I received a great question from a reader a few days ago:
Dear The Kitchn,
I just got involved with an organization called Dining For Women which hosts monthly dinners at members' homes to raise money for international projects benefiting women. My first dinner is coming up and I will be cooking for about thirty people. Our beneficiary is Bead for Life, a Ugandan organization that assists women in their bead making businesses.
I have a really limited budget and I need to make dishes that can be made ahead of time and eaten without lots of dishes, the better!) and will work for a 4pm - 8pm time frame. Any suggestions?
This email really moved me, so I put the question out to our Thursday email subscribers and heard back from dozens. Click through for our community's menu ideas and more on my thoughts about Maria's email.