$10 Anytime Holiday Dinner

10-dinner.jpgThese meals are intended to be a relatively simple and healthy weeknight meal for a family of four. We assume that these dinners are being made in a kitchen stocked with regular kitchen staples. We will not include prices of oil, sugar, flour, spices, etc. unless you need a 1/4 cup or more. Regional food prices may vary and can be reduced by smart shopping techniques.

Shopping List


2 cups fresh bread crumbs*$.60
1 stalk celery, chopped$.10
1 small onion, chopped$.25
1 clove garlic, minced$.10
1/2 tsp. ground sage$.05
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram.05
1/2 tsp. salt/td>$.05
1 egg$.10
1/4 cup hot waterPretty much free
Total Cost for Stuffing = $1.35

*Make fresh bread crumbs by using 6 sliced of whole wheat bread.


4 Turkey legs, purchased on sale at .88/lb$2.70
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter$.15
2 crushed chicken bouillon cubes$.10
Total Cost for Turkey = $2.95

Green Bean Casserole

2 Tbsp. olive oil$.10
1 small onion, finely chopped$.10
1 small can mushrooms (or fresh)$.40
1 clove garlic, minced$.10
1/4 cup all purpose flour$.10
2 cups milk.50
1 tsp. pepper/td>$.05
1/4 tsp. salt$.05
1 16 oz package frozen green beans$1.00
Total Cost for Green Bean Casserole = $2.70

*You can use whatever you want for a topping: bread crumbs, crushed ritz crackers, crushed cornflakes, parmesan cheese, fried onions-the possibilities are endless!


1/2 head of healthy lettuce* $.75
1/2 10 oz. package of fresh spinach$1.00
1 tomato$.50
Salad dressing$.75
Total Cost for Salad = $3.00

*Healthy lettuce would be romaine, green leaf, or red leaf - not iceberg, it's mostly water.

Total Cost

$1.35 + $2.95 + $2.70 + $3.00 = $10.00 exactly


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

First make the stuffing. In a medium bowl, mix the bread, celery, onion, garlic, sage, marjoram, salt, and pepper. Stir in the egg and just enough hot water to moisten.

Next, prepare the turkey legs. Arrange the turkey legs around the perimeter of a large baking dish and sprinkle the crushed chicken bouillon cubes over top. Place the stuffing in the middle of the dish. Dot everything with butter. (It would be healthier to use something other than a salty bouillon cube to season the turkey legs, but that's what I had handy when I was making this.) Put the turkey legs and stuffing in the oven, covered, and set the timer for 1 hour.


Now get the salad together. Wash and chop the lettuce and tomato. Place in individual salad bowls with fresh spinach. Place the bowls of salad in the fridge - my favorite way to eat salad is out of a chilled bowl. It's so refreshing and kind of feels like you're at a fancy restaurant.

Finally, prepare the green bean casserole. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until tender and golden. Sprinkle flour over and cook for one minute. Slowly pour in milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil (keep stirring), then cook one minute, until thickened. Stir in the salt and pepper. Spread frozen beans evenly over the bottom of a 2 quart baking dish. Pour sauce over top. Sprinkle with your topping of choice. This needs to bake uncovered for 20 minutes, so put it in the oven when the timer has 20 minutes left.

After you put the green beans in, you can spend the next 20 minutes cleaning up the kitchen, surfing thriftyfun.com, or doing whatever else you need to do before dinner.

When the turkey and stuffing is done, the casserole should be done too, and the salad bowls should be chilled. The turkey needs to reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees, and it probably isn't a bad idea to check the temperature of the stuffing too since it cooks in the same dish.


  • I don"t know how much pumpkin pie filling costs, but I don't think it would cost more than a salad, so you could skip the salad and have dessert instead. Pumpkin pie is probably a relatively healthy dessert.
  • I like shredded cheddar cheese on my salad, so if you want to splurge, you could add that. Another splurge would be to add something to the stuffing-- walnuts or dried cranberries or whatever else you like. If your family isn't crazy about green beans, you could substitute broccoli, or maybe carrots or zucchini.
  • You could make the recipe even thriftier by having 2 people split one turkey leg. The stuffing could be made with those ends of the loaves of bread that nobody wants to eat. I save these in the freezer for this purpose.

By Allison from Northeast TN

Special thanks to Allison for submitting her own $10 dinner idea. We left her pricing the way she wrote it although we usually don't bother pricing spices and other staples. If you have your own favorite cheap and healthy dinner recipe for 4, submit it to us and you may see it posted in a future $10 Dinners.


August 10, 20070 found this helpful

i pay for my water its not free by along shot

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