The recent Consumer Price Index report shows that food prices have risen by 11.4% from August 2021 to 2022. Almost all food items are now more expensive than they were a year ago. It, unfortunately, means trouble for people planning to cook for thanksgiving.
If you are hosting people in your home this year, you may have to spend more on food and drinks because of inflation. It can be discouraging, but it does not mean you should cancel your dinner plans.
As the host, you should adapt and find creative ways to feed your guests on a budget. There are affordable ways to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. You will save money, and your friends and family will be happy. Therefore, if you are keen on savings, explore the following tips.
Budget Thanksgiving Ideas
Stale bread stuffing
Stuffing helps to fill up the table and the turkey. If you are on a budget, you can skip buying the main ingredient by saving up a couple of weeks in advance.
Save the stale bread from loaves and store them in the freezer. Then when it is time to cook, you can thaw and chop them for preparation. A little chicken broth, butter, onion, and celery will make the stuffing delicious and worthy of your table.
Chicken instead of turkey
The meat will probably be the most expensive thing on your shopping list. If you love the traditional whole turkey but are on a limited budget, be more open-minded and get a chicken instead.
Chicken is more affordable and convenient. It is even a practical choice if you are hosting a few people and if you have many side dishes and table fillers. You can prepare the chicken as you would the turkey or seek more creative recipes. Chicken does not need a lot of additives; just make sure it is seasoned and juicy.
Roasted turkey pieces
Another alternative to buying a whole turkey is getting choice cuts of the bird. Purchasing a whole turkey can get pretty expensive, especially around Thanksgiving time. Therefore, you should consider alternatives such as getting a few pieces.
You can get turkey breasts for each of your guests. It will be affordable and practical, plus it will help avoid wastage. Similarly, you will save time in cooking and preparation. You can use a simple rub of olive oil, salt, and pepper to prevent using more ingredients. It is simple but will be amazingly flavorful.
Roasted sweet potatoes
This year, you can skip the candied yams and do something simpler and more affordable. Roasted sweet potatoes are a cheaper alternative; they come together quickly, saving you time.
Just peel and chop the sweet potatoes into cubes. Then toss them in olive oil, salt, cinnamon, and a little honey. This powerful but simple combination gives sweet potatoes a tasty flavor. Bake them in a hot oven and sprinkle a little pepper on top.
If you often make two types of rolls, you will want to narrow it down to one. In addition, you are better off baking them yourself to save costs.
You will need water, milk, butter, honey, yeast, and flour. To save time, you can try the 1-hour cooking method where you mix the butter with honey, milk, and water, then heat it in intervals until the butter melts.
Then, you can sprinkle yeast on top of the heated mixture and let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes. From here, you can add flour and salt before kneading and baking to produce soft, buttery, affordable dinner rolls.
Cornbread is more affordable if you make it from scratch. And this year, you can switch it up by making cornbread muffins instead of a loaf.
Prepare the mixture as you would, but bake it in a muffin tin instead. Making muffins makes it easier to share the cornbread and releases you from the nightmare of cleaning up crumbs. In addition, you can make just enough since it will be easier to count. You will avoid wastage in the process.
Canned pumpkin pie
It would not be thanksgiving without some fall-inspired pumpkin dessert. The key to providing an affordable dessert is making it yourself. Yes, you can make the pumpkin pie yourself!
The secret is to purchase canned pinking or pumpkin puree to make the pie. Buying fresh pumpkins, even in pieces, can be costly, but canned produce is cheaper. So get the canned pumpkin, skip the pecans, and you have a lovely dessert. Another excellent tip would be to make the pie on a baking sheet for more even distribution.
You can stretch a bottle of wine by making sangria. Making sangria is affordable since you can use seasonal flavors and fruits combined into a delicious punch. For example, you can spice the punch with cinnamon and add chopped apples, pumpkin or apple cider, and some orange juice.
Some people also put in raspberries or raspberry-flavored drinks to improve the flavor. Club soda and sliced oranges also do well. Cover and refrigerate for four hours, maximum of two days, before serving.
Unfortunately, there is no going around mashed potatoes. Potatoes are the dish’s main ingredient, and substitutes are not practical and probably not as tasty.
But you can mash your potatoes more affordably using milk instead of heavy cream and butter. Use the species you usually would, then mash the potatoes with the milk. Some also add it to the blender to make it smooth and creamy. If you have leftover cheddar, it can improve the taste significantly.
Have a close group of friends with an open mind? Then host a potluck-style dinner. Your group can create a budget where everyone contributes a dish for dinner. It is more affordable and a way for everyone to taste a unique cooking style. In addition, it means lesser chances of wastage.
Thanksgiving should be fun and affordable.
You can plan a dinner that fits into your budget with these tips. Remember that flexibility is the key to success. You may be putting some traditions on the shelf for now, but it does not mean that your dinner will not be as enjoyable and flavorful.