How to Help | Do-Good Dinner Party for Less than $20

Do Good Collect Donations for Charities - Ladies Home Journal Photo

Do Good Collect Donations for Charities - Ladies Home Journal PhotoAre you searching for ideas on how to help people? Here’s a way to help people and animals through charitable organizations that accept donations other than money. The next time you invite a group of friends over for dinner, make it a themed dinner for less than $20 with the easy, healthy chilli recipe below. The theme? A Do-Good Dinner Party. Serve your guests a delicious frugal dinner, enjoy their company, and give back to the communiy with your guests’ donations to a local charity of your choice.

Donations that Help

Before you invite your dinner guests, do your research. Call local charities to discover what type of donations are in greatest need. Some of their donation requests may include:

  • Blankets and towels for women’s shelters or animal shelters.
  • Non-perishable foods for food banks.
  • Baby items for shelters and food banks.
  • Books, games, and toys for shelters or daycare facilities in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Used sports equipment for neighborhood youth programs.
  • Gently used men’s and women’s clothing, ties, scarves, coats, shoes, handbags, and other accessories for disadvantaged who are in the process of getting back into the job force.

The Salvation Army is an organization that can use most of the items listed, or can refer you to other charitable organizations that would benefit from the generosity of you and your friends.

Classic Chilli Recipe for Less than $20

I found The Do-Good Dinner Party (also found online) article in the March, 2012, issue of the Ladies Home Journal among their many “Do Good” articles. The money-saving dinner menu includes Classic Chilli for a Crowd with a variety of topping choices to add to your guests’ enjoyment. Get the recipe below:

For a kick, replace some ground beef with spicy sausage. Using coffee instead of tomato juice gives chili a richer flavor.

Work: 35 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves: 12

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 jalapeños, seeded if desired, finely diced
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup tomato juice or brewed coffee
  • 3 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes with juices
  • 3 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in an 8-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer browned meat to a bowl and discard any juices in the pot.

2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot with the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, all the spices, and salt and continue to cook until the vegetables are well coated and mixture darkens a bit and becomes fragrant. Stir in tomato juice or coffee, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pot, and then add tomatoes with their juices, beans, browned meat, and 1 1/2 cups water.

3. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili has thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar, and season to taste with salt.

Vegetarian Variation

Just $1.09 per serving! Prepare classic chili, omitting the meat, and sauté 3 diced carrots with the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Cover and cook until carrots are soft, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add 2 15-ounce cans rinsed and drained lentils along with the kidney beans. Add 2 cups thawed frozen corn during the last 5 minutes.


  • Using coupons can help cut the cost of the ingredients, beverages, and desserts.
  • Dining-in is always a better way to save compared to dining out.
  • Make Do-Good Dinner Parties a part of your seasonal or holiday traditions - suggest to your friends they each take a turn. I’m sure the numbe of participants and donations will grow!

Holiday Recipes: Mother’s Day Daisy Cake

This spring cake is fun to make with your kids for springtime holidays and parties, especially Kraft DessertsEaster and Mother’s Day. A low-fat recipe version of this Daisy Cake is included below. Save room for this special-occasion dessert by planning ahead. For example, watch portions and choose lower-fat foods beforehand.

Mother’s Day Daisy Cake

Serves: 12
Total Time: 1 hr 5 min
Prep Time: 30 min
Oven Temp: 350


  • 1 package(s) (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
  • 1 package(s) (3.4-ounce) Jell-O® Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding
  • 1 tub(s) (8-ounce) Cool Whip® Whipped Topping, thawed
  • 1/2 cup(s) Baker’s® Angel Flake Coconut
  • 1 drop(s) (or 2) yellow food coloring
  • 2 cup(s) Jet-Puffed® Miniature Marshmallows
  • 2 small bug-shaped candies


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour 1-quart ovenproof bowl and 9-inch round pan; set aside. Prepare cake batter as directed on package. Add dry pudding mix; beat until well blended. Pour about half the batter into prepared bowl. Pour remaining batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake 9-inch layer 23 to 25 minutes and bake batter in bowl 33 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cakes 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pan and bowl with knife. Invert cakes onto wire racks; gently remove pan and bowl. Cool cakes completely.
  4. Cut 9-inch cake layer into 16 wedges. Place inverted bowl cake on large serving board; surround with cake wedges to resemble flower petals. Frost with Cool Whip®.
  5. Tint coconut with food coloring (see Tips & Techniques); press into Cool Whip® on center cake. Decorate with marshmallows and candies as shown in photo.

Variation: Prepare as directed, using Jell-O® Vanilla Flavor Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Pudding and Cool Whip® Lite Whipped Topping.

Each serving of regular recipe provides: 2g trans fat, 2%DV vitamin A, 0%DV vitamin C, 6%DV calcium, and 6%DV iron.

Nutrition Information per Serving (Sugar Free Fat Free Vanilla Pudding and Cool Whip® Lite): 370 calories, 16g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 55mg cholesterol, 430mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate, less than 1g dietary fiber, 34g sugars, 4g protein, 2%DV vitamin A, 0%DV vitamin C, 6%DV calcium, 6%DV iron.

Tips & Techniques

How to tint coconut: Place coconut in resealable plastic bag. Add food coloring. Close bag; shake to evenly tint coconut.

Storage know-how: Wrap any leftover cake with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.

Source:, and they found this adorable Mother’s Day cake recipe on

Ways to Save: DIY Dine-In Dinner Party

Whether your income has decreased or your expenses have increased, you can have fun finding creative ways to save. When it comes to cost-saving entertainment, host a DIY Dine-In Dinner Party. Impress your friends (or your honey) with this do-it-yourself, dine-in dinner party (or date night) menu courtesy of culinary cutie Dave Lieberman, campaign spokesperson for Del Monte “Value without Sacrifice”  and Chef and Author of  The 10 Things You Need to Eat: – a New York Times Bestseller!! You can host a fabulous dinner party without sacrificing value or nutrition.Read more: Ways to Save: DIY Dine-In Dinner Party