How To Prepare a Gourmet Thanksgiving Feast on a Tight Budget

Thursday, October 28, 2010

When one thinks of Thanksgiving, the traditional feast is most likely the first thing that comes to mind. From the delicious mashed potatoes to the giant stuffed turkey, from the cranberry sauce to the green bean casserole, the traditional ideas of what foods are to be served at Thanksgiving are rather engrained into our heads. Unfortunately, preparing all of those pots of food is not only time-consuming, but can cost your wallet a pretty penny.

Thankfully, all hope is not lost, as throwing a Thanksgiving dinner doesn't have to be a cost-prohibitive affair. Regardless of whether you're on a tight budget, or simply hoping to reign in some of the unnecessary expenditures that often accompany the Thanksgiving holiday, saving money on the meal is rather easy to do. You may even find that a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner spices up things in your kitchen!

While many people are hesitant to serve something other than the traditional bird and stuffing, the entire point of this holiday is to focus on giving and sharing with those around you. Your friends and family may expect you to serve turkey, but why not mix it up this year? Have you ever shared a Thanksgiving feast around a freshly-baked pizza? Maybe this year could be a “Tex-Mex” themed buffet? By using your creativity, you could theoretically make this Thanksgiving meal an absolutely unforgettable day for everyone, while saving your cash.

If you're dead set on serving the traditional Thanksgiving foods, why not consider asking your friends and family to pitch in? Most guests generally inquire as to whether they can bring anything along anyhow, so why not take advantage of their offer and assign each guest a dish to bring? You can take care of roasting the turkey, while the other guests at your meal bring a side dish or dessert. If you do decide to go this route, consider assigning specific dishes to each person, as to avoid five different green bean casseroles showing up on Thanksgiving, and not a single pumpkin pie.

Should you feel uncomfortable about asking others to pitch in, you'll need to whittle your menu down to make things more simple. There are tons of different dishes that are associated with Thanksgiving, but you are not obligated to serve every one of them. Choose to serve one protein, two side dishes and dessert, and call it a day. So long as potatoes and turkey are on your guests plates, they likely won't even notice anything else is missing.

Remember to make your own dishes, rather than purchasing them prepared, as you'll save yourself the wasted money, and likely end up with a better dish. Furthermore, for savings on the basic ingredients, farmers markets and local stores often offer better deals than the big-box supermarket chains. Regardless of what foods end up on your final table, the most important thing is that you will be spending time with those you love. Truly, what could make for a nicer Thanksgiving than that?

Kyle Simpson writes for PhD Degree where you can find information about various online colleges and find the school and program that is right for you.

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