You can absolutely have an on-budget holiday feast without being a Grinch. The first key to success is planning ahead. Shopping early will ensure you get all the ingredients you need before store shelves become as desolate as Whoville on Christmas Eve. This will save you time and money from running around store to store trying to locate everything on your shopping list. It also gives some breathing room should you forget something, still giving you time to run out and grab the missing must-haves.
Make your list and check it more than twice to be sure your pantry and refrigerator are stocked with everything needed to make your festive meal perfect and stress-free. Stay on budget with a plan that will serve your family a holiday meal to remember for $30 or less!
A 10-pound turkey can cost around $15.
Everyone knows a turkey and mistletoe make the season bright, so shop soon to get your chosen bird. Buy one that’s enough but not too much. The average price for a turkey cost around $1.00-$1.50 a pound. This will save you money and waste as well as repeated leftovers.
1/2 stick of butter
Garnishes (rosemary and/or cranberries)
Before baking your turkey, put a half stick of butter inside the turkey cavity.
Then generously cover the entire turkey with regular mayonnaise for an incredibly moist, tender, show-stopping star of your dinner table!
Decorate and garnish on your favorite serving platter.
When placed on the platter make this a festive centerpiece festive by surrounding it with fresh rosemary and cranberries for a look that clearly says Christmas!
This dish cost around $4.00.
It's definitely, an old standby but even picky eaters love potatoes! This is a simple dish to create and you can make more than a generous bowl full!
Russet or Idaho Potatoes
1 stick of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes.
Put them in a large pot.
Cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil, being sure to stir often to prevent scorching.
When the potatoes are tender and the water is mostly cooked out (you may have to drain off a little bit of water) remove from heat.
Mash with a potato masher until smooth.
Add one stick of real butter, salt, and pepper to taste.
Add enough milk to reach your desired consistency. Just be sure to add a little bit at a time to prevent from being too thin.
Use any leftovers to make potato pancakes with added, finely chopped onion for an additional meal and a change of pace days later!
Green Beans and Mushrooms
The green beans and mushrooms will cost around $4.00.
If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby you can get a bag of organic whole green beans for less than $2.00! A box of mushrooms will cost you around the same amount.
A bag of whole green beans
A box of mushrooms, sliced
Salt, pepper, and/or favorite seasonings for flavor
Leave the green beans whole and cook them, boiled or sauteed in a skillet.
Add your favorite seasoning.
Cook until crisp-tender.
Add a few sliced, cooked mushrooms.
Now you’ve got yourself a very affordable side dish that is simple, yet elegant and sure to please everyone!
If pumpkin pie isn’t your thing, make one that looks like the proper pie to pass around but has a smoother, more appealing taste.
A large can of yams, drained and mashed until smooth
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 cup of milk
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together until creamy with no lumps.
Pour into two unbaked pie shells
Bake at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes or until set. If the crust starts to get too brown, cover the entire pie lightly with aluminum foil and continue cooking until set.
Two pies will cost an approximate total of $6.00-$7.00, which is about the same cost as one slice of dessert at a restaurant! There is also the option to splurge with a can of whipped cream for a delicious topping sprinkled with another dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Now, sit back and enjoy your Currier and Ives holiday moment with family, friends, and a great cup of coffee!
With cautious shopping and precise planning, there’s no need for your holiday meal to tip over the $30 scale or your personal scale. Your meal will be inexpensive yet festive and enjoyable to prepare. Have your camera ready to take a few snapshots of this picture-perfect meal that leaves you with enough time, energy, and money to actually enjoy the holiday. Cheers!