You could easily spend a small fortune – and maybe even a large – on your holiday food bill. Entertaining your family and friends is fun, but you need not break the budget.
Try the Mr. Cheap Stuff way – check out these ten great ideas for affordable holiday meals.
1. Eggs are perfect for an easy, cheap holiday brunch. Try an omelet, quiche, souffle or frittata – they’re more exciting options than scrambled.
2. Plan ahead by stocking up and freezing foods and using them as needed. Supermarkets every so often have sales on high-ticket items like shrimp or roast beef; buy them when the price per pound is half of the usual cost.
3. For affordable protein anytime, ground meats are a cheaper choice. Meatballs are a fun holiday dish and you can use hamburger or ground turkey depending on your preference.
4. Take advantage of holiday turkey sales. You may even have earned a free turkey if you’re a frequent shopper at your local market. Turkey is a classic holiday dish and also generates lots of leftovers so you get plenty of bang for the buck.
5. Browse through supermarket ads. Not much of a planner? No problem. Just check out this week’s supermarket sale flyer and allow that to determine your menu. Buy and cook whatever is on sale – whether it’s ham, fish, cheese, whatever.
6. Enjoy in-season apples. Usually, locally grown seasonal apples are the cheapest and you can use apples in salads, in stuffings, for snacks or for an easy dessert – just core, sprinkle with brown sugar, and bake or microwave.
7. Impress your guests with an elegant seasonal soup like this butternut squash soup. Each serving costs under a dollar and it tastes just like it came from a restaurant.
8. Skip meat altogether and make a delicious lasagna. Add salad and garlic bread for a crowd-pleasing meal.
9. Enjoy in-season yams and sweet potatoes; they’re delicious and packed with vitamins. Skip the syrup and roast or bake them for healthier options.
10. Save ahead of time. If you still have your heart set on serving fancy food, you can scrimp to save. If you know you will need to host a large holiday meal, plan to eat cheaper beforehand that week. Have rice, beans, mac & cheese, etc. Don’t eat out for a little while, not even pizza, so you can save up for the splurge.