A great turkey dinner is one of the most cost-effective meals you can make; it’s the sides and wine and desserts that can make the meal extravagant and expensive. Here are five tips for taking care of Thanksgiving on a budget:
1.) Let’s talk turkey. You can’t beat the price, but keep in mind that you’re also paying for what you don’t eat — namely, the bones and, for some people, the leftovers. My tips on transforming a roast chicken apply perfectly well to turkey; use up every bit of that bird!
2.) Ditch the expensive sides. Pound-for-pound, sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious vegetables out there. Problem is, we douse them with fatty butter and then smother them in marshmallows — not a way to maximize the nutritional value of this particular spud. Why not roast sweet potato spears instead, of mash them up instead of regular potatoes? They’re inexpensive and delicious — your budget will thank you.
3.) Serve a rice dish. While it’s not a traditional Thanksgiving dish, rice is versatile, budget-friendly, and easy to make. Spice it up with seasonings, dried fruit, and chicken broth, and watch it disappear at dinner.
4.) Lighten up on dessert. Pumpkin or sweet-potato pie is great and all, but an apple crisp costs less, is better for you, and can be prepped in advance and popped in the oven while you’re eating dinner. it makes a great breakfast treat, too.
5.) Leave out the wine. In my family, wine is a big thing with dinner, but when times are tough, leave out the alcohol. You’ll save a bundle (whip up a much-more-cost-effective punch instead, or serve kid-friendly sparkling cider).
How do you trim the grocery bill around Thanksgiving — or do you just throw your budget to the wind and splurge?