budget talk

A Budget Savvy Cook Hosts Thanksgiving

Just the thought of preparing Thanksgiving dinner can send most people into a panic. And this year, I’m guessing lots of people are in a panic wondering how much it’s going to cost. Here are some ways to keep the cost down.

Buy A Few Items at a Time
I know a few people who plan their holiday meals in September. I’ve never been that organized, but I have found one way to help lower the cost of a holiday meal (and the sticker shock when I get to the checkout) is to spread the cost over several weeks. Sometimes items like stuffing, cranberry sauce start to go on sale a few weeks before the big event. And as they usually won’t spoil before the big day, that’s when when I stock up.

Test Before
Thanksgiving or any special meal isn’t the time to test drive a new recipe. If you’re going to try a new dish, do it before the big day. And do it on a smaller scale. For example, imagine wasting a dish that serves 10 people because it didn’t turn out very well, as opposed to something that serves just 2.

If you’ve never cooked a turkey before or haven’t had much success, check out this Web site for tips and hints, www.eatturkey.com

One way you can save money is to cut down on the number of appetizers you serve. When you’re going to eat a huge meal, why offer lots of food before you sit down at the table. One thing I like to do is fill martini or margarita glasses with cashews and peanuts or even Chex Party Mix and place them around the room. Give people something to drink and it’s all they really need pre-meal.

I don’t know anyone who can manage to eat dessert straight after they’ve eaten turkey and all the fixings. Sometimes I’ve made two desserts and they’ve gone uneaten because people can’t eat one bite more. A way around that is to make or buy two pies, pumpkin and pecan are my top picks, take a cookie cutter and cut both pies into smaller servings. People seem to think that’s more manageable. And if you put them in a box, it makes a great gift for the guests when they leave.

This time of the year, your own backyard can be the best source of cheap table decorations. Branches and twigs can be placed in the middle of the table. And every time I receive flowers, I keep the card holders. I write each guest’s name on a piece of card and slip it inside and either place it across the plate or slip it into the wine glass. And if you have lots of side dishes, you can use them to put a note on each one so no one takes something they don’t like or can’t eat. This works great for buffets too.

Yes, the dreaded leftovers. Think ahead about what you plan to do with them. And don’t make so much food that people are bored with them by Saturday.

And if you’re looking for some great deals on wines, here are some you might want to try-
Alice White and Rex Goliath which cost between $8-10. The Alice White Red Lexia pairs well with turkey and the Rex Chadonnay is also recommended for the Thanksgiving meal. www.alicewhite.com and www.rexgoliath.com
Another wine that costs under $10 is produced by Redwood Creek www.redwoodcreek.com

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