Thanksgiving on a Budget? You Can Do It with These 10 Impressive and Affordable Dishes

The Thanksgiving holiday is a time to count your blessings and enjoy the company of the people you love most. But a Thanksgiving feast doesn't always take it easy on your wallet. From the main course to all the trimmings, and of course, dessert, the cost of Thanksgiving can be costly. But impressing your guests this holiday season doesn't have to break the bank. Here are 10 recipes you can try this Thanksgiving to save some money and get back to enjoying the most important parts of the holiday season.

1. Roasted Chicken

Whole chickens tend to be more affordable than turkey, especially during the Thanksgiving season. Roasted chicken can be personalized to your taste, but here are a few basic (and affordable) instructions:

  • Use salt & pepper, onion powder, and butter to coat the outside of the bird.
  • Add onions and celery stalk to the inside of the chicken (giblets removed).
  • Cook your chicken in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F, for 20 minutes per pound.
  • Once your chicken is cooked, let it rest (covered with foil) for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Tip: You may also add items like sliced lemons or oranges to the inside of your bird before cooking, for a different aroma and flavor.

2. Mashed Potatoes

For classic mashed potatoes, all you need is potatoes, salt & pepper, milk, and butter.

  • Peel and quarter potatoes, and cook them in boiling water for 15 minutes (or until tender).
  • Drain potatoes and mash them gently.
  • Add in 1 cup milk and 2 tablespoons butter for every 2 pounds of potatoes you cook. Blend well.

3. Classic Stuffing

  • The night before cooking, break 3-4 loaves of white bread into small pieces and leave them to sit overnight and dry out.
  • On the day of cooking, use your giblets and about 1 quart of water to make a broth. Set broth aside and saute some butter and minced onions and celery in a separate pan.
  • Add both mixtures to the bread, in oven-safe pans, until the bread is just sticking together. Cook in a preheated oven, at 350 degrees F, for about 45 minutes. The stuffing should have a brown crust on top when it is done.

4. Green Bean and Bacon Bundles

  • Wash 1-3 pounds of fresh green beans (depending on guest size).
  • Make small bundles of green beans and wrap with 1 piece of thin, sliced bacon.
  • Continue making bundles with green beans and bacon, using a toothpick to hold it together if necessary.
  • Place on coated baking sheet and top with salt & pepper and 2 cloves of garlic. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
  • For some added flavor, top the finished bundles with a mixture of melted butter, brown sugar, and a little garlic.

5. Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

  • Peel, cut, and layer sweet potatoes in a casserole dish. Cover with butter (diced) and sprinkle with some brown sugar.
  • Cook at 400 degrees for 25-40 minutes. The potatoes should be tender and soft.
  • Take the dish out, cover with marshmallows, and return to oven until the marshmallows are melted.

6. Cranberry Sauce

Depending on the size of your guest list (and love for cranberry sauce), you may want to double or even triple this recipe:

  • Mix together 1/2 pound cranberries, 1 cup white sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Cover bowl with wax paper and microwave until the cranberries pop (about 7 minutes).
  • Chill in the refrigerator until serving time.

7. Roasted Butternut Squash

  • Take 1 large butternut squash and peel, seed, and cube it.
  • Toss the squash in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper.
  • Cook on a pan for 30-45 minutes, at 375 degrees F, or until lightly browned.

8. Holiday Punch

Looking for a drink that will impress, but won't cost you a ton of money? Look no further.

  • Blend 1 can (16 ounces) cranberry sauce in a blender until smooth. Add in 3/4 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup lemon juice and blend until smooth.
  • Put this mixture in a pitcher and add 2 cups of ice. Then, slowly pour in about 3 1/2 cups ginger ale (chilled) and stir.

9. Cornbread Muffins

This recipe makes 12 muffins and can easily be done the day before guests arrive.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with paper liners (or spray with non-stick spray).
  • In a bowl, beat 2 large eggs and then whisk in 2 tablespoons honey and 3/4 cup milk. In a larger bowl, mix together 1 1/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal, 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Add your wet ingredients, as well as 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter, to the dry ingredients.
  • Mix all ingredients until just blended. Do not over-mix. Spread the mixture evenly into the muffin pan and bake for 17-20 minutes. Tops of muffins should be set and golden colored.

10. Pumpkin Pie

  • Start with a homemade or store-bought pie crust. Place crust into a 9-inch pie pan.
  • Mix together 3/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin, 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk, and 2 eggs (beaten) into a large bowl.
  • Pour contents into prepared pie crust and bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F, for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for another 40-50 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
  • Make sure you cool the pie for at least 2 hours before serving.
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