pro Tip: Perhaps red, white and green are not suited to your holiday party. Try experimenting with different Jell-O flavors to achieve a color pattern that suits your party!


There you have it, a full meal under $100. Keep in mind whenever you can make things from scratch it will be cheaper, and more delicious. The total for this full, three-course meal comes to a grand total of $77.34, leaving you with plenty of room to add your own holiday favorite to the menu.  Please note that my pricing is based on shopping at Aldi. Any items that cannot be found at Aldi can be purchased from Walmart.