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Published November 20, 2011, 11:30 PM

How to cook Thanksgiving for 8 for $40 or less

Looking to save on holiday groceries? Try these on-the-cheap recipes. Each recipe serves eight.

Looking to save on holiday groceries? Try these on-the-cheap recipes. Each recipe serves eight.


Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

¾ cup skim or low-fat milk

Salt and black pepper

1 whole head of garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil

5 pounds potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and cubed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut the top off garlic head exposing tops of the cloves. Place garlic head on a piece of aluminum foil. Pour olive oil on cut edge and sprinkle with thyme. Bunch aluminum foil around head and bake about 45 minutes.

2. Allow garlic to cool slightly, then break into cloves and squeeze each clove to remove soft garlic. Mash on a plate until creamy. Set aside.

3. Bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil and add potatoes. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving some of the water in a separate bowl.

4. Return potatoes to pan and add butter. Warm milk in the microwave for about 1 minute, or warm in a saucepan on top of the stove. Milk may curdle slightly, this is natural.

5. Mash with a potato masher, mixer or grind through a food mill. Add milk and garlic to potatoes. Add some of the hot potato water if potatoes are too stiff. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Total: about $3


Turkey Gravy

2 tablespoon vegetable oil or pan drippings

4 tablespoons flour

3 cups chicken stock

¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper

1. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the flour and stir constantly until the flour has turned dark brown. If the mixture starts to smoke, reduce the heat but continue cooking until a dark color is achieved. The flour mixture should be a tint darker than the desired color of the gravy. The browning will take about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Add the broth or stock all at once and continue to stir until the mixture starts to boil. Reduce heat to low, so gravy continues to simmer slowly for about 14 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add about ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Gravy will thicken as it cools.

Total: about $2


Bread Stuffing On The Side

½ cup finely chopped celery

½ cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or

1½ tablespoons dried parsley

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

4 cups day-old bread cubes

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup chicken or turkey broth

1. Cook celery, onion and parsley in butter over medium heat, until vegetables are soft and tender.

2. Place bread cubes in large bowl and pour in vegetables. Add salt, pepper and broth and mix well. Place in a greased 9x9-inch pan and bake at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes. Cook until stuffing reaches 165°F.

Total: about $4


Fresh Green Bean Sauté

2 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil

2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1. Heat oil in a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat.

2. Add green beans and cook; stir often until seared in spots, about 2–3 minutes.

3. Push beans to the side; add garlic and additional olive oil, if necessary; cook until fragrant, about 20 – 30 seconds.

4. Cover green beans and reduce temperature setting to low.

5. Add ½ cup water, cover and cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes. (If using cookware other than multi-ply stainless steel, cover green beans with water, reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until beans are tender.)

6. Once green beans are cooked, remove from heat; stir in balsamic vinegar.

Total: about $3


Pasta Salad

4 cups cooked pasta

2 cups broccoli florets

2 carrots, sliced thinly

½ green pepper, chopped

½ red onion, chopped

1 15-ounce can beans, drained and rinsed (kidney, garbanzo, etc.)

½ cup reduced fat Italian salad dressing

1. Wash and chop all of the vegetables.

2. Combine all ingredients and mix well.

3. Cover and refrigerate.

4. Toss before serving.

Use any shape of pasta you would like.

Start with about 2 cups uncooked pasta to get 4 cups cooked.

Total: about $5


Magic Fruit Salad

½ pound seedless grapes (about 1½ cups)

1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks with juice

2 bananas

2 kiwi

1¾ cups fat-free milk (skim)

1 4-serving size sugar-free instant lemon or vanilla pudding mix

1. Rinse grapes. If young children will be at dinner cut the grapes in half to prevent choking.

2. Drain juice from pineapple (put in refrigerator to drink later).

3. Peel and slice kiwi.

4. Put grapes, pineapple and kiwi in a large bowl.

5. Peel the banana and cut into bite size pieces.

6. Pour the milk over the fruit. While slowly stirring the fruit mixture, sprinkle in the pudding mix.

7. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes and serve.

Total: about $5


Fresh Baked Wheat Dinner Rolls

Makes 16 rolls

Two loaves frozen stoneground wheat bread dough loaves, thawed (this will take 2-3 hours on the countertop or overnight in the refrigerator)

3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease or spray muffin tins.

3. With scissors or knife, cut each loaf into 24 pieces of dough. Roll the pieces into balls with the flat of your hand.

4. Place three balls of dough in each cup of muffin tin. Brush with melted butter or margarine. Cover loosely with plastic wrap which has been sprayed with cooking spray and put in a warm place.

5. Let rolls rise to double in size, remove plastic wrap, and put them in preheated oven.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

7. Remove the rolls from pan at once and place on a wire rack to cool. Brush tops with melted butter or margarine, if desired.

Total: about $3


Guiltless Pumpkin Pie with Frozen Whipped Topping

2 large eggs

½ cup granulated sugar

1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or ¾ teaspoons each ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

1 5-ounce can evaporated fat free milk (about 2/3 cup)

Low-fat whipped topping and additional ground cinnamon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or spray a 9-inch pie plate; set aside.

2. Place eggs in large bowl, beat with fork or whisk. Add sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir until well mixed.

3. Stir in pumpkin and evaporated milk. Pour into prepared pie plate.

4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes – or until center is set.

5. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time. If desired, add a spoonful of low-fat whipped topping to each serving and sprinkle with additional ground cinnamon.

Total: about $4

Grand Total: $30.74


Source: Iowa State University Extension Service

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