A Frugal but Elegant Thanksgiving

A Frugal but Elegant Thanksgiving
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Thanksgiving Buffet Over years I have had groups of 10-12 over to our house for Thanksgiving and served a nice dinner with all the extras but didn't break my budget. It takes planning and watching the sales early instead of buying everything the week before. Something else that at first I was reluctant to do, is not to turn away help! If one of your guests offers to bring a dish then let them! They will feel good about helping and you will be able to cross something off your list. We have to learn that we can't do it all! I have a set of antique china I picked up for $10.00 at a shop in town. It's wonderful for the holidays and you can add many Victorian touches to your table that are inexpensive. Use doilies, both paper and cloth to accent. If you don't have a punch bowl, borrow one! It's a fun touch and makes everyone feel festive. Have fun and relax with your Holiday meal; your festive attitude will be contagious and your guests will have a great time!

Shopping List

1 12-14 pound turkey (up to 10 people)


fresh or dried thyme leaves

2 boxes cornbread mix

bag of herb/bread stuffing

3 cans chicken broth



3 cans French greens beans

fresh garlic

5 pounds potatoes

Brown and Serve rolls

Large can sweet potatoes or 4 fresh

brown sugar

Roast Turkey

1 12-14 pound turkey

3 tablespoons each melted margarine and oil

3 tsp.. instant chicken bouillon

1 tsp. dried thyme or 1 Tablespoon fresh

1/2 tsp. garlic powder or two crushed cloves

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 cups water

Rinse and stuff turkey if desired. Secure wings and legs. Place on rack in roasting pan . Combine margarine, oil, bouillon and spices. Whisk well. Brush turkey with mixture. Cover top of turkey with foil, removing halfway through cooking. Roast at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, basting every 30 minutes. Add water to pan, and roast 3 hours longer, still basting. Turkey will be done when meat thermometer inserted in thigh registers 180-185 degrees and juices run clear. Transfer to platter, remove stuffing to serving bowl. Turkey should rest about 20 minutes before slicing. Makes about 10 servings.

Family Style Gravy

Drippings from pan

Giblets, neck



3 tablespoons cornstarch

If you wish, you can place giblets and neck from your turkey into a pan with 3 cups water and simmer for about 30 minutes to start your gravy. Remove the giblets and neck from broth. Then add the drippings from the turkey pan. Mix your cornstarch with 1/4 cup water , and add to the saucepan whisking it in. Bring to boil, stirring. Boil about 2 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Optional: you can place a bay leaf and chopped onion in with the giblets. You will also have extra flavor from basting the turkey with your herb mixture above.

Mash Potatoes

5 pounds mashed potatoes

milk or cream


4 tablespoons butter or margarine

Peel your potatoes, cut into chunks and place in large pan, cover with water. (two pans can be used if necessary) Boil until tender when poked with fork; 20-30 minutes. Drain potatoes. Add the butter or margarine, season with salt, Add your milk or cream, as you mix with electric mixer. Start with a cup and add until it is the consistency you desire. Options: You can also mix in sour cream or cream cheese right before the milk, then mix. At the end you can add fresh chives and mix in with a wooden spoon.

Herbed Green Beans

3 cans French style green beans

2 garlic cloves, slivered thinly

2 tablespoons olive oil or margarine

fresh sage, 3-4 leaves (optional)

Other fresh herbs

Heat your green beans until heated through. Drain well. In a large skillet heat oil or margarine. Add garlic and sauté lightly about 2 minutes. At this point you can add the beans and heat through while stirring, then season with salt and pepper. If you have fresh herbs you can chop and add them in for 30 seconds before you add the beans. Sage works well, but so does basil, oregano or thyme. If you don't grow your own herbs, look in the produce section where they may sell bundles of many herbs.

Family Dressing

4 cups crumbled cornbread

3 eggs, beaten

3 1/2 cups herb stuffing

3 cans chicken broth

1 onion, chopped fine

1 cup celery, chopped

1/2 tsp.. pepper

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning

Your cornbread can be made ahead with your favorite recipe or two small boxes of cornbread mix. You may not need it all, but feel free to snack on it! Combine all ingredients. Stuff turkey, or place in greased casserole and bake at 350 degrees 1 hour or until golden

More Holiday Tips

*Visit your bread outlet (many brand name bakeries have these) or a bakery for specials on rolls, bread, heat and serve rolls or stuffing.

*Often you can get great deals on Turkeys at your local grocery store with an extra $10.00 or $20.00 purchase. Watch the ads!

*Look at thrift stores for wicker baskets. You can use hot, soapy water and a stiff brush to clean. Then place paper doilies in basket and use on the table for rolls, breads, silverware, napkins, or you can even place bowls in the larger ones.

*Have extras on hand to place on the table while guests are waiting for dinner. Homemade Quick breads, dips and crackers or even nuts work well.

Back to The Holiday Index!


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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