What to CookOn the CheapNew Year's Eve

A New Year's Eve Menu That Feels Special Without Blowing the Budget

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For those than can afford oodles of Champagne and caviar on New Year's, I say: That's great for you, but I'm not there (or even close) yet.

But you can still throw a great New Year's Eve party, full of food everyone will remember well into 2017, without buying a salary-worth of fish eggs and starting the year with a light wallet. It's not so much "cheap" as it is "resourceful." (And that sounds better than cheap, right?)

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Here's what to make for New Year's Eve that won't blow your budget:

The appetizers

Marinated Kohlrabi (In the Style of Artichoke Hearts)
Marinated Kohlrabi (In the Style of Artichoke Hearts)

Kohlrabi less expensive than artichokes and easier to prepare. The biggest thing you’ll have to spring for is the olive oil.

Wasabi Pea Snack Mix
Wasabi Pea Snack Mix

Dry ramen and corn chips are two cheap-o staples that remind us of college days. This snack mix has a good mix of, uh, high- and low-brow ingredients, like homemade wasabi peas, cashews, and, again, let’s circle back to the dry ramen.

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The Mains

Barbara Kafka's Simplest Roast Chicken

Barbara Kafka's Simplest Roast Chicken by Genius Recipes

Cal Peternell’s Fried Herb Salsa

Cal Peternell’s Fried Herb Salsa by Genius Recipes

For meat eaters, give them roast chicken! A fuss-free, delicious bird will please most everyone—and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than, say, caviar or a rack of lamb. Pair with fried herb salsa, if you so please, which requires little more than olive oil, herbs, and salt.

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

And for the vegetarians, Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter. No matter how many times you make it, it always seems like alchemy that ingredients so simple and few (and cheap) can produce something so rich and complex-tasting. Spring for the good canned tomatoes (which really aren’t that much more expensive), add pasta, and you’re set.

On the side

Tahini Roasted Broccoli
Tahini Roasted Broccoli

You already have tahini from making that snack mix. Now, just add broccoli and some seasonings and you have an addictive side.

Molly Wizenberg & Brandon Pettit's Red Wine Vinaigrette
Molly Wizenberg & Brandon Pettit's Red Wine Vinaigrette

If you have two teaspoons of red wine to spare, you can make this vinaigrette. After that, add your favorite greens for a side salad that can stand on its own.

Desserts!

Hervé This' Chocolate Mousse
Hervé This' Chocolate Mousse

This chocolate mousse has only four ingredients—and two of those are water and ice cubes, which are probably free.

Nutella Popcorn Puppy Chow
Nutella Popcorn Puppy Chow

Have you ever had puppy chow? It doesn’t matter what your answer is. Make puppy chow.

The drinks

Ask your guests to bring their favorite alcohol! Maybe it’s a bottle of wine, beer, or their favorite punch or cocktail ingredients. The purpose of this is twofold: It cuts down on costs for the host and there’s a larger variety of alcohol for everyone to sample.

Never Run Out of Alcohol at Your Party Again
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Never Run Out of Alcohol at Your Party Again

Tell us: What let's-not-blow-the-budget dishes do you serve on New Year's Eve?