Year One: Life After the I Do's

Dinner for Six For $100

Show off that new china by throwing a dinner party! This menu, designed by reality star-chef Bethenny Frankel, is affordable and yum. Top it off with perfectly priced pours vetted by master sommelier Gilles de Chambure of California's Meadowood Napa Valley resort.

hors d'oeuvres

"Easy and fun: Wrap prosciutto slices around breadsticks and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees," says Bethenny, the star of Bravo's Bethenny Ever After. (Um, can you say, "Post-dinner munchie"?)

appetizer

Bethenny, who uses organic products whenever possible, suggests a simple arugula salad with shaved parmesan; use a veggie peeler on the cheese. (Toasted pine nuts or walnuts are optional.) Keep the dressing light: just lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

main course

We heart Bethenny's go-to chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese. The full recipe's at bethenny.com; here's the CliffsNotes version: Slit the side of each chicken filet to create a pocket; spoon in a mixture of goat cheese, dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano), and fresh Italian parsley. Sauté the breasts in olive oil until brown on each side and fully cooked; remove from the pan. Add minced garlic, diced sun-dried tomatoes (the packed-in-oil kind, drained), and heavy cream to the pan. Simmer for five minutes—voilà, a yummy sauce! Serve the chicken with rice and sautéed leafy greens, like broccoli rabe or spinach.

dessert

Nothing says "amore" like gelato topped with chopped nuts. Try hazelnut gelato with hazelnuts, almond gelato with almonds, or peanut-butter gelato with peanuts. "Presentation is key—the topping looks like a big deal, but it so isn't," says Bethenny, who recommends serving the scoops in a wineglass "for a little drama."

TOTAL: $68

We assumed you have the basics (olive oil, salt, pepper) and priced all other ingredients at Trader Joe's, one of Bethenny's faves. Look for supermarket specials—you may save even more.


Wines: $12 or less

If you've got a light-drinking crowd, buy three bottles—one sparkling and two of either white or red; get more if you and your pals are thirsty types. (Guests will usually bring a bottle, but you can't count on it.) Gilles de Chambure's most affordable picks, available nationwide:

Sparkling

Freixenet Cordon Rosado Brut, $12, from Spain. "Cava is a refreshing and super-elegant welcome drink, and more affordable than champagne."

White

Round Hill Chardonnay, $8, from California. "This is a rich white with a creamy texture, offering notes of baked apple and vanilla. You can serve it with anything—pork, lasagna, or seafood."

Red

Alamos Malbec, $12, from Argentina. "Malbecs are hot right now. You'll taste berries; it's more fruity than a cabernet and excellent with roasts and chops."

TOTAL: $32

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