You plan and organize and stress over Thanksgiving. You have family coming and you want everything to be perfect..or you are just fixing for your immediately family and you still want everything to be the best that it can be. And it is! The turkey is perfect, the dressing is to die for, and dessert hits the spot. And then it's over. All the hype, worry and preparation, and it is over just like that, AND you are left with a ton of leftovers...ughh. What are you going to do with all of this leftover food? Well, I have gathered a few ideas to help you decide what to do with these things.Read More
One of the main things that can help round out a Thanksgiving feast is a good assortment of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. There are several ways to offer a variety of drinks and save money if you are prepared to spend the time and effort.
Soft drinks such as Coke or Pepsi, Sprite or Seven-Up, are popular at the holidays - especially with children. Buy them at a warehouse club or when the supermarkets have them on sale. I also recommend staying away from the canned ones. They tend to get opened and left sitting around to go flat and basically wasted.
Sodas that mix with other drinks include seltzer, club soda, tonic water, ginger ale, and so on. Seltzer is well-suited to making wine spritzers, which can lower the cost of each drink you serve your guests. Ginger Ale is a great beverage to put in a punch, whether it be alcoholic or non-alcoholic, it gives it that extra fizz of refreshment!
Cranberry juice is a must at Thanksgiving. Orange juice is good for cooking and drinking. Apple juice is also a standard all year round, but particularly in the autumn. Apple cider, which is thicker and cloudier, is ideal for hot apple cider with spices. Look for large bottles of apple juice or bottles of cider at a warehouse club or the supermarket.
Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate
These drinks are a nice way to end the meal. They are also tasty with your dessert course. Avoid single cup coffee makers. Buy grounds and make them in a conventional pot. Use loose leaf tea for more flavor and less chemicals.
Make your own hot chocolate using real milk and cocoa powder. Add a dash of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick if you wish, and a dollop of whipped cream. You can control how much sugar you put in compared with boxed mixes, and your own homemade cocoa will usually work out more cheaply as well. You can also use non-dairy nut milks if you prefer, such as almond or cashew.
The coffee and tea can also be as a base for iced tea and iced coffee.
Milk and Cream
You will most likely need these in a range of recipes. You will also need more milk for coffee, tea, and cocoa. If you have guests staying in your home, you will probably need even more for beverages, cereal, and so on, especially if you have small children visiting. Buy these in bulk at a warehouse club.
These are useful for anyone who is lactose intolerant or vegan. Choose from soy, rice, almond, oat and more. Look in your supermarket, warehouse clubs or buy in bulk online.
Some shopping apps actually give you a discount for the wine and spirits you purchase. Two worth registering with are Checkout 51 and Ibotta.
Happy Drink Making,
One of the best things about a Thanksgiving meal is often the side dishes that go with it. They add color, taste, texture and variety on the plate and they are also a really good way to save money. Plan on serving 4 to 8 ounces of turkey to your guests, but let them load their plates and fill their stomachs with inexpensive side dishes. I love to bring side dishes to our potluck Thanksgiving. And, I love to eat the ones everyone else brings! Here are some great ideas for side dishes that won't break the bank!
1. Flaky Biscuits
Biscuits are great as a bread on the side and perfect for mopping up gravy. They are warm, filling, and the smell when they bake really says it is holiday time. If you can make biscuits from scratch...more power to you. I am a frozen biscuit or canned biscuit kind of girl (especially when I am preparing a BIG meal).
Cornbread is another cheap, easy and filling option. Bake up a few pans of it to use as is, or in other recipes. Use any leftovers at breakfast the next morning. Cornbread is a staple in our cornbread dressing here in the South.
3. Cornbread Stuffing
You can also make stuffing using your own homemade cornbread. Cut it into cubes, toast them, and then cook as you would bread stuffing. If you aren't into making homemade cornbread, it's ok to use the mix and help you get a little further with your preparations. Cornbread mix is not expensive at all. This is what I bring to Thanksgiving at my sister's house and it is a crowd pleaser!
4. Cranberry Sauce
Fresh cranberry sauce is easy to make. When making it yourself, you can adjust the sugar, add orange or apple juice for natural sweetness, and so on. If you choose to use the canned cranberry sauce, it is on sale always around the holidays.
5. Sweet Potatoes/Yams
This cheerful orange vegetable is very cheap and will go a long way towards filling up your guests. Cook in the microwave like a baked potato and top with some brown sugar or cinnamon, or boil up a pot to mash for a sweet potato casserole.
To the mashed sweet potato, add milk, butter, brown sugar and/or maple syrup, and cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake and eat as is, or add a layer of marshmallows to the top and cook until just brown and puffy. Some people do a crunchy topping that is to die for.
6. Bread Stuffing
Bread stuffing is a great way to use up any stale bread you might have. Make sure it is dry, not moldy. Mix with herbs. Add onions, celery and broth and you have a filling dish to stuff a whole turkey with, or serve on the side.
7. Corn/Corn on the Cob
Corn is very filling, and eating from the cob can be a lot of fun. You can also eat with a little butter, or make your own homemade creamed corn with milk. I like to cut the corn off of the cob and fry it in a skillet with a little butter, salt and pepper...OMG...My sister make a corn casserole that I look forward to every year and it is quick and easy too.
8. Green Bean Casserole
This is a staple on many American holiday tables. Most people make it using canned cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans and a can of French-fried onions. These items are all readily accessible and inexpensive at your local grocery store. If you choose to make them with fresh green beans, that's awesome too! I also bring this to my sister's house and to my in-laws every year. One year I thought maybe they were all tired of it, so I skipped it....won't EVER do that again! I had some family members unhappy with me. Basically, don't fix it if it ain't broke.
9. Potatoes au Gratin
If you want something a bit more elegant for your holiday table, slice up the potatoes thinly and cook them in a creamy cheese sauce.
10. Baked Potatoes/Mashed Potatoes
Nothing could be easier than some baked Idaho potatoes with butter, sour cream and chives, or cheese. They are cheap and filling, and add a restaurant-touch to your homemade meal. If you are more of a mashed potato family, just mash them while they are hot and add your butter, salt and milk to them and voila'! Mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving.
So whether you are hosting Thanksgiving or attending a potluck Thanksgiving, these are some great ideas of side dishes that are inexpensive and easy. Add them to your list of goodies to bring or serve and I promise, your guests (or you) will leave with a happy tummy!
Happy Side Dish Making,
Thanksgiving is 10 days away....oh my. I feel like it snuck up on me...but I have had a ton going on, so maybe that's why? Anyway, some people host the entire Thanksgiving dinner at their home and provide all the food, drinks, everything....well, in my family and my husband's family, we all bring something (1 or 2 things) and it's one big potluck dinner. And, I LOVE it that way. There are certain things that people bring, that I look forward to every year....and I remind them...."you are bringing the sweet potato casserole right?"!Read More
Halloween is coming and y'all I love Halloween...you know why? Well, if you know anything about me, it's the candy!!! I love, love, love candy corn. Like eat bags of it all of September and October. And a Reese's pumpkin....o.m.g. just leave me alone with it because it requires 100% of my attention! You know you were a true trick-or-treater when you can remember suffering through that plastic mask with holes for the eyes, mouth, and nose with an elastic band on the back so your hair could get good and caught up in it.....and by the way, what genius put a little bitty horizontal line for your mouth when the whole point was to eat candy the whole night!?! And the costume was basically you, dressed in your regular clothes, with a plastic something (costume) wrapped and tied behind your back. Oh, good times.Read More
The holidays are coming and what better time to make sure that your pantry is stocked and you are ready to cook! I love the holidays and I so look forward to cooking for my family. What I don't like is getting my mind set on cooking something and not having everything I need to prepare it on hand. Or, in the middle of something, and not having what I need to prepare it. So, I have gathered a list of essentials that you should stock your pantry with you’ll be ready to get cooking!Read More
My youngest daughter plays softball every Thursday night in September and usually 3 games that either start at 5, 6, and 7 or 6, 7, and 8. Which means that we usually make it home around 9 or later. What's the point of your story Jennifer? The point is, that usually I pick up fast food for supper on those nights because I'm not home to fix anything. Well, this past Thursday, I actually got it together and had supper for us when we got home!Read More
Have you had sweet potato fries? I have had them several times in restaurants, but I have never made them myself. So, when Chad brought home some fresh sweet potatoes one night this week, I thought - perfect time to try it out! Now, when you order sweet potato fries at a restaurant, they are usually fried. I do not fry….I am no good at it, and it makes my house stink. My hair picks up any smell, anywhere. If I go in a gas station, I smell like fried food. If I go in a BBQ restaurant, I smell like BBQ. If I go into Subway, I smell like Subway bread the rest of the day….you get the idea. ANYWAY, have I told y’all I have a little bit of ADHD???Read More
It's that time of year again....football!! Y'all I can't tell you how much I love football season! I am an avid LSU fan and a pretty big Saints fan too. I went to LSU and the entire time I was there, we didn't have the best football team - ok, we didn't have a winning football team at all! But, I still got myself together and romped to that stadium with my friends and watched the Tigers play! Death Valley is like no other stadium in college football, and it is definitely an experience you will never forget. When I watch the LSU football games on TV, I really do get emotional when the band plays GEAUX TIGERS! It takes me straight back to those nights, 20 something years ago, when I sat and soaked up the LSU football game experience. Corny, I know, but all true.Read More
Y'all, these are some of the best cookies ever and so simple to make, it should be a crime! Literally, 5 ingredients. And, I whipped these suckers out in no time. They don't last long around here either. Even better, you make them with a cake mix! Score! So, if you are looking for a delicious, easy and quick dessert...keep reading!
EASY LEMON COOKIES
Makes: 3 dozen cookies
- 1 (18.25 oz) package lemon cake mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon extract until well blended. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl of confectioners' sugar until they are lightly covered. Once they are covered, put them on an uncreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 6-7 minutes in a preheated oven. The bottoms may be a little brown and the insides should be chewy.
Voila! That is it. Literally, didn't even need a mixer. In this picture you can see that I made my cookies a little bigger and it made 1 dozen, so you can gauge how big you like them. I usually make them smaller and they are a little flatter, and I think I like them better that way! Bottom line, doesn't matter the size of the cookie, they are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
P.S. You can also do this with a strawberry cake mix and they are delicious and pretty too!
Remember when I wrote about easy and quick weeknight dinners a while back? And I promised to post this recipe for the best fried rice ever??!! Well, I didn't forget! Amazing, I know, I remembered something! Anyway, like I mentioned in that post, my kids and my hubby LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this homemade fried rice.Read More
There is a story behind this punch..... My sister and I had this punch a very long time ago at either a baby shower or a bridal shower-it was that long ago that I can’t remember. We had one glass of this stuff and I think I do remember that we embarrassingly drank way more than half! We talked about this punch for weeks and finally got the recipe.Read More