Tips for a Cheaper Thanksgiving
Know your portions.
It's tempting to have a big, beautiful bird, but it's more sensible
to buy only as much as you'll need for your family. The formula is 1
lb. per person. If you want leftovers, 1.5-2.0 lbs. per person.
Take good care of the bird right after dinner.
If you'll take the time to remove the meat and wrap it carefully in
saran wrap or air-tight containers, it will remain nice and moist
and tempting for the next meals. For the immediate next dinner,
place the turkey in a plastic container, put a piece of waxed paper
and then put some wet paper towels atop that. Keeps it nice and
moist for sandwiches the next night.
Plan your leftovers.
Get those recipes ready. The meal's good just warmed over for the
next night, as long as the gravy holds, but after that there's
Turkey Tetrazzini, turkey soup, turkey hash. Rotate it with other
meals. (Don't refreeze once-frozen turkey.) Tray a variety of
flavors to go with the turkey. T.T. is bland. Try your own version
of Eggs Benedict, using turkey instead of Canadian bacon. The
hollandaise will add a zip. Make King Ranch Chicken (aka Turkey)
with hot sauce. They won't even know it's turkey! End with cold
turkey salad; the mayonnaise will moisten it.
Grocery shop the day after Thanksgiving.
Bargain-o-rama. Have you ever been? Surplus fresh turkeys at pennies
on the dollar, bakery items, breads, fresh yams. Clean out your
freeze and get ready. So ... shop for your Christmas meal the day
Pay for convenience when it counts.
I like to buy throwaway aluminum pans to cook the turkey in. It's
just such a mess to clean up afterwards. My sister buys gravy from
the catering shop; an indulgence, but worth it to her.
Make your own pie crust and bread. Unless you live in sweet potato
country, canned yams or sweet potatoes are a better bet than fresh.
Pre-baked breads are often sacrificed as loss leaders and with the
rest of the spread, people don't really care. Pumpkin filling mix,
often on sale, is cheaper than buying canned pumpkin and adding
evaporated milk and eggs.
Make your own stuffing.
That's never on sale! Start on your stuffing mix now. Easy as pie!
When your load of bread is getting old, put the last pieces on a
cookie sheet and put it in the oven. Warm at 350 for 5 mins., then
turn off. Leave the bread there to dry out. Put into baggies and
save. Keep doing this. If you like cornbread stuffing, start
planning lots of chili and cornbread meals! When it's time to make
the stuffing, crush the dried bread (still in the bag) with a
rolling pin and it'll look and act just like the storebought mix.
Decorations? Festive wear?
If you didn't do it last year, do it this year. Go out the day after
Thanksgiving and pick up all those napkins, tableware, and cute
decorations for a pittance. If you like a holiday sweater or t-
shirt, check those sales out too. And don't let Medison Avenue jerk
you around with the change of color-scheme every year. Choose one
you like and stick with it!
Don't forget about potluck.
Most people who are guests at your table for Thanksgiving, would
actually love to bring something so they feel they've contributed
are are part of the holiday. My daughter-in-law's Mom and Dad have
pecan trees in the back yard, so they always bring the pecan pie,
and what a savings that is!
My grandmother taught me this one. She mashed the potatoes and then
put dollops of butter on top to melt -- for the eye. Splurge maybe
on one item, for instance, some of the stores sell molded butter in
holiday shapes. This can sure dress up the brown'n'bake rolls!
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