Here’s How To Throw A Three-Course Dinner Party For Under $40


If you’re courageous enough to have friends over for a dinner party, it doesn’t mean you’re going to shell out big-time. We stopped at Trader Joe’s and put together a genius list for the perfect spread. The result? A three-course meal with wine for under $40.

Grocery List

  • 2 lb. organic tri-color carrots — $1.99
  • 3 lb. bag of russet potatoes — $1.69
  • 1 lemon — $.49
  • Organic 5 lb. chicken — $12.89
  • Frozen spinach and artichoke dip — $2.69
  • “Reduced guilt” pita chips — $1.99
  • Frozen chocolate ganache torte — $7.99
  • 2 bottles of “Two Buck Chuck” wine — $5.98 total

Total with tax: $39.30

It seems weird to look at a seven-item list and believe a three-course meal that comfortably feeds four could possibly come out of it. But wait, we’re about to blow your mind.

Course 1: Spinach And Artichoke Dip With Pita Chips

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Pop your frozen dip in the oven according to the package instructions and toss those chips in a nice-looking bowl (basically anything that isn’t the bag). When the dip is done, scoop it into a smaller bowl. Your guests definitely won’t know it’s pre-made. Or, you could just tell them you bought it. Either way, the dip is the perfect way to start the night.

Course 2: Roast Chicken With Potatoes And Carrots


Three words: Don’t be afraid. Roast chicken is surprisingly easy to prepare, and you don’t need much to make it taste amazing. Assuming you already have salt, pepper and olive oil, the dish can come together in no time.

First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Alternatively, you can use a slow-cooker and start it on high heat.

Rinse the inside and outside of your chicken thoroughly and make sure giblets are removed. (They’re typically put in a package inside the bird, so all you have to do is pull out the package and throw it away!). Pat the chicken with paper towels to dry it, and then liberally drizzle olive oil all over and inside and season with salt and pepper. Cut your lemon in half and stick one half inside the chicken.

Wash and quarter your potatoes (unless they’re small — then leave whole) and carrots. Feel free to leave them in big chunks since they’ll be in the oven for a while, then toss them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Squeeze the other half of the lemon over the vegetables.

Add the vegetables to a foil-lined sheet pan or cake pan (or put in your slow-cooker), then add the chicken on top. Cook for 15 minutes uncovered, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for an hour and a half to two hours, or until your meat thermometer reads 165 degrees or hotter when you insert it in the chicken. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut open a breast and check to see if it still looks pink. (If you’re using a slow cooker, cook for 4-8 hours.)

Cover with foil and rest for 30 minutes, then slice it up and you’re good to go.

Course 3: Chocolate Ganache Torte


Defrost per the package instructions, move to a nicer plate and enjoy!

Throughout The Meal: Wine

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Drink up, friends.

Yep, you just fed your friends a three-course meal with booze for under $40. It’s not a miracle — it’s just that easy.