Foodie news | Memorial Day grilling on a budget |

Foodie news | Memorial Day grilling on a budget

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212;-With Memorial Day around the corner, itand#8217;s time to start prepping for a season of grilling and gatherings. If youand#8217;ve played host before, you know planning an afternoon full of tasty meats, cold drinks and good friends while staying on budget can be a challenge. So, before firing up the grill and demonstrating your outdoor culinary skills this summer, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Plan ahead. Even if you donand#8217;t have immediate plans to spend the day grilling out, itand#8217;s not too early to start scouting out deals on your favorite meats. Look for coupons and sales at the store, stock up on your favorites and freeze what you donand#8217;t use right away. When the time comes to send out invites to a backyard party, you can choose what you want and how much you need right from your freezer.

2. Make it a team effort. Keep the menu simple on your end. Stick to a couple meat choices, one or two easy sides and a few refreshing beverages. Let your guests know what youand#8217;ll be providing, and have them bring the rest. This will save you money while adding variety to the menu. No more worrying about pleasing everyone, as each person will have a say on both the food and drinks available.

3. Remember, itand#8217;s not all about the meat. While meat is the star of most barbecue events, vegetables should share the spotlight. Grilled veggies are a tasty and inexpensive side most people will enjoy adding to a plate full of meaty proteins. Check out whatand#8217;s in season and whatand#8217;s on sale before choosing a combination of your favorite vegetables. Then, simply skewer, season and grill for a great addition to the food.

4. Take fewer trips to the trash can. Disposable plates, cups, silverware and napkins are often first on our list of things to buy for an outside meal. From now on, avoid buying paper anything to help save both money and the environment. The more trips your guests make to the trash, the more of your money they are throwing away. Whether you use reusable plastics and cloth napkins you already have at home, or you shop dollar stores and garage sales to make a one-time investment on inexpensive, durable dishware, youand#8217;ll save money by avoiding plastics.

and#8212; Sarah Bovagnet is a writer for meal planning service

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