- I host and cook for family and friends by buying budget-friendly ingredients from Aldi in the UK.
- Camembert cheese and premade pastry dough are great dinner-party staples.
- Tea and a preprepared dessert make for an excellent nightcap after a delicious meal.
I discovered my love for cooking and hosting during my second year of university, but I couldn’t afford the fanciest ingredients as a student.
Years later, I still take pleasure in making my friends and family beautiful, yet 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 time to cook, I don’t want my friends and family to go hungry, so I often serve some chips and a range of dips to snack on.
Aldi sells an array of options — guacamole, salsa, and sour-cream dip are great, effort-free appetizers before the main event.
Butternut-squash risotto is a fall favorite
If your friends have a range of dietary requirements like mine do, a seasonal butternut-squash risotto suits most diets and hits the spot every time.
It’s creamy and decadent but also includes a wholesome serving of vegetables.
Plus butternut squash is relatively cheap, 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 firmly commend anyone who makes their own dough, but on lazier days, I’m not motivated to prepare something I can easily buy.
I add a sweet filling — like spiced apples or peaches — to make a tasty pie or combine caramelized onions, peppers, and cheese to prepare a lush tart.
Frozen shrimp often saves the day
Sometimes I’ll host a dinner with very little warning beforehand, so pre-shelled and deveined shrimp is great to keep in the freezer to whip up a speedy meal for several people.
Whereas other frozen proteins, like chicken and lamb, can take a while to thaw, shrimp is great for defrosting and chucking 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 that extra step, I’ll also prepare a charcuterie board for grazing before the main course.
Aldi’s baked Camembert topped with honey, rosemary, chili flakes, and sliced garlic alongside some bread makes for the perfect, warming centerpiece during the colder months.
Bite-sized tomatoes can bring color to many plates
From tomato-based pasta to airy and soft focaccia to side salads, cherry tomatoes work perfectly with so many dishes.
I tend to buy the plum kind for the subtle difference in taste, but also love having a mix of orange, red, and yellow tomatoes to keep my food looking colorful and appetizing.
I also like to enjoy a bit of bubbly
A lot of my friends and I don’t drink alcohol, but we still like a glass or two of nonalcoholic bubbly with our dinner.
I like to mix flavored water with lemonade, which looks pretty cute with a few raspberries thrown in for garnish and extra flavor.
Potatoes are a versatile addition to a roast dinner
A roast dinner is a crowd-pleaser and so easy to make, so I often grab a bag of white potatoes from Aldi.
Once I’ve marinated the meat and put it in the oven, I prep my potatoes by peeling, parboiling (boiling the ingredient until partially cooked), and fluffing them in the colander with some cornflour. I then coat them with salt, pepper, and softened butter.
Plus with roast potatoes, you can also leave the skin on and skip the parboiling and fluffing for an easier dish.
Bread is a breakfast staple
Eggs, pancakes, berries, and orange juice all make for a delightful brunch, but the one true staple is bread.
A soft, fluffy loaf can transform your modest meal into a gorgeous afternoon affair, so I often snag this white bloomer from Aldi.
Coconut milk is a key ingredient in many curries
Coconut milk makes an excellent base for a lot of curries, like creamy Goan fish curry or Thai green curry.
Curries are easy to make for big crowds and wonderfully keep their flavor the next day.
Garlic granules are a wonderful time saver
You can save time dicing and mincing with this convenient garlic seasoning.
I don’t know if I’d call it cheating, but garlic granules in place of the fresh alternative can save you a lot of time and add a much-needed pop of flavor to your dish.
Tea is a soothing post-dinner drink
When winding down after dinner, a nightcap can do wonders for settling a full stomach before bed.
Aldi’s selection of teas means there’s something for everyone, whether you’re partial to herbal or fruity cups.
I always have room for dessert but sometimes not enough willpower to make it
Rumor has it that we have a second stomach for sweet food — I don’t know if that’s true, but my guests and I rarely ever turn down dessert.
But after a while in the kitchen prepping my starters and main, I sometimes don’t have the energy to make it.
Thankfully, Aldi has a delicious range of sweet options I can count on.
I love whipping up beetroot salad for a light, post-leftover meal
Although it’s always lovely hosting my friends for delicious dinners and evening chats, I don’t always consume the most wholesome array of food. So I often snag a pack of cooked beetroot from Aldi.
Once I’m finished with all of the leftovers — because waste not, want not — I like to make a yummy, nutritious beetroot-and-goat-cheese salad that I dress with walnuts, lemon juice, and a little olive oil.
This makes for a great packed lunch, too.