Budget-Friendly Shabbat Menus for a Crowd

Flat lay view of Jewish Shabbat eve table
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As the dad to teenage children, Giora Shimoni found they'd often invite their friends over to join the family's Shabbat meals. "Naturally," he wrote, that sort of hospitality was encouraged, "and we want our children to remember their home as welcoming and warm." But serving lots of hungry teens without breaking one's budget can be a challenge. So Shimoni devised some affordable, yet satisfying menus he could rely on whenever there were lots of guests to feed.

Economical Sabbath Dinner Menu for a Crowd

  • Rich Chicken Noodle Soup (Meat)  - Giora Shimoni makes clever use of chicken wings -- which infuse the broth with lots of flavors thanks to their abundance of fine bones -- in this easy, economical recipe. 
  • Simple Roast Chicken (Meat) - This very basic recipe for roast chicken is easily doubled. Bone-in chicken is a budget-friendly buy, and though the recipe calls for a whole chicken, you can substitute less expensive parts, such as thighs. You can also add vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and potatoes to the roasting pan if you'd like. 
  • Basmati Rice With Carrots (Pareve) - If you're tired of plain rice, Giora Shimoni's easy recipe for rice with carrots makes for a nice change of pace. Shimoni says his kids love the sweetness the carrots and sauteed onions impart to the rice. If you don't have Basmati, you can substitute another long grain rice.
  • Roasted Broccoli With Ginger (Pareve) - Not only is this recipe quick and easy, it's absolutely delicious. All you need to turn a workhorse veggie into something special is olive oil, a little fresh ginger, a pinch of salt, and a quick roast in a hot oven. 
  • Apple Cake (Pareve) - This company-worthy cake, with its layers of cinnamon-laced apples, is a classic example of the dessert dubbed Jewish Apple Cake. 

Economical Sabbath Lunch Menu for a Crowd

  • Sweet Soy Chicken Wings (Meat)  - Sweet and savory, these baked chicken wings will have the whole family licking their fingers and asking for more. 
  • Roasted Vegetables (Pareve) - Not only are they healthy, easy to prepare, and delicious, but roasted vegetables are very budget friendly, especially when you opt for whatever veggies are in season. 
  • If you want to put red meat on the table, one of the least expensive ways to do it is to choose a recipe that uses ground beef. Meat and Vegetable Pie or meatballs served with rice are two good options. 
  • Oven Fried Breaded Chicken (Meat) - This crowd-pleasing, kid-friendly recipe for Breaded Baked Chicken is quick, easy, and, says Giora Shimoni, "even good the next day! What else could anyone ask for a recipe?"
  • Russian Potato Salad (Pareve) - Features hard boiled eggs, peas, and carrots, and makes an interesting change from ordinary potato salad. Fancy something warm instead? It's hard to go wrong with a Potato Kugel, aka potato pudding. 
  • Sour Cherry and Nectarine Crisp (Pareve)  - You can use fresh or frozen fruit in this easy, wholesome fruit crisp. And when another fruit is on sale (or in season), you can swap that in for the cherries and nectarines.