ALAMEDA, CA - NOVEMBER 24: A box of donated turkeys waits to be distributed at the Alameda Food Bank November 24, 2009 in Alameda, California. Hundreds of needy people lined up for hours to receive a free Thanksgiving turkey and all the …
Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Q: I'm on a tight budget this year. How can I save money on my Thanksgiving dinner?
A: Store managers know that during the holidays people buy more food than usual, so many major grocery stores have a free-turkey offer with a fairly minimal purchase. Just pick the store that has the turkey you want as a freebie. I haven't paid for a turkey in three years.
If you have a smaller family, consider buying just a turkey breast to roast. If you really want the "full bird" effect, perhaps get a large roasting chicken.
Think outside the box when it comes to turkey leftovers. Try different flavor profiles to spice up what you have on hand. For example, you can make: quick curry turkey salad; turkey tacos with a delicious fresh corn salsa; slow-cooked turkey to BBQ pulled-turkey sandwiches; Chinese turkey salad with mandarin oranges/slivered oranges/red onions/ginger dressing; green Thai turkey with curry paste/basil/coconut milk; or even a cold noodle bowl with turkey/peanut butter/salsa /sesame oil/green onion.
Cranberry sauce: If you actually eat it, splurge and buy the cranberries fresh and make the sauce from scratch. If you don't really eat it, just skip it .
If you can bring yourself to buck tradition and serve something else altogether on Thanksgiving Day, you can load up cheaply on Thanksgiving goodies the day after the holiday. This is a great idea if you want to celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday.
Speaking of after-Thanksgiving sales, buy a few nonperishable items right after Thanksgiving for next year if you have the pantry space: canned cranberry sauce, stuffing mix and canned corn, for example.
Frozen pies: If you are not much of a baker, you're in luck. Frozen pies usually go on sale around the holidays for more than 50 percent off.
Courtesy Melissa d'Arabian on foodnetwork.com. Write Ask Food Network c/o Viewer Services Culinary Department, Scripps Networks, P.O. Box 50970, Knoxville, TN 37950.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Top Lifestyle Headlines
NORAD’s child friendly ‘Santa Tracker’ program is raising some eyebrows with its inclusion of F-18 Fighter Jets that will be traveling with Santa in this year’s virtual program.