Our frugal friends Beth & Katie from 2frugalfoodies wrote this wonderful festive article for us all to make savings over the Christmas feast!
We are so thankful for you. Thank you for joining us on this food adventure and giving yourself the gift of excellent cooking, health and budget!
Since you, our readers are from all over the world, we want to share some commonalities but they are centered around our cuisine as Americans, and specifically Mid Atlantic region (Pennsylvania).
Gearing up to the holidays, be sure to check all the circulars for special sales on meats, if you plan to eat meat for your holiday meal. This is the best way to create a frugal meal- looking forward. Most grocery stores do meat specials leading up the holiday. Katie was able to snag a ribeye roast on sale and has it waiting for her holiday table in the deep freezer. Beth is planning on a holiday ham but hasn’t found the right sale yet. Supermarkets will use these meat sales to attract customers ahead of the holiday. Make sure to know what you are going to buy and stick to your list! Don’t get distracted by all the fancy items set out for the holiday. Plan to buy a larger portion than you planned on at the sale price so you can utilize left overs!
Keeping the cost down
If you are not eating meat OR are looking to keep your meal costs down, consider a vegetarian main like this roasted butternut squash roast stuffed with lentils, cranberries and pistachios or festive beet root and squash tarts with goat cheese. These dishes are full of bright colors which totally fit into the holiday. The reds of the cranberries and beetroot along with a nice balance of flavors that will ensure no one feels they have the “second place” entree.
After you’ve settled on a main dish, it’s time to figure out side dishes. As we have readers from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, we are realizing it’s hard to plan a holiday menu that meets both the Winter and Summer plans. So a few ideas that are good both roasted or on the grill (and knowing our winter, it might be warm enough to grill here soon!). It is easy to get caught up with side dishes that require a ton of ingredients which is how the budget creeps up. We are focusing on some side dishes that are made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts (toss with olive oil, salt and pepper then roast at 400 or grill until the edges of the leaves are charred)
Potatoes (are super cheap) so consider making mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes, or this recipe for smashed potatoes. In this recipe there are some ingredients like Sherry Vinegar and Capers which may not be in your pantry. So look around and subtitute green olives or for the capers and red wine vinegar for sherry).
Green Beans, if fresh are costly, choose frozen French beans which are still lovely and crisp when defrosted. Try cooking up some bacon and then frying the green beans in the pan. Chop up the bacon and sprinkle on top of the green beans for a rich and amazing dish that didn’t use any extra fat for cooking nor waste anything!
Who is hungry for dessert? Frugal husband #2 grew up in Papua New Guinea so his family always makes Pavlova which is popular in New Zealand and Australian. It is a 5 ingredient wonder for the budget but looks extraordinarily fancy for any holiday table. It is often topped with whipped cream. Save yourself some money and make the whipped cream yourself. By buying a pint of whipping cream with a splash of vanilla and tablespoon of powdered sugar. Beating it with egg beaters or electric whisk until soft peaks form.
Southern Hemisphere- top with fresh berries, fresh mint tendrils.
Northern Hemisphere – top with cranberry curd and fresh citrus fruits
**Be sure to save your egg yolks from the Pavlova in order to make eggs Benedict on Christmas morning. We leave no ingredients behind!