- Preparing Thanksgiving Dinner -

Thanks for Joining Us Today... 11/4/2021

Hello Neighbor,

The holidays are upon us, and everyone is excited about spending it with family and friends. But, if you are the one hosting your family's holiday traditions this year, you might be wondering how your going to manage, especially when you live the rest of the year on such a tight budget. Well, here are some great tips for hosting your family's low budget thanksgiving menu. The turkey is by far the most expensive part of any Thanksgiving, but start watching your newspaper now. A lot of grocery stores run special on whole turkeys the week before Thanksgiving. If you're smart and shop around, you can find the best price and the best turkey available.


Best Cheat-Sheet for Cooking a Turkey


  • How big of a turkey? This method is best for a 12 to 16 pound bird. (Buy 1 to 1 1/2 pounds turkey for each guest.)
  • How long to cook the turkey? 13 minutes of cooking time for each pound of turkey if roasting empty and 15 minutes per pound if stuffed.
  • What temperature to cook the turkey? Preheat the oven to 450°F then drop the temperature to 350°F after putting the turkey into the oven.
  • What temperature should the turkey be? The turkey is done when it registers a minimum of 165° in the thickest part of the thigh.
  • How long to rest the turkey? Rest the turkey for at least 15 minutes before carving.


You can find delicious and easy recipes online for your side dishes. Mashed potatoes, candied yams, green bean casserole, and even cranberries out of a can are all affordable side dishes that can be made for next to nothing, so don't be afraid to explore your options. For instance, here's an easy to make recipe for candied yams.


Simple Candied Yams Recipe


  1. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into ½ inch thick slices. Place the potatoes into the baking dish and sprinkle with the salt, set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Place on the stove over medium-low heat, stir occasionally. Bring to a simmer, simmer 2 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour mixture over the potatoes making sure all the exposed potatoes are covered in the sauce.
  4. Cover with foil, bake at 350 degrees F 30 minutes. Take the foil off, stir, bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Liquid will thicken as it cools. 


Cooking Tip: The key to this recipe is to let the yams sit for awhile so that sauce can thicken, nothing is worse than runny Candied Sweet Potatoes, although it may sometimes happens.

Don't be afraid to try new things, a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner may be just the way to go. Just because your grandmother labored over things and made everything from scratch doesn't mean that you have too or that it is always the cheapest way to go. For instance, you buy tasty rolls in a bag or frozen at your local grocery store and pop them in the oven for a minute or two to heat them up.


Decorate your home with natural things. A couple of miniature pumpkins and a beautiful mum can be thrown together to make beautiful Autumn centerpieces or you can create a centerpiece using a large hurricane glass and fill it with moss and acorns from your backyard or a near by wooded area. Then you can plant a candle in the center of all of it and Voila! You have a gorgeous centerpiece. You can also use pumpkins and mums to decorate your porch or your guest bathroom, any place that needs a festive touch. Mum and miniature pumpkins are both pretty affordable, especially this time of year, because it's almost too late for the ...


Don't feel like you have to run out and by new china. You can mix and match what you already have and tie all the different pieces together with matching napkins and place mats. This is sure to give your table a festive, yet homey feel. If your family lives close by, a great way to save money is to have everyone bring a side. Tell them you'll provide the turkey and let everyone else bring a side dish or dessert. Be sure to fill them in on how many you're expecting, so that they will be sure to bring enough.


If your budget is really tight, you may consider just spending it with your husband and kids. That way you don't have to go out of your way to make a huge meal, and you might be surprised how much your family would enjoy a quiet Thanksgiving dinner at home. Thanksgiving is about celebrating the blessings we have been given, no matter how tough the economy is making things right now. So, as long as you are doing that, even if it's over pizza, your Thanksgiving on a budget will be everything it's supposed to be.




*Contributing Guest Writer: Jack Chary


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