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Making Smaller Traditional Meals for the Holidays?

With COVID-19 limiting the size of our gatherings - what are some thrifty tips for making smaller size traditional meals and saving money to do so?

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November 16, 20201 found this helpful

Here are a few ways to prepare a scaled-down Thanksgiving meal.
Prepare a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey.
Reduce the number of side dishes you prepare. Just prepare a few of your favorites. Choosing side dishes that are tasty but don't require a lot of ingredients can make the meal less expensive to prepare.
Do the same for desserts. Two or three simple desserts should be sufficient. Once again focus on your family's favorite desserts. You don't have to prepare traditional desserts.
Keeping the menu simple can help on the budget. Check out local grocery store sales when preparing your meal plan.

Keep in mind, there's nothing wrong with breaking tradition. Get creative with your menu. Ordering a Thanksgiving dinner that's just the size you need might actually be less expensive and certainly less work for you than preparing a smaller version of your traditional meal. The main purpose of gathering together is to enjoy each other's company. Consider the food a bonus.

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November 16, 20201 found this helpful

I believe 'scaled down' could mean a lot of different things, especially when it comes to a specific number in a gathering.

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For very small groups I believe the first order of things would be to make a list of favorite foods of the people in the group so when you're making up your menu you'll know what to purchase and maybe just limit each category to what's on your list.
You could think about making a list of meats, vegetables, desserts, drinks, make copies and let each person check off which items they would like.

Not everybody goes with turkey for small gatherings but opt for ham (so many sizes/types available), roast chicken or Cornish hens. A turkey breast may be sufficient but can turn out dry quickly and some people actually prefer the dark meat.
If traditional is the way you wish to go then you might just want to stick with the same size turkey and either let everyone take some home or box what's left for leftovers.

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I just plan to scale everything down and stick with my usual meal.

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November 16, 20200 found this helpful

Great ideas folks. Thanks a bunch! I like the idea of asking folks what their favorites are and just doing those things.

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November 17, 20200 found this helpful

I just had one of my questionnaires returned and it was a surprises as to the type of meat. Venison was written in (we have friends from another state who supply us with venison each year but it is not a favorite of mine).
The respondent agreed to supply this and other items for our get together.
I forgot to mention that I always leave a space at the bottom of the message for respondents to write in anything they wish to supply - either prepared or 'to be fixed' but since we are all family/friends everyone knows they are not obligated to supply anything.

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Just RSVP and come as you are!

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November 16, 20200 found this helpful

Check sales circulars, a lot of them have great buys on all of your Holiday needs. Some stores are offering coupons like( spend $50 get $10 off) , and many others like this. Make a list/budget and stick to it. Also if you wanted to change up the menu you could do a Pasta Meal/with salad, and light dessert

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November 17, 20201 found this helpful

One great plan I have heard is for families to make regular portions of food and then share it out with friends or family. So one person makes mashed potatoes and another makes green bean casserole and they divide them. This idea would take a little bit of planning but allow everyone to have their favorites.

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I've done Thanksgiving dinner for just my family of 4 many times, as our family lives about 3 hours away (including you!!). I just make my normal sized recipes and freeze any leftovers that don't get used up in another meal. I love to make pot pies with leftover turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, veggies and a stuffing crust on top. These can be frozen as well. And I always make turkey frame broth right in the roasting pan, after dinner is finished. Yum, can't wait!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! It might be a different year for many but we all still have so much to be thankful for. Next year, we should be able to enjoy the holiday however we wish!

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November 18, 20200 found this helpful

Excellent!
Sharing out with friends and neighbors sounds like a good idea.

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I also like leftovers! Hope the freezer has enough room. :)

These are good tips even without the complications of a pandemic!
Thank you.

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November 17, 20201 found this helpful

Smaller turkey or go with a turkey breast roast.

Perhaps if you know a friend/family member who's hosting a traditional meal if you all can spilt the cost of the items or even have them cook some side dishes and you cook some (then social distance exchange)

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November 17, 20200 found this helpful

Our tentative plan is to make smaller batches of our very favorite items (which are stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and pie). Personally I can do without the turkey and gravy--but if I lose that battle, we will get turkey cutlets for hubby and I will just enjoy my sides as my meal. By making what we love there will be more meaning and if there are leftovers we will use the them as sides (and dessert) for our regular meals.

We always look for Aldi's $5 off of $30 coupons (which may not be happening this year since I have not seen them yet) but in the past that has helped us get fresh green beans, both kinds of potatoes, bread for stuffing, broth, butter, and apples all for the best prices.

When we did large gatherings, we would gather several coupons (our post office would allow us to take the ones that people tossed in their recycle bin). With it just being us two to be safe this year, that alone will be a cost savings.

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November 18, 20201 found this helpful

You can always buy a turkey breast to cook instead of a full-sized turnkey. This is very good and saves a lot of money when doing this one. Unless turkeys are on sale and cheap to buy. Or just find a small 10-pound turkey to buy. Just cook your meals like you have been cooking them during the lockdown. That means cooking smaller portions of food. You don't need to buy large quantities of food to cook at this time. I just cook for my husband and me and I limit the number of side dishes that I cook for the two of us. Normally I make a turkey, some cooked potatoes, a salad, and a vegetable. I never forget to make the apple pie. This is perfect for the two of us and we can eat off the 10-pound turkey for about 4 days.

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November 18, 20200 found this helpful

Getting a small turkey is also a good idea. As is making smaller portions and only a few items. Thank you! We will definitely look for sale turkey!

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