On her Food Network show, Melissa makes dinner for four for under $10 — and her Thanksgiving is no different. She's partnered with Walmart to come up with a turkey day feast that's only $20, and plans to serve it to her own family this holiday. "My family is really getting the $20 thanksgiving!" she says. Regardless of how much you've got in your wallet, she has some pointers to help you stay under budget. See them when you read more.
- Play with ordinary pantry ingredients to add depth to your meal. Find creative ways to extract all the flavor from ingredients you buy. Roast garlic and you'll get a mellow, deep flavor. Caramelize onions low and slow for a half hour to extract their natural sweetness. Or take a regular pantry ingredient like sugar and turn it into something completely different, like caramel sauce.
- Add spices to make things really special. Putting cinnamon or cardamom pods in a dessert sauce adds a unique touch, but is inexpensive and easy.
- Stretch your drink dollar. No need to stock a full bar. Create one festive signature cocktail, place it in a pretty pitcher, and serve just that. You can also stretch a bottle of wine by turning it into a spritzer or a sangria. Fill pitchers with tap water and slices of lemon or cucumber for an elegant touch without the expense of bottled water.
- Make place settings special with personalized notes. Jot small personal notes of welcome to guests. Using the tiny gift envelopes and cards available at paper shops, write a short note for each guest — something kind and intimate so they know their presence is appreciated. "For first-time Thanksgiving hosts," d'Arabian adds, "there's nothing like feeling warm and grateful to make your audience a little more forgiving on any culinary missteps!"
What are you doing to stay within your budget this holiday?