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Thanksgiving on a Budget (Slideshow)

Thanksgiving on a Budget (Slideshow)


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Go easy on your wallet this holiday with these budget-friendly tips

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"Making your Thanksgiving feast a potluck affair is one of the best ways to save. Potlucks are entirely acceptable and they give guests a chance to show off their epicurean prowess. Just keep a running list of who's bringing what so you don't end up with duplicate dishes or missing entire courses."

— David Bakke

Go Potluck

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"Making your Thanksgiving feast a potluck affair is one of the best ways to save. Potlucks are entirely acceptable and they give guests a chance to show off their epicurean prowess. Just keep a running list of who's bringing what so you don't end up with duplicate dishes or missing entire courses."

— David Bakke

Feature Fresh Alternatives

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"You can save time in the kitchen, or you can save money. It's a tough decision. If you decide to go the latter route, skip the pre-cut cheese and veggie tray and prepare your own. The same concept applies to any dish, appetizer, or dessert you plan to serve. Accept the inevitability of kitchen time (you agreed to host, remember?) and have fun with it. Invite friends or family over to help if doing all the prep and cooking alone is intimidating. Or prepare dishes in advance to save time on the big day and money."

— David Bakke

But Know When to Go Canned or Frozen

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While you’re certainly cutting some dollars from your bill by creating the crudité platter yourself, there’s also sound reason for buying some canned and frozen foods for your Thanksgiving dinner, too. Just because everyone’s gone organic these days doesn’t mean that fresh is always better. Frozen foods are actually healthier than most of the fresh varieties on the stand, and usually cheaper, too.

Reduce Your Grocery Bill by Spending It in Increments

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It’s never too early to start planning for Thanksgiving — seriously — and that goes for grocery shopping, as well. One of Bakke’s tips is to start making your grocery trips weeks or even months in advance. Pay attention to sales that are going on and collect coupons. You’ll be capitalizing on great deals that may not occur during the holiday season, and you’ll cut down your spending by doing it in increments rather than all at once.

Don’t Make It Complicated

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We know — the way Ina Garten put together that sausage and sage cornbread stuffing in her beautiful kitchen in East Hampton, N.Y., was so inspiring, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it exactly the same way, and at the same price. Take inspiration from recipes that you find but don’t get bogged down by the specifics of them if they’re going to rack up the grocery bill. Make smart choices, like instead of buying fresh sage, use the dried jar you have in your pantry, and maybe your mashed potatoes don’t need that truffle oil.

Don’t Forget About the Breasts

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Big families are a blessing, but they can also be expensive. When you’re figuring out how many turkeys to buy for Thanksgiving this year, don’t forget about the breasts. They’re a cheaper cut of turkey than buying the whole bird and can help you save money by increasing the amount of turkey you’re serving without buying an entire additional one.

Feature a Themed Drink

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"One way to reduce the expense of alcohol is to feature a themed mixed drink. Pumpkin punch, for example, is seasonal, fun, and affordable. Find a simple recipe online and substitute well brands for more expensive top-shelf options. Let your friends know in advance what you'll be concocting, and if they have more exclusive tastes, they can bring their own favorite libation."

— David Bakke

Be Strategic

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The grocery stores are doing it to you, so you might as well do it to them. Be strategic with your grocery stores, and pay attention to all of their sales and bargains during the holidays. They’re all battling with each other to get your patronage, so capitalize on their efforts and take advantage of each one. It might mean a couple of stops, but you’ll be saving yourself some money.

Be a Smart Shopper

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These days, there are all kinds of apps and tools available to help us not only cook but plan for big meals like holiday dinners. This Thanksgiving Calculator is a great resource to use to figure out how much food you’ll need to feed the family, and it’ll help you avoid wasting money on uneaten food.

Leftovers!

Speaking of uneaten food, there is no such thing at The Daily Meal. Start thinking about fun casseroles and recipes that can put leftover Thanksgiving dishes to good use over the long holiday weekend, and when all else fails, make the Ultimate Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich.


Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget 101

The holiday season is all about excess. But in this financial climate, simple meals and décor can seem tastefully elegant instead of Dickensian. This year, it's de rigueur to forgo the fancy spread and get back to basics. Here's how:

Plan Ahead -- Open your day planner and circle Nov. 1 with a red pen. This is when you should start planning your menu. The turkey will account for nearly 40 percent of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner [source: All Recipes]. Buy it early, and get a frozen bird -- it'll store easier, defrost better and roast up juicier. A week before Thanksgiving, commit an afternoon to prep work. Tear up bread for stuffing, mix dough for pie crusts and dinner rolls, and simmer chicken to make stock. Plan your shopping excursion on double-coupon day, and take careful inventory of your pantry so you don't buy unnecessary items.

Stick to the Classics -- Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with unusual dishes or recipes that exceed your skill level. You've got a hungry crowd waiting, and they'll expect traditional dishes. When that clove-studded, orange-infused turkey falls flat, you'll have to tack on another $20 to your budget to cover Chinese takeout for your hungry guests. You really can't go wrong with a classic menu of roast turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie [source: Martha Stewart]. As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the fewest ingredients and steps to save money and time.

Deviate from the Classics -- An untraditional Thanksgiving dinner can make a chic culinary statement and cost less than the storybook spread. Instead of roasting a turkey, grill turkey burgers. Knead fresh tarragon into the patties, and finish them off with a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved condiment: cranberry ketchup, a combination of cranberry chutney and tomato ketchup [source: Huffington Post]. Instead of Champagne, serve cranberry-sparkling water spritzers, or make a root beer float with pumpkin-flavored ice cream.

Add More Décor -- Nothing sets the occasion quite like an enchanting dinner table. You don't have to spend a fortune at the florist to create an autumnal wonderland rather, collect natural elements from your backyard for free, fresh décor. For the centerpiece, fill a vase halfway with acorns, then arrange willow branches, sturdy sticks and gold and red leaves to cascade over the top. Make place cards with tiny squares of ivory card stock secured to pinecones. Light a few taper candles, and the dining room will be aglow with the magic of the holidays.

Tell Guests It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Side) -- As long as you let guests know well in advance, they won't mind bringing something to dinner. You can focus on the bird and assign the starches, vegetables, cranberries and dessert to friends and family. This way, you can put a little extra toward your wine budget.

Be a Discerning Host -- If money is tight, you don't have to be the hostess with the mostest -- it's better to be a discerning host. Make thoughtful, smart choices about your dinner spread while keeping your guests' tastes and your financial means in mind. For instance, if your crowd prefers white meat, purchase a smaller, less expensive turkey breast. Perhaps a full dinner isn't an option this year. You could always host a morning brunch. A few pastries, quiches and mimosas will hold over your friends and family until they're off to their dinner celebrations. Or, throw an after-dinner soiree: Put on a pot of coffee, mix up a signature cocktail and arrange petit fours, fresh fruit and cheese on a tray. You'll close out turkey day with style and panache!


Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget 101

The holiday season is all about excess. But in this financial climate, simple meals and décor can seem tastefully elegant instead of Dickensian. This year, it's de rigueur to forgo the fancy spread and get back to basics. Here's how:

Plan Ahead -- Open your day planner and circle Nov. 1 with a red pen. This is when you should start planning your menu. The turkey will account for nearly 40 percent of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner [source: All Recipes]. Buy it early, and get a frozen bird -- it'll store easier, defrost better and roast up juicier. A week before Thanksgiving, commit an afternoon to prep work. Tear up bread for stuffing, mix dough for pie crusts and dinner rolls, and simmer chicken to make stock. Plan your shopping excursion on double-coupon day, and take careful inventory of your pantry so you don't buy unnecessary items.

Stick to the Classics -- Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with unusual dishes or recipes that exceed your skill level. You've got a hungry crowd waiting, and they'll expect traditional dishes. When that clove-studded, orange-infused turkey falls flat, you'll have to tack on another $20 to your budget to cover Chinese takeout for your hungry guests. You really can't go wrong with a classic menu of roast turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie [source: Martha Stewart]. As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the fewest ingredients and steps to save money and time.

Deviate from the Classics -- An untraditional Thanksgiving dinner can make a chic culinary statement and cost less than the storybook spread. Instead of roasting a turkey, grill turkey burgers. Knead fresh tarragon into the patties, and finish them off with a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved condiment: cranberry ketchup, a combination of cranberry chutney and tomato ketchup [source: Huffington Post]. Instead of Champagne, serve cranberry-sparkling water spritzers, or make a root beer float with pumpkin-flavored ice cream.

Add More Décor -- Nothing sets the occasion quite like an enchanting dinner table. You don't have to spend a fortune at the florist to create an autumnal wonderland rather, collect natural elements from your backyard for free, fresh décor. For the centerpiece, fill a vase halfway with acorns, then arrange willow branches, sturdy sticks and gold and red leaves to cascade over the top. Make place cards with tiny squares of ivory card stock secured to pinecones. Light a few taper candles, and the dining room will be aglow with the magic of the holidays.

Tell Guests It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Side) -- As long as you let guests know well in advance, they won't mind bringing something to dinner. You can focus on the bird and assign the starches, vegetables, cranberries and dessert to friends and family. This way, you can put a little extra toward your wine budget.

Be a Discerning Host -- If money is tight, you don't have to be the hostess with the mostest -- it's better to be a discerning host. Make thoughtful, smart choices about your dinner spread while keeping your guests' tastes and your financial means in mind. For instance, if your crowd prefers white meat, purchase a smaller, less expensive turkey breast. Perhaps a full dinner isn't an option this year. You could always host a morning brunch. A few pastries, quiches and mimosas will hold over your friends and family until they're off to their dinner celebrations. Or, throw an after-dinner soiree: Put on a pot of coffee, mix up a signature cocktail and arrange petit fours, fresh fruit and cheese on a tray. You'll close out turkey day with style and panache!


Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget 101

The holiday season is all about excess. But in this financial climate, simple meals and décor can seem tastefully elegant instead of Dickensian. This year, it's de rigueur to forgo the fancy spread and get back to basics. Here's how:

Plan Ahead -- Open your day planner and circle Nov. 1 with a red pen. This is when you should start planning your menu. The turkey will account for nearly 40 percent of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner [source: All Recipes]. Buy it early, and get a frozen bird -- it'll store easier, defrost better and roast up juicier. A week before Thanksgiving, commit an afternoon to prep work. Tear up bread for stuffing, mix dough for pie crusts and dinner rolls, and simmer chicken to make stock. Plan your shopping excursion on double-coupon day, and take careful inventory of your pantry so you don't buy unnecessary items.

Stick to the Classics -- Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with unusual dishes or recipes that exceed your skill level. You've got a hungry crowd waiting, and they'll expect traditional dishes. When that clove-studded, orange-infused turkey falls flat, you'll have to tack on another $20 to your budget to cover Chinese takeout for your hungry guests. You really can't go wrong with a classic menu of roast turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie [source: Martha Stewart]. As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the fewest ingredients and steps to save money and time.

Deviate from the Classics -- An untraditional Thanksgiving dinner can make a chic culinary statement and cost less than the storybook spread. Instead of roasting a turkey, grill turkey burgers. Knead fresh tarragon into the patties, and finish them off with a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved condiment: cranberry ketchup, a combination of cranberry chutney and tomato ketchup [source: Huffington Post]. Instead of Champagne, serve cranberry-sparkling water spritzers, or make a root beer float with pumpkin-flavored ice cream.

Add More Décor -- Nothing sets the occasion quite like an enchanting dinner table. You don't have to spend a fortune at the florist to create an autumnal wonderland rather, collect natural elements from your backyard for free, fresh décor. For the centerpiece, fill a vase halfway with acorns, then arrange willow branches, sturdy sticks and gold and red leaves to cascade over the top. Make place cards with tiny squares of ivory card stock secured to pinecones. Light a few taper candles, and the dining room will be aglow with the magic of the holidays.

Tell Guests It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Side) -- As long as you let guests know well in advance, they won't mind bringing something to dinner. You can focus on the bird and assign the starches, vegetables, cranberries and dessert to friends and family. This way, you can put a little extra toward your wine budget.

Be a Discerning Host -- If money is tight, you don't have to be the hostess with the mostest -- it's better to be a discerning host. Make thoughtful, smart choices about your dinner spread while keeping your guests' tastes and your financial means in mind. For instance, if your crowd prefers white meat, purchase a smaller, less expensive turkey breast. Perhaps a full dinner isn't an option this year. You could always host a morning brunch. A few pastries, quiches and mimosas will hold over your friends and family until they're off to their dinner celebrations. Or, throw an after-dinner soiree: Put on a pot of coffee, mix up a signature cocktail and arrange petit fours, fresh fruit and cheese on a tray. You'll close out turkey day with style and panache!


Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget 101

The holiday season is all about excess. But in this financial climate, simple meals and décor can seem tastefully elegant instead of Dickensian. This year, it's de rigueur to forgo the fancy spread and get back to basics. Here's how:

Plan Ahead -- Open your day planner and circle Nov. 1 with a red pen. This is when you should start planning your menu. The turkey will account for nearly 40 percent of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner [source: All Recipes]. Buy it early, and get a frozen bird -- it'll store easier, defrost better and roast up juicier. A week before Thanksgiving, commit an afternoon to prep work. Tear up bread for stuffing, mix dough for pie crusts and dinner rolls, and simmer chicken to make stock. Plan your shopping excursion on double-coupon day, and take careful inventory of your pantry so you don't buy unnecessary items.

Stick to the Classics -- Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with unusual dishes or recipes that exceed your skill level. You've got a hungry crowd waiting, and they'll expect traditional dishes. When that clove-studded, orange-infused turkey falls flat, you'll have to tack on another $20 to your budget to cover Chinese takeout for your hungry guests. You really can't go wrong with a classic menu of roast turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie [source: Martha Stewart]. As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the fewest ingredients and steps to save money and time.

Deviate from the Classics -- An untraditional Thanksgiving dinner can make a chic culinary statement and cost less than the storybook spread. Instead of roasting a turkey, grill turkey burgers. Knead fresh tarragon into the patties, and finish them off with a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved condiment: cranberry ketchup, a combination of cranberry chutney and tomato ketchup [source: Huffington Post]. Instead of Champagne, serve cranberry-sparkling water spritzers, or make a root beer float with pumpkin-flavored ice cream.

Add More Décor -- Nothing sets the occasion quite like an enchanting dinner table. You don't have to spend a fortune at the florist to create an autumnal wonderland rather, collect natural elements from your backyard for free, fresh décor. For the centerpiece, fill a vase halfway with acorns, then arrange willow branches, sturdy sticks and gold and red leaves to cascade over the top. Make place cards with tiny squares of ivory card stock secured to pinecones. Light a few taper candles, and the dining room will be aglow with the magic of the holidays.

Tell Guests It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Side) -- As long as you let guests know well in advance, they won't mind bringing something to dinner. You can focus on the bird and assign the starches, vegetables, cranberries and dessert to friends and family. This way, you can put a little extra toward your wine budget.

Be a Discerning Host -- If money is tight, you don't have to be the hostess with the mostest -- it's better to be a discerning host. Make thoughtful, smart choices about your dinner spread while keeping your guests' tastes and your financial means in mind. For instance, if your crowd prefers white meat, purchase a smaller, less expensive turkey breast. Perhaps a full dinner isn't an option this year. You could always host a morning brunch. A few pastries, quiches and mimosas will hold over your friends and family until they're off to their dinner celebrations. Or, throw an after-dinner soiree: Put on a pot of coffee, mix up a signature cocktail and arrange petit fours, fresh fruit and cheese on a tray. You'll close out turkey day with style and panache!


Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget 101

The holiday season is all about excess. But in this financial climate, simple meals and décor can seem tastefully elegant instead of Dickensian. This year, it's de rigueur to forgo the fancy spread and get back to basics. Here's how:

Plan Ahead -- Open your day planner and circle Nov. 1 with a red pen. This is when you should start planning your menu. The turkey will account for nearly 40 percent of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner [source: All Recipes]. Buy it early, and get a frozen bird -- it'll store easier, defrost better and roast up juicier. A week before Thanksgiving, commit an afternoon to prep work. Tear up bread for stuffing, mix dough for pie crusts and dinner rolls, and simmer chicken to make stock. Plan your shopping excursion on double-coupon day, and take careful inventory of your pantry so you don't buy unnecessary items.

Stick to the Classics -- Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with unusual dishes or recipes that exceed your skill level. You've got a hungry crowd waiting, and they'll expect traditional dishes. When that clove-studded, orange-infused turkey falls flat, you'll have to tack on another $20 to your budget to cover Chinese takeout for your hungry guests. You really can't go wrong with a classic menu of roast turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie [source: Martha Stewart]. As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the fewest ingredients and steps to save money and time.

Deviate from the Classics -- An untraditional Thanksgiving dinner can make a chic culinary statement and cost less than the storybook spread. Instead of roasting a turkey, grill turkey burgers. Knead fresh tarragon into the patties, and finish them off with a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved condiment: cranberry ketchup, a combination of cranberry chutney and tomato ketchup [source: Huffington Post]. Instead of Champagne, serve cranberry-sparkling water spritzers, or make a root beer float with pumpkin-flavored ice cream.

Add More Décor -- Nothing sets the occasion quite like an enchanting dinner table. You don't have to spend a fortune at the florist to create an autumnal wonderland rather, collect natural elements from your backyard for free, fresh décor. For the centerpiece, fill a vase halfway with acorns, then arrange willow branches, sturdy sticks and gold and red leaves to cascade over the top. Make place cards with tiny squares of ivory card stock secured to pinecones. Light a few taper candles, and the dining room will be aglow with the magic of the holidays.

Tell Guests It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Side) -- As long as you let guests know well in advance, they won't mind bringing something to dinner. You can focus on the bird and assign the starches, vegetables, cranberries and dessert to friends and family. This way, you can put a little extra toward your wine budget.

Be a Discerning Host -- If money is tight, you don't have to be the hostess with the mostest -- it's better to be a discerning host. Make thoughtful, smart choices about your dinner spread while keeping your guests' tastes and your financial means in mind. For instance, if your crowd prefers white meat, purchase a smaller, less expensive turkey breast. Perhaps a full dinner isn't an option this year. You could always host a morning brunch. A few pastries, quiches and mimosas will hold over your friends and family until they're off to their dinner celebrations. Or, throw an after-dinner soiree: Put on a pot of coffee, mix up a signature cocktail and arrange petit fours, fresh fruit and cheese on a tray. You'll close out turkey day with style and panache!


Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget 101

The holiday season is all about excess. But in this financial climate, simple meals and décor can seem tastefully elegant instead of Dickensian. This year, it's de rigueur to forgo the fancy spread and get back to basics. Here's how:

Plan Ahead -- Open your day planner and circle Nov. 1 with a red pen. This is when you should start planning your menu. The turkey will account for nearly 40 percent of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner [source: All Recipes]. Buy it early, and get a frozen bird -- it'll store easier, defrost better and roast up juicier. A week before Thanksgiving, commit an afternoon to prep work. Tear up bread for stuffing, mix dough for pie crusts and dinner rolls, and simmer chicken to make stock. Plan your shopping excursion on double-coupon day, and take careful inventory of your pantry so you don't buy unnecessary items.

Stick to the Classics -- Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with unusual dishes or recipes that exceed your skill level. You've got a hungry crowd waiting, and they'll expect traditional dishes. When that clove-studded, orange-infused turkey falls flat, you'll have to tack on another $20 to your budget to cover Chinese takeout for your hungry guests. You really can't go wrong with a classic menu of roast turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie [source: Martha Stewart]. As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the fewest ingredients and steps to save money and time.

Deviate from the Classics -- An untraditional Thanksgiving dinner can make a chic culinary statement and cost less than the storybook spread. Instead of roasting a turkey, grill turkey burgers. Knead fresh tarragon into the patties, and finish them off with a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved condiment: cranberry ketchup, a combination of cranberry chutney and tomato ketchup [source: Huffington Post]. Instead of Champagne, serve cranberry-sparkling water spritzers, or make a root beer float with pumpkin-flavored ice cream.

Add More Décor -- Nothing sets the occasion quite like an enchanting dinner table. You don't have to spend a fortune at the florist to create an autumnal wonderland rather, collect natural elements from your backyard for free, fresh décor. For the centerpiece, fill a vase halfway with acorns, then arrange willow branches, sturdy sticks and gold and red leaves to cascade over the top. Make place cards with tiny squares of ivory card stock secured to pinecones. Light a few taper candles, and the dining room will be aglow with the magic of the holidays.

Tell Guests It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Side) -- As long as you let guests know well in advance, they won't mind bringing something to dinner. You can focus on the bird and assign the starches, vegetables, cranberries and dessert to friends and family. This way, you can put a little extra toward your wine budget.

Be a Discerning Host -- If money is tight, you don't have to be the hostess with the mostest -- it's better to be a discerning host. Make thoughtful, smart choices about your dinner spread while keeping your guests' tastes and your financial means in mind. For instance, if your crowd prefers white meat, purchase a smaller, less expensive turkey breast. Perhaps a full dinner isn't an option this year. You could always host a morning brunch. A few pastries, quiches and mimosas will hold over your friends and family until they're off to their dinner celebrations. Or, throw an after-dinner soiree: Put on a pot of coffee, mix up a signature cocktail and arrange petit fours, fresh fruit and cheese on a tray. You'll close out turkey day with style and panache!


Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget 101

The holiday season is all about excess. But in this financial climate, simple meals and décor can seem tastefully elegant instead of Dickensian. This year, it's de rigueur to forgo the fancy spread and get back to basics. Here's how:

Plan Ahead -- Open your day planner and circle Nov. 1 with a red pen. This is when you should start planning your menu. The turkey will account for nearly 40 percent of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner [source: All Recipes]. Buy it early, and get a frozen bird -- it'll store easier, defrost better and roast up juicier. A week before Thanksgiving, commit an afternoon to prep work. Tear up bread for stuffing, mix dough for pie crusts and dinner rolls, and simmer chicken to make stock. Plan your shopping excursion on double-coupon day, and take careful inventory of your pantry so you don't buy unnecessary items.

Stick to the Classics -- Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with unusual dishes or recipes that exceed your skill level. You've got a hungry crowd waiting, and they'll expect traditional dishes. When that clove-studded, orange-infused turkey falls flat, you'll have to tack on another $20 to your budget to cover Chinese takeout for your hungry guests. You really can't go wrong with a classic menu of roast turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie [source: Martha Stewart]. As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the fewest ingredients and steps to save money and time.

Deviate from the Classics -- An untraditional Thanksgiving dinner can make a chic culinary statement and cost less than the storybook spread. Instead of roasting a turkey, grill turkey burgers. Knead fresh tarragon into the patties, and finish them off with a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved condiment: cranberry ketchup, a combination of cranberry chutney and tomato ketchup [source: Huffington Post]. Instead of Champagne, serve cranberry-sparkling water spritzers, or make a root beer float with pumpkin-flavored ice cream.

Add More Décor -- Nothing sets the occasion quite like an enchanting dinner table. You don't have to spend a fortune at the florist to create an autumnal wonderland rather, collect natural elements from your backyard for free, fresh décor. For the centerpiece, fill a vase halfway with acorns, then arrange willow branches, sturdy sticks and gold and red leaves to cascade over the top. Make place cards with tiny squares of ivory card stock secured to pinecones. Light a few taper candles, and the dining room will be aglow with the magic of the holidays.

Tell Guests It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Side) -- As long as you let guests know well in advance, they won't mind bringing something to dinner. You can focus on the bird and assign the starches, vegetables, cranberries and dessert to friends and family. This way, you can put a little extra toward your wine budget.

Be a Discerning Host -- If money is tight, you don't have to be the hostess with the mostest -- it's better to be a discerning host. Make thoughtful, smart choices about your dinner spread while keeping your guests' tastes and your financial means in mind. For instance, if your crowd prefers white meat, purchase a smaller, less expensive turkey breast. Perhaps a full dinner isn't an option this year. You could always host a morning brunch. A few pastries, quiches and mimosas will hold over your friends and family until they're off to their dinner celebrations. Or, throw an after-dinner soiree: Put on a pot of coffee, mix up a signature cocktail and arrange petit fours, fresh fruit and cheese on a tray. You'll close out turkey day with style and panache!


Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget 101

The holiday season is all about excess. But in this financial climate, simple meals and décor can seem tastefully elegant instead of Dickensian. This year, it's de rigueur to forgo the fancy spread and get back to basics. Here's how:

Plan Ahead -- Open your day planner and circle Nov. 1 with a red pen. This is when you should start planning your menu. The turkey will account for nearly 40 percent of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner [source: All Recipes]. Buy it early, and get a frozen bird -- it'll store easier, defrost better and roast up juicier. A week before Thanksgiving, commit an afternoon to prep work. Tear up bread for stuffing, mix dough for pie crusts and dinner rolls, and simmer chicken to make stock. Plan your shopping excursion on double-coupon day, and take careful inventory of your pantry so you don't buy unnecessary items.

Stick to the Classics -- Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with unusual dishes or recipes that exceed your skill level. You've got a hungry crowd waiting, and they'll expect traditional dishes. When that clove-studded, orange-infused turkey falls flat, you'll have to tack on another $20 to your budget to cover Chinese takeout for your hungry guests. You really can't go wrong with a classic menu of roast turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie [source: Martha Stewart]. As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the fewest ingredients and steps to save money and time.

Deviate from the Classics -- An untraditional Thanksgiving dinner can make a chic culinary statement and cost less than the storybook spread. Instead of roasting a turkey, grill turkey burgers. Knead fresh tarragon into the patties, and finish them off with a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved condiment: cranberry ketchup, a combination of cranberry chutney and tomato ketchup [source: Huffington Post]. Instead of Champagne, serve cranberry-sparkling water spritzers, or make a root beer float with pumpkin-flavored ice cream.

Add More Décor -- Nothing sets the occasion quite like an enchanting dinner table. You don't have to spend a fortune at the florist to create an autumnal wonderland rather, collect natural elements from your backyard for free, fresh décor. For the centerpiece, fill a vase halfway with acorns, then arrange willow branches, sturdy sticks and gold and red leaves to cascade over the top. Make place cards with tiny squares of ivory card stock secured to pinecones. Light a few taper candles, and the dining room will be aglow with the magic of the holidays.

Tell Guests It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Side) -- As long as you let guests know well in advance, they won't mind bringing something to dinner. You can focus on the bird and assign the starches, vegetables, cranberries and dessert to friends and family. This way, you can put a little extra toward your wine budget.

Be a Discerning Host -- If money is tight, you don't have to be the hostess with the mostest -- it's better to be a discerning host. Make thoughtful, smart choices about your dinner spread while keeping your guests' tastes and your financial means in mind. For instance, if your crowd prefers white meat, purchase a smaller, less expensive turkey breast. Perhaps a full dinner isn't an option this year. You could always host a morning brunch. A few pastries, quiches and mimosas will hold over your friends and family until they're off to their dinner celebrations. Or, throw an after-dinner soiree: Put on a pot of coffee, mix up a signature cocktail and arrange petit fours, fresh fruit and cheese on a tray. You'll close out turkey day with style and panache!


Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget 101

The holiday season is all about excess. But in this financial climate, simple meals and décor can seem tastefully elegant instead of Dickensian. This year, it's de rigueur to forgo the fancy spread and get back to basics. Here's how:

Plan Ahead -- Open your day planner and circle Nov. 1 with a red pen. This is when you should start planning your menu. The turkey will account for nearly 40 percent of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner [source: All Recipes]. Buy it early, and get a frozen bird -- it'll store easier, defrost better and roast up juicier. A week before Thanksgiving, commit an afternoon to prep work. Tear up bread for stuffing, mix dough for pie crusts and dinner rolls, and simmer chicken to make stock. Plan your shopping excursion on double-coupon day, and take careful inventory of your pantry so you don't buy unnecessary items.

Stick to the Classics -- Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with unusual dishes or recipes that exceed your skill level. You've got a hungry crowd waiting, and they'll expect traditional dishes. When that clove-studded, orange-infused turkey falls flat, you'll have to tack on another $20 to your budget to cover Chinese takeout for your hungry guests. You really can't go wrong with a classic menu of roast turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie [source: Martha Stewart]. As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the fewest ingredients and steps to save money and time.

Deviate from the Classics -- An untraditional Thanksgiving dinner can make a chic culinary statement and cost less than the storybook spread. Instead of roasting a turkey, grill turkey burgers. Knead fresh tarragon into the patties, and finish them off with a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved condiment: cranberry ketchup, a combination of cranberry chutney and tomato ketchup [source: Huffington Post]. Instead of Champagne, serve cranberry-sparkling water spritzers, or make a root beer float with pumpkin-flavored ice cream.

Add More Décor -- Nothing sets the occasion quite like an enchanting dinner table. You don't have to spend a fortune at the florist to create an autumnal wonderland rather, collect natural elements from your backyard for free, fresh décor. For the centerpiece, fill a vase halfway with acorns, then arrange willow branches, sturdy sticks and gold and red leaves to cascade over the top. Make place cards with tiny squares of ivory card stock secured to pinecones. Light a few taper candles, and the dining room will be aglow with the magic of the holidays.

Tell Guests It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Side) -- As long as you let guests know well in advance, they won't mind bringing something to dinner. You can focus on the bird and assign the starches, vegetables, cranberries and dessert to friends and family. This way, you can put a little extra toward your wine budget.

Be a Discerning Host -- If money is tight, you don't have to be the hostess with the mostest -- it's better to be a discerning host. Make thoughtful, smart choices about your dinner spread while keeping your guests' tastes and your financial means in mind. For instance, if your crowd prefers white meat, purchase a smaller, less expensive turkey breast. Perhaps a full dinner isn't an option this year. You could always host a morning brunch. A few pastries, quiches and mimosas will hold over your friends and family until they're off to their dinner celebrations. Or, throw an after-dinner soiree: Put on a pot of coffee, mix up a signature cocktail and arrange petit fours, fresh fruit and cheese on a tray. You'll close out turkey day with style and panache!


Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget 101

The holiday season is all about excess. But in this financial climate, simple meals and décor can seem tastefully elegant instead of Dickensian. This year, it's de rigueur to forgo the fancy spread and get back to basics. Here's how:

Plan Ahead -- Open your day planner and circle Nov. 1 with a red pen. This is when you should start planning your menu. The turkey will account for nearly 40 percent of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner [source: All Recipes]. Buy it early, and get a frozen bird -- it'll store easier, defrost better and roast up juicier. A week before Thanksgiving, commit an afternoon to prep work. Tear up bread for stuffing, mix dough for pie crusts and dinner rolls, and simmer chicken to make stock. Plan your shopping excursion on double-coupon day, and take careful inventory of your pantry so you don't buy unnecessary items.

Stick to the Classics -- Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with unusual dishes or recipes that exceed your skill level. You've got a hungry crowd waiting, and they'll expect traditional dishes. When that clove-studded, orange-infused turkey falls flat, you'll have to tack on another $20 to your budget to cover Chinese takeout for your hungry guests. You really can't go wrong with a classic menu of roast turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie [source: Martha Stewart]. As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the fewest ingredients and steps to save money and time.

Deviate from the Classics -- An untraditional Thanksgiving dinner can make a chic culinary statement and cost less than the storybook spread. Instead of roasting a turkey, grill turkey burgers. Knead fresh tarragon into the patties, and finish them off with a Gwyneth Paltrow-approved condiment: cranberry ketchup, a combination of cranberry chutney and tomato ketchup [source: Huffington Post]. Instead of Champagne, serve cranberry-sparkling water spritzers, or make a root beer float with pumpkin-flavored ice cream.

Add More Décor -- Nothing sets the occasion quite like an enchanting dinner table. You don't have to spend a fortune at the florist to create an autumnal wonderland rather, collect natural elements from your backyard for free, fresh décor. For the centerpiece, fill a vase halfway with acorns, then arrange willow branches, sturdy sticks and gold and red leaves to cascade over the top. Make place cards with tiny squares of ivory card stock secured to pinecones. Light a few taper candles, and the dining room will be aglow with the magic of the holidays.

Tell Guests It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Side) -- As long as you let guests know well in advance, they won't mind bringing something to dinner. You can focus on the bird and assign the starches, vegetables, cranberries and dessert to friends and family. This way, you can put a little extra toward your wine budget.

Be a Discerning Host -- If money is tight, you don't have to be the hostess with the mostest -- it's better to be a discerning host. Make thoughtful, smart choices about your dinner spread while keeping your guests' tastes and your financial means in mind. For instance, if your crowd prefers white meat, purchase a smaller, less expensive turkey breast. Perhaps a full dinner isn't an option this year. You could always host a morning brunch. A few pastries, quiches and mimosas will hold over your friends and family until they're off to their dinner celebrations. Or, throw an after-dinner soiree: Put on a pot of coffee, mix up a signature cocktail and arrange petit fours, fresh fruit and cheese on a tray. You'll close out turkey day with style and panache!



Comments:

  1. Garnet

    It's just an excellent idea

  2. Sorrell

    What an attractive answer is

  3. Zolokinos

    I am sure that you are mistaken.



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