Whether you are in charge of holiday meals this year or just responsible for providing ideas, a delicious and simple holiday dinner can be as easy as checking out this list. Some families have traditional meals, while others like to change it up to try something new every year. If you are looking for Christmas dinner ideas that are sure to be fan favorites without breaking the bank, use this list of 10 cheap holiday meal ideas to get started.
Save Your Pocket Book With These Cheap Holiday Meal Ideas
Delicious and satisfying holiday dinners do not need to be expensive to be crowd-pleasers. If you integrate some of these ideas into your meal planning, it can be an edible present for the entire family.
1. Be Smart About Your Starters
Many traditional starters can be expensive, so keep it simple with a tossed salad or a simple and delicious soup. For your salad, stick items most people enjoy, such as mixed lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and a neutral vinaigrette. Try a savory soup that is easy to cook and doesn’t include too many ingredients, such as French onion soup that can be prepared in advance in a slow cooker. Although specialty cheese plates can get costly, try fewer cheeses and specialty items and add crackers and pimento cheese or hummus dip instead.
2. Opt For Multiple Smaller Entrees
Instead of putting all of your budget and effort into one large turkey, try choosing a couple of smaller items, such as roasted chicken, honey-baked ham, or short ribs. Not only does this give your guests a choice of entrée, but it also can take some of the burden off of your budget.
3. Gain A Lot of Flavor With Few Ingredients
For many gatherings, a successful meal is all about the sides. Traditional sides such as mashed potatoes and gravy or macaroni and cheese can be made in large volumes with few ingredients. Volume cooking is an easy way to save money on a meal. Sometimes, these sides can get a little dull and lack flavor, so another option is to go for a flavorful vegetable dish that includes few ingredients. For example, braising greens with garlic and bacon creates a robust and flavorful dish that can be prepared in bulk.
4. Try One-Pot Meals
If you are cooking for a smaller group or don’t want to serve the entrée and sides separately, consider a one-pot or one-pan meal preparation. Stews and rice dishes work well for this purpose, or you can combine meat and vegetables onto one roasting pan for a sheet pan roast. You can include some vegetables rolled up in your meat for an easy way to combine an entrée and sides.
5. Add a Kick to Traditional Flavors
Sometimes families expect certain food traditions to be carried out every year, but you can make a few things your own by adding a new twist. Cranberry sauce can be given a touch of spice by adding a touch of jalapeno, and a hint of garlic or spices can be added to the dinner rolls for extra pizzazz. Instead of a baked sweet potato, try sweet potato fries or mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon, butter, and a hint of vanilla.
6. Be Friendly to Your Veggies
Although it won’t apply to everyone, vegetarians are often stuck with side dishes and no entrees at holiday meals. If you have a vegetarian in your life and want to serve up a delicious and inexpensive alternative, try a butternut squash that has been roasted Hasselback-style with bay leaves. Another option is a delicious ratatouille that could be a satisfying option for even the most discerning meat lovers. Making a ratatouille with only a few varieties of vegetables can cut down on your overall cost.
7. Go For Parts Instead of a Whole
Families can expect certain meat dishes at holiday dinners, so if they expect something specific like a turkey, it can sometimes be more cost-effective to buy the product in pieces instead of a whole. A pan-roasted turkey breast cooked with root veggies and then sliced thinly can be an alternative to cooking an entire turkey. If you have a family member who can’t resist a drumstick, you can purchase a few of those separately and still come out on the plus side.
8. Watch the Waste
When planning out your meal, think about ways you can reduce your waste. Can you use bones and vegetable scraps later to make a hearty and healthy bone broth? If you are cooking a dessert and need egg whites, is there another dessert or other dish that could use the yolks? You can use stems or seeds to grow more vegetables or herbs in your garden in some cases. Paying attention to your scraps allows you to continue to use your food beyond the average life expectancy, helping you recuperate some of your expenses.
9. Provide Simple, Delicious Dessert Options
Desserts do not need to be complicated, time-consuming, or expensive to be delicious. Instead of a pie that has to be cooked to perfection, bake a cake and decorate it in the holiday spirit. Have your family gather around the fire pit after your meal for family-friendly s’mores. For even more delicious after-dinner fun, gather around the television and watch a holiday movie while sipping on hot chocolate with marshmallows or whipped cream. The adults can enjoy a spiced surprise with a bourbon-infused version.
10. Skip the Stress and Order In For a Holiday Lunch or Dinner
If the primary goal of your ideal holiday dinner or lunch is to provide delicious food to your guests, one of the easiest ways to achieve this is to order in from your favorite local restaurant. A buffet-style catering option for larger groups means you can serve the meal family style with none of the preparation and clean-up required. For smaller groups, order off of the regular menu and take it to-go. If you are responsible for finding a holiday lunch option, why not try a delicious boxed lunch for your crew? You can find all of this and more if you choose Boss’ Pizza and Chicken for your holiday meal.
Why Choose Boss’ Pizza and Chicken?
With multiple locations throughout Sioux Falls and additional branches in Rapid City and Keystone, Boss’ Pizza and Chicken is a delicious and straightforward option for your lunch or dinner guests this holiday season. Additional restaurants can be found in Grand Forks, ND, and Lincoln, NE, so choose the location closest to you for your to-go ordering. In keeping with the philosophy that the customer must be satisfied first, team members always strive to provide excellence in service and the tastiest food selection possible. To learn more about your options for catering, to-go, or dine-in or to set up a large order for pick-up or delivery, contact Boss’ Pizza and Chicken today for more information.
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