Are you having guests over for dinner on Thanksgiving? Dreading the extra stress, expense and calories? Here are some helpful ideas.
Do not go overboard with variety. You do not have to have everyone’s favorite holiday food at one meal. Do you serve mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sweet potatoes? Do you serve two meats? Think about eliminating some of the options. With more variety, the more ingredients you will have to buy and store, the more serving and leftover dishes there will be and the more everyone will eat.
Take guests up on their offer to bring something. Be ready with a list of dishes you can have guests bring. Some of your guests would love to show off their cooking skills with a salad or dessert. Others with less time or ability could be asked to bring a dozen rolls from the bakery, a purchased dessert, or some type of beverage.
Simplify your recipes. Every dish does not have to be fancy. I love fresh or frozen green beans with a touch of olive oil more than green bean casserole. I would rather have our Holiday Fruit Salad than a salad with a little fruit and lots of whipped topping or sweetened condensed milk. I also love our Guiltless Pumpkin Pie.
Use some convenience foods. Homemade stuffing will cost less, especially if you save bread crusts or buy your bread at the day old store. However, boxed stuffing is often on sale around the holidays and adding sautéed onions, celery and peppers is always a good substitute.
Know how many people are attending dinner. This is important so you do not end up making too much food and spending extra money. Make only as much as you need for the people that are attending unless you are deliberately planning for leftovers. Here’s a planning guide to get you started
A couple of years ago we planned a dinner using these tips from Healthy Holiday Dinner for 8, including the recipes and shopping list. The cost might be a little more than $30 now, but this holiday meal will not break your budget, make you fat or stressed out.