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Cheap Thanksgiving Side Dishes

When my husband and I got married, we came across the scheduling problem that some couples have around the holidays.  What family do we visit on which day?

Since neither of our families wanted to “give up” Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day every year, we flip-flop annually.  One of our families gets Thanksgiving Day and the other gets the day after.  Then we see one family on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas Day.  This has worked well so far, but it does mean we usually need to bring a dish to 4 big family meals around the holidays and the 2 potlucks we have with friends.

Here’s my cheap favorites:

1)  Sweet Potatoes – I’ve posted our step-by-step recipe here before, and they are a huge hit around the holidays!  You’ll need sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, and orange juice.  Combine them as shown and you’ll be all set for less than $4!  For every day use, you could also try them out with these chicken breast recipes.

2)  Corn Bread Dressing – My husband made this recipe for the first time last year and we LOVED it!  You’ll need 2 pans of cornbread (either from a box, your favorite recipe, or find one like this one if you’d like), 2 stalks of celery, 1 onion, 4 boiled eggs, 1 teaspoon of sage, and 3-4 cups of chicken broth.  Chop the celery, onion, and eggs and mix them into a large bowl with your crumbled cornbread.  Stir or fold in the sage and broth.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes and enjoy for about $4-$5!

3)  Pineapple Stuffing – This is another recipe I’ve posted here with pictures that MikeS sent in.  It has been a huge hit with my husband’s family so far and I’ll be bringing it to my parent’s house Thanksgiving Day!  You’ll need sugar, butter, eggs, white bread, and crushed pineapple.  Combine them as shown and you’ll be all set for less than $3.75!

What holiday recipes do you like bringing to gatherings?  Any other frugal ideas for us?

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13 thoughts on “Cheap Thanksgiving Side Dishes”

  1. Everyday Tips

    I love my sweet potato casserole. I top it with pecans and brown sugar as opposed to marshmallows. It tastes just like pumpkin pie oddly enough. I also prepare squash, green beans (not casserole), obviously mashed potatoes/gravy, corn, olives, cranberry sauce, stuffing (not homemade, sorry everyone), and rolls.

    I love Thanksgiving!!!

  2. frugalscholar

    I love Thanksgiving! All the items are inexpensive to begin with, plus there are wonderful grocery sales. Word to the frugal: stock up for later.

  3. Crystal @ BFS

    @Everyday Tips, I love Thanksgiving too. I don’t “do” nuts in my yams, but I’d eat everything else you mentioned by the bucket-full, lol. 🙂

    @frugalscholar, good point. Cooked sweet potatoes, stuffing, and leftover turkey all taste great even when they are reheated after being frozen. 🙂

  4. Jackie

    I like to bring mashed potatoes. Although I don’t eat them myself, people seem to appreciate them. (And I guess a lot of people don’t like making them, but for me it’s simple because I leave the skins on. They’re healthier that way anyway!)

  5. Ninja

    I can’t believe Cranberry sauce didn’t make the list. I love that stuff, straight out of a can, jiggly, and oh so tasty!

  6. Molly On Money

    I have two favorites but they’re not cheap!
    Chocolate Bourban Pecan pie and a Mayflower Martini. It’s all you need on Thanksgivings.
    A Mayflower Martini is gin, vermouth (I prefer dry), and white cranberry juice. You take frozen cranberries and drop them in the drink before serving. YUM…..

  7. Jenna

    String bean casserole?

  8. Money Reasons

    No tips (I don’t cook :(…)

    But on my side of the family we are having thanksgiving celebration this weekend (because of my sister). 🙂

  9. Crystal @ BFS

    @Jackie, I used to leave the skins on but it made it a pain to actually mash. But mashed taters is an awesome idea too!

    @Ninja, I love the canned gelatinous stuff too, but I wouldn’t ever bring it as my only side dish because it’s just too cheap, lol. I do bring it along with my main idea though. 🙂

    @Molly, I am so giving that martini idea to my in-laws!

    @Jenna, good idea!

    @Money Reasons, we are having Thanksgiving with friends this Saturday, my husband’s grandpa’s church this Sunday, my mom’s house next Thursday, and my in-laws’ house next Friday…I am going to gain a billion pounds and I don’t care. 😉

  10. I like to bring homemade pumpkin bread. Being a glutton for punishment, I like to cut, peel and cook the Halloween jack-o-lantern and freeze it. I then use the pumpkin to make the bread to take to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and also to use as small gifts to give at Christmas. I add raisins and walnuts to make it extra special (except if it goes to my boys who like it plain).

  11. First Gen American

    I am making home made cranberry sauce from cranberries we picked in the wild this summer. But like ninja, I have a soft spot for the canned stuff too.

    I love sweet potatoes. We make them sliced and candied with brown sugar, maple syrup and a little butter. The recipe originated with 5 sticks of butter and 5 cups of white sugar, but my low fat version is just as good.

    I love cooking for thanksgiving. I have my staples, but I always like to try one or two new things too. I want to find that new favorite thing to add as a regular menu item.

  12. Crystal @ BFS

    @Marie, that sounds awesome! I love pumpkin bread but haven’t ever made it myself. My husband did just make a cranberry raisin bread that turned out very well though.

    @First Gen, I’m boring and usually stick to my staples, lol. My husband loves this green, pistachio jello dessert that his grandma makes though…

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