Cooking On A Budget: Affordable Holiday Menu

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Affordable Holiday Menu

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Not long ago I was asked by a member of my Facebook audience to help out with some holiday options that were inexpensive. She asked me to include snacks, main course and dessert. I am so honored when people ask me for help with their menus and budgets.
This menu was designed to give you a really good, nice and somewhat elegant meal from start to finish. I have included recipes that won't break the bank. Choose some of it or all of it and I am sure that your family and guests will think it simply splendid.

Each of these recipes cost was figured based on the ingredients I purchased and quite a few of the ingredients I had shopped wisely for and pick them up on sale. Every recipe represented in the post came to $60.48. Now you may be making more of the main dish or the Easy Bacon Cheddar Dip so the cost will rise. However I myself was amazed at what you can do for not a lot of money.

It was suggested that you could replace the puff pastry for the chicken wellington's with crescent rolls. Personally I like the finish of the puff pastry and the FLAVOR. I would not substitute, but of course if you choose to try it that way, go for it. The other benefit of purchasing the pastry is that if you only need the four portions then you can use the other sheet for a dessert. That is why I included the Easy Peach Pastries in the menu.


Appetizers: 
An easy and delicious appetizer that isn't really expensive are my Stuffed Button Mushrooms. A very popular treat for snacking before dinner. Our store has been offering mushrooms on sale for $1.00 a box or 2 for $5.00 as of late. So really it can be a very economical appetizer. I also have another stuffed mushroom recipe on the blog. Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms and they are delicious as well.
Serve my Easy Hot Bacon Cheddar Dip with crackers of your choice or chunks of bread or bread sticks. You don't use tons of bacon in the dish therefore it is economical as you can use the remaining bacon for another recipe.

Starter Course:
 Curried Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup cost $5.77 to make. If you have china dishes, a great way to serve this is in the tea/coffee cups. It’s a wet your whistle and prelude to the rest of the meal. Plus the soup is filling so you don't want to fill your guests up before the main meal starts.

An alternative starter course would be a salad. You can use any combination of greens and vegetables you prefer. You need a good home made dressing though. One that is special and delicious. My recipe for Thousand Island Dressing is superb.
Main Course:
One of my newest recipes is Chicken Wellington’s and for four portions cost $8.42. For double it would still be less than $20.00. Not only is this really delicious and affordable, it looks elegant which makes it perfect for an entertaining type dinner.

Side Dishes:
This is a really tasty side dish. Broccoli and Cheese Casserole is not all that expensive to make and it will go great with the Chicken Wellingtons.
Another side which would be a starch that goes well with the Chicken Wellingtons is my Homestyle Rice A Roni recipe. It’s so good, so easy and makes quite a bit. Recipe can be doubled if need be.
As an alternate vegetable or an additional one, Sweet Baby Peas and Caramelized Onions is so delicious and basically it’s using frozen baby peas and frozen pearl onions, a little butter and a little chicken broth!
The last side option which is always on the cheaper side is cutting up fresh carrots, boiling them in salted water, drain add butter and a little bit of brown sugar and mix well over very low heat and you have a nice bright vegetable that will also get along just fine with the chicken wellingtons.

Desserts:
Since you are buying puff pastry for the wellingtons, pick up an extra box to make some desserts. You can Google “desserts that use puff pastry” for ideas or make these that I just finished and published.  The recipe is called Easy Peach Pastries. You can substitute canned pears in this dessert as well.
Another dessert I created for cheap, cheap and it is so very good is Chocolate, Chocolate Cream Pie. The chocolate crust is rich and decadent and it's simply filled with a box mix pudding recipe. Easy, peasy and delicious.


I sincerely hope that you enjoy this menu and implement some, if not all of it for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner. It doesn't all have to be turkey, ham or roasted beef!
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