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Host Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

Host Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

As the last of the leftover Halloween candy dwindles, it’s time to turn our attention to Thanksgiving — truly, my favorite holiday of the year. In just one week, I’ll be hosting my family for the big feast — at least 13 people in my home. No easy feat, but at least the budget is under control.[slideshow:

After years of perfecting the art of couponing, my fifth Thanksgiving dinner is just another day in the life of a smart shopper. But, if you’re panicking about the cost of your Thanksgiving dinner, check out my strategy for keeping the budget under control. — Just Heather

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• Pumpkin swirl brownies


How To Cook A Thanksgiving Spread For 4 On A $25 Budget

June, Delish's senior food producer and resident budget eats expert, set out to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the cheap: $25 for a 4-person dinner. Watch to see how she fared&mdashand catch the rest of her series Budget Eats on YouTube!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, but holidays will probably look very different for many of us this year. With limited travel, self-imposed quarantines, and safety measures in place, families and friends will probably be joining each other virtually, sharing their food spreads visually rather than bumping elbows at the communal table. As sad as that might sound, 2020 is a year which has taught us that traditions can always evolve to suit our needs and unexpected circumstances. With that in mind, Julia and I decided to apply our $25 budget eats framework to the food-centric Thanksgiving meal.

Queen Julia's parameters for our $25 day of thanks were as follows:

  1. A one-time meal for four people for Thanksgiving
  2. Must include turkey, 2 sides, and a dessert

What can $25 buy? A lot, it turns out&mdashif you shop around, you can maybe get as lucky as I got and round up enough food to feed six-to-eight people, especially if you skip on buying an entire turkey. (If you're not on a tight budget, check out Julia's taste test of Thanksgiving meal delivery services.)

Because I only live with my partner Aaron and our apartment isn't quite big enough to responsibly host two more friends for a socially-distanced meal, we had quite a feast.

While meat doesn't always make it into our budget meals, turkey day just doesn't seem right without its eponymous item: I could not skip out on turkey altogether. After a brisk half-hour stroll around my neighborhood, I chanced upon some ginormous turkey drumsticks that rang in at $1.19/lb for just $4.53, these two drumsticks ended up being the stars of two delicious meat mains.

There were a few other ingredients that seemed essential to maintain that Thanksgiving vibe: cranberries (for sauce), potatoes (for mash), rosemary (for flavor), celery and onion (for stuffing), pumpkin (for pie), and butter (for all that is good in life). With my remaining funds I scored a few additional deals, including a bag of dried red chilis (for Aaron!), Brussels (for health!), butternut squash (it was only $1!), mushrooms (for gravy), and a pint of half & half (for creaminess).

The process

Cooking everything took two long days&mdashand of course, eating it took just 20 minutes. On day 1, I roasted veggies, made a stock with turkey bones and vegetable scraps, baked some potatoes, steamed the kabocha squash, and made my cranberry sauce. As the sunlight disappeared into the evening and the walls of my apartment began to sweat more than I did, I decided I would not be making a traditional pumpkin pie after all.

I rose earlier on day two and got up while it was still dark to really kick things into high gear. I made the dough from Lauren's ridiculously beautiful apple tart recipe, and paired it with a kabocha squash filling, crossed my fingers and wished for the best. And what do you know, it was the first time I can recall anything in 2020 turning out so smoothly!

The rest was honestly a whirlwind and a blur. I made so many sides: lemony roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy twice-baked mashed potatoes, a savory butternut squash pie with a curried potato crust, and some no-bread potato stuffing with tiny roasted potato cubes that were first boiled then roasted to golden, crunchy perfection.

This was perhaps the most classic Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. I cut my finger, I yelled, I cried, and then I smiled and ate with relief and happiness. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant household, I've never cooked a spread like this before, but according to Aaron, I did good: 10/10 good, in fact. Not bad for a first-timer!


How To Cook A Thanksgiving Spread For 4 On A $25 Budget

June, Delish's senior food producer and resident budget eats expert, set out to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the cheap: $25 for a 4-person dinner. Watch to see how she fared&mdashand catch the rest of her series Budget Eats on YouTube!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, but holidays will probably look very different for many of us this year. With limited travel, self-imposed quarantines, and safety measures in place, families and friends will probably be joining each other virtually, sharing their food spreads visually rather than bumping elbows at the communal table. As sad as that might sound, 2020 is a year which has taught us that traditions can always evolve to suit our needs and unexpected circumstances. With that in mind, Julia and I decided to apply our $25 budget eats framework to the food-centric Thanksgiving meal.

Queen Julia's parameters for our $25 day of thanks were as follows:

  1. A one-time meal for four people for Thanksgiving
  2. Must include turkey, 2 sides, and a dessert

What can $25 buy? A lot, it turns out&mdashif you shop around, you can maybe get as lucky as I got and round up enough food to feed six-to-eight people, especially if you skip on buying an entire turkey. (If you're not on a tight budget, check out Julia's taste test of Thanksgiving meal delivery services.)

Because I only live with my partner Aaron and our apartment isn't quite big enough to responsibly host two more friends for a socially-distanced meal, we had quite a feast.

While meat doesn't always make it into our budget meals, turkey day just doesn't seem right without its eponymous item: I could not skip out on turkey altogether. After a brisk half-hour stroll around my neighborhood, I chanced upon some ginormous turkey drumsticks that rang in at $1.19/lb for just $4.53, these two drumsticks ended up being the stars of two delicious meat mains.

There were a few other ingredients that seemed essential to maintain that Thanksgiving vibe: cranberries (for sauce), potatoes (for mash), rosemary (for flavor), celery and onion (for stuffing), pumpkin (for pie), and butter (for all that is good in life). With my remaining funds I scored a few additional deals, including a bag of dried red chilis (for Aaron!), Brussels (for health!), butternut squash (it was only $1!), mushrooms (for gravy), and a pint of half & half (for creaminess).

The process

Cooking everything took two long days&mdashand of course, eating it took just 20 minutes. On day 1, I roasted veggies, made a stock with turkey bones and vegetable scraps, baked some potatoes, steamed the kabocha squash, and made my cranberry sauce. As the sunlight disappeared into the evening and the walls of my apartment began to sweat more than I did, I decided I would not be making a traditional pumpkin pie after all.

I rose earlier on day two and got up while it was still dark to really kick things into high gear. I made the dough from Lauren's ridiculously beautiful apple tart recipe, and paired it with a kabocha squash filling, crossed my fingers and wished for the best. And what do you know, it was the first time I can recall anything in 2020 turning out so smoothly!

The rest was honestly a whirlwind and a blur. I made so many sides: lemony roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy twice-baked mashed potatoes, a savory butternut squash pie with a curried potato crust, and some no-bread potato stuffing with tiny roasted potato cubes that were first boiled then roasted to golden, crunchy perfection.

This was perhaps the most classic Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. I cut my finger, I yelled, I cried, and then I smiled and ate with relief and happiness. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant household, I've never cooked a spread like this before, but according to Aaron, I did good: 10/10 good, in fact. Not bad for a first-timer!


How To Cook A Thanksgiving Spread For 4 On A $25 Budget

June, Delish's senior food producer and resident budget eats expert, set out to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the cheap: $25 for a 4-person dinner. Watch to see how she fared&mdashand catch the rest of her series Budget Eats on YouTube!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, but holidays will probably look very different for many of us this year. With limited travel, self-imposed quarantines, and safety measures in place, families and friends will probably be joining each other virtually, sharing their food spreads visually rather than bumping elbows at the communal table. As sad as that might sound, 2020 is a year which has taught us that traditions can always evolve to suit our needs and unexpected circumstances. With that in mind, Julia and I decided to apply our $25 budget eats framework to the food-centric Thanksgiving meal.

Queen Julia's parameters for our $25 day of thanks were as follows:

  1. A one-time meal for four people for Thanksgiving
  2. Must include turkey, 2 sides, and a dessert

What can $25 buy? A lot, it turns out&mdashif you shop around, you can maybe get as lucky as I got and round up enough food to feed six-to-eight people, especially if you skip on buying an entire turkey. (If you're not on a tight budget, check out Julia's taste test of Thanksgiving meal delivery services.)

Because I only live with my partner Aaron and our apartment isn't quite big enough to responsibly host two more friends for a socially-distanced meal, we had quite a feast.

While meat doesn't always make it into our budget meals, turkey day just doesn't seem right without its eponymous item: I could not skip out on turkey altogether. After a brisk half-hour stroll around my neighborhood, I chanced upon some ginormous turkey drumsticks that rang in at $1.19/lb for just $4.53, these two drumsticks ended up being the stars of two delicious meat mains.

There were a few other ingredients that seemed essential to maintain that Thanksgiving vibe: cranberries (for sauce), potatoes (for mash), rosemary (for flavor), celery and onion (for stuffing), pumpkin (for pie), and butter (for all that is good in life). With my remaining funds I scored a few additional deals, including a bag of dried red chilis (for Aaron!), Brussels (for health!), butternut squash (it was only $1!), mushrooms (for gravy), and a pint of half & half (for creaminess).

The process

Cooking everything took two long days&mdashand of course, eating it took just 20 minutes. On day 1, I roasted veggies, made a stock with turkey bones and vegetable scraps, baked some potatoes, steamed the kabocha squash, and made my cranberry sauce. As the sunlight disappeared into the evening and the walls of my apartment began to sweat more than I did, I decided I would not be making a traditional pumpkin pie after all.

I rose earlier on day two and got up while it was still dark to really kick things into high gear. I made the dough from Lauren's ridiculously beautiful apple tart recipe, and paired it with a kabocha squash filling, crossed my fingers and wished for the best. And what do you know, it was the first time I can recall anything in 2020 turning out so smoothly!

The rest was honestly a whirlwind and a blur. I made so many sides: lemony roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy twice-baked mashed potatoes, a savory butternut squash pie with a curried potato crust, and some no-bread potato stuffing with tiny roasted potato cubes that were first boiled then roasted to golden, crunchy perfection.

This was perhaps the most classic Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. I cut my finger, I yelled, I cried, and then I smiled and ate with relief and happiness. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant household, I've never cooked a spread like this before, but according to Aaron, I did good: 10/10 good, in fact. Not bad for a first-timer!


How To Cook A Thanksgiving Spread For 4 On A $25 Budget

June, Delish's senior food producer and resident budget eats expert, set out to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the cheap: $25 for a 4-person dinner. Watch to see how she fared&mdashand catch the rest of her series Budget Eats on YouTube!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, but holidays will probably look very different for many of us this year. With limited travel, self-imposed quarantines, and safety measures in place, families and friends will probably be joining each other virtually, sharing their food spreads visually rather than bumping elbows at the communal table. As sad as that might sound, 2020 is a year which has taught us that traditions can always evolve to suit our needs and unexpected circumstances. With that in mind, Julia and I decided to apply our $25 budget eats framework to the food-centric Thanksgiving meal.

Queen Julia's parameters for our $25 day of thanks were as follows:

  1. A one-time meal for four people for Thanksgiving
  2. Must include turkey, 2 sides, and a dessert

What can $25 buy? A lot, it turns out&mdashif you shop around, you can maybe get as lucky as I got and round up enough food to feed six-to-eight people, especially if you skip on buying an entire turkey. (If you're not on a tight budget, check out Julia's taste test of Thanksgiving meal delivery services.)

Because I only live with my partner Aaron and our apartment isn't quite big enough to responsibly host two more friends for a socially-distanced meal, we had quite a feast.

While meat doesn't always make it into our budget meals, turkey day just doesn't seem right without its eponymous item: I could not skip out on turkey altogether. After a brisk half-hour stroll around my neighborhood, I chanced upon some ginormous turkey drumsticks that rang in at $1.19/lb for just $4.53, these two drumsticks ended up being the stars of two delicious meat mains.

There were a few other ingredients that seemed essential to maintain that Thanksgiving vibe: cranberries (for sauce), potatoes (for mash), rosemary (for flavor), celery and onion (for stuffing), pumpkin (for pie), and butter (for all that is good in life). With my remaining funds I scored a few additional deals, including a bag of dried red chilis (for Aaron!), Brussels (for health!), butternut squash (it was only $1!), mushrooms (for gravy), and a pint of half & half (for creaminess).

The process

Cooking everything took two long days&mdashand of course, eating it took just 20 minutes. On day 1, I roasted veggies, made a stock with turkey bones and vegetable scraps, baked some potatoes, steamed the kabocha squash, and made my cranberry sauce. As the sunlight disappeared into the evening and the walls of my apartment began to sweat more than I did, I decided I would not be making a traditional pumpkin pie after all.

I rose earlier on day two and got up while it was still dark to really kick things into high gear. I made the dough from Lauren's ridiculously beautiful apple tart recipe, and paired it with a kabocha squash filling, crossed my fingers and wished for the best. And what do you know, it was the first time I can recall anything in 2020 turning out so smoothly!

The rest was honestly a whirlwind and a blur. I made so many sides: lemony roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy twice-baked mashed potatoes, a savory butternut squash pie with a curried potato crust, and some no-bread potato stuffing with tiny roasted potato cubes that were first boiled then roasted to golden, crunchy perfection.

This was perhaps the most classic Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. I cut my finger, I yelled, I cried, and then I smiled and ate with relief and happiness. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant household, I've never cooked a spread like this before, but according to Aaron, I did good: 10/10 good, in fact. Not bad for a first-timer!


How To Cook A Thanksgiving Spread For 4 On A $25 Budget

June, Delish's senior food producer and resident budget eats expert, set out to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the cheap: $25 for a 4-person dinner. Watch to see how she fared&mdashand catch the rest of her series Budget Eats on YouTube!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, but holidays will probably look very different for many of us this year. With limited travel, self-imposed quarantines, and safety measures in place, families and friends will probably be joining each other virtually, sharing their food spreads visually rather than bumping elbows at the communal table. As sad as that might sound, 2020 is a year which has taught us that traditions can always evolve to suit our needs and unexpected circumstances. With that in mind, Julia and I decided to apply our $25 budget eats framework to the food-centric Thanksgiving meal.

Queen Julia's parameters for our $25 day of thanks were as follows:

  1. A one-time meal for four people for Thanksgiving
  2. Must include turkey, 2 sides, and a dessert

What can $25 buy? A lot, it turns out&mdashif you shop around, you can maybe get as lucky as I got and round up enough food to feed six-to-eight people, especially if you skip on buying an entire turkey. (If you're not on a tight budget, check out Julia's taste test of Thanksgiving meal delivery services.)

Because I only live with my partner Aaron and our apartment isn't quite big enough to responsibly host two more friends for a socially-distanced meal, we had quite a feast.

While meat doesn't always make it into our budget meals, turkey day just doesn't seem right without its eponymous item: I could not skip out on turkey altogether. After a brisk half-hour stroll around my neighborhood, I chanced upon some ginormous turkey drumsticks that rang in at $1.19/lb for just $4.53, these two drumsticks ended up being the stars of two delicious meat mains.

There were a few other ingredients that seemed essential to maintain that Thanksgiving vibe: cranberries (for sauce), potatoes (for mash), rosemary (for flavor), celery and onion (for stuffing), pumpkin (for pie), and butter (for all that is good in life). With my remaining funds I scored a few additional deals, including a bag of dried red chilis (for Aaron!), Brussels (for health!), butternut squash (it was only $1!), mushrooms (for gravy), and a pint of half & half (for creaminess).

The process

Cooking everything took two long days&mdashand of course, eating it took just 20 minutes. On day 1, I roasted veggies, made a stock with turkey bones and vegetable scraps, baked some potatoes, steamed the kabocha squash, and made my cranberry sauce. As the sunlight disappeared into the evening and the walls of my apartment began to sweat more than I did, I decided I would not be making a traditional pumpkin pie after all.

I rose earlier on day two and got up while it was still dark to really kick things into high gear. I made the dough from Lauren's ridiculously beautiful apple tart recipe, and paired it with a kabocha squash filling, crossed my fingers and wished for the best. And what do you know, it was the first time I can recall anything in 2020 turning out so smoothly!

The rest was honestly a whirlwind and a blur. I made so many sides: lemony roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy twice-baked mashed potatoes, a savory butternut squash pie with a curried potato crust, and some no-bread potato stuffing with tiny roasted potato cubes that were first boiled then roasted to golden, crunchy perfection.

This was perhaps the most classic Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. I cut my finger, I yelled, I cried, and then I smiled and ate with relief and happiness. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant household, I've never cooked a spread like this before, but according to Aaron, I did good: 10/10 good, in fact. Not bad for a first-timer!


How To Cook A Thanksgiving Spread For 4 On A $25 Budget

June, Delish's senior food producer and resident budget eats expert, set out to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the cheap: $25 for a 4-person dinner. Watch to see how she fared&mdashand catch the rest of her series Budget Eats on YouTube!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, but holidays will probably look very different for many of us this year. With limited travel, self-imposed quarantines, and safety measures in place, families and friends will probably be joining each other virtually, sharing their food spreads visually rather than bumping elbows at the communal table. As sad as that might sound, 2020 is a year which has taught us that traditions can always evolve to suit our needs and unexpected circumstances. With that in mind, Julia and I decided to apply our $25 budget eats framework to the food-centric Thanksgiving meal.

Queen Julia's parameters for our $25 day of thanks were as follows:

  1. A one-time meal for four people for Thanksgiving
  2. Must include turkey, 2 sides, and a dessert

What can $25 buy? A lot, it turns out&mdashif you shop around, you can maybe get as lucky as I got and round up enough food to feed six-to-eight people, especially if you skip on buying an entire turkey. (If you're not on a tight budget, check out Julia's taste test of Thanksgiving meal delivery services.)

Because I only live with my partner Aaron and our apartment isn't quite big enough to responsibly host two more friends for a socially-distanced meal, we had quite a feast.

While meat doesn't always make it into our budget meals, turkey day just doesn't seem right without its eponymous item: I could not skip out on turkey altogether. After a brisk half-hour stroll around my neighborhood, I chanced upon some ginormous turkey drumsticks that rang in at $1.19/lb for just $4.53, these two drumsticks ended up being the stars of two delicious meat mains.

There were a few other ingredients that seemed essential to maintain that Thanksgiving vibe: cranberries (for sauce), potatoes (for mash), rosemary (for flavor), celery and onion (for stuffing), pumpkin (for pie), and butter (for all that is good in life). With my remaining funds I scored a few additional deals, including a bag of dried red chilis (for Aaron!), Brussels (for health!), butternut squash (it was only $1!), mushrooms (for gravy), and a pint of half & half (for creaminess).

The process

Cooking everything took two long days&mdashand of course, eating it took just 20 minutes. On day 1, I roasted veggies, made a stock with turkey bones and vegetable scraps, baked some potatoes, steamed the kabocha squash, and made my cranberry sauce. As the sunlight disappeared into the evening and the walls of my apartment began to sweat more than I did, I decided I would not be making a traditional pumpkin pie after all.

I rose earlier on day two and got up while it was still dark to really kick things into high gear. I made the dough from Lauren's ridiculously beautiful apple tart recipe, and paired it with a kabocha squash filling, crossed my fingers and wished for the best. And what do you know, it was the first time I can recall anything in 2020 turning out so smoothly!

The rest was honestly a whirlwind and a blur. I made so many sides: lemony roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy twice-baked mashed potatoes, a savory butternut squash pie with a curried potato crust, and some no-bread potato stuffing with tiny roasted potato cubes that were first boiled then roasted to golden, crunchy perfection.

This was perhaps the most classic Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. I cut my finger, I yelled, I cried, and then I smiled and ate with relief and happiness. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant household, I've never cooked a spread like this before, but according to Aaron, I did good: 10/10 good, in fact. Not bad for a first-timer!


How To Cook A Thanksgiving Spread For 4 On A $25 Budget

June, Delish's senior food producer and resident budget eats expert, set out to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the cheap: $25 for a 4-person dinner. Watch to see how she fared&mdashand catch the rest of her series Budget Eats on YouTube!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, but holidays will probably look very different for many of us this year. With limited travel, self-imposed quarantines, and safety measures in place, families and friends will probably be joining each other virtually, sharing their food spreads visually rather than bumping elbows at the communal table. As sad as that might sound, 2020 is a year which has taught us that traditions can always evolve to suit our needs and unexpected circumstances. With that in mind, Julia and I decided to apply our $25 budget eats framework to the food-centric Thanksgiving meal.

Queen Julia's parameters for our $25 day of thanks were as follows:

  1. A one-time meal for four people for Thanksgiving
  2. Must include turkey, 2 sides, and a dessert

What can $25 buy? A lot, it turns out&mdashif you shop around, you can maybe get as lucky as I got and round up enough food to feed six-to-eight people, especially if you skip on buying an entire turkey. (If you're not on a tight budget, check out Julia's taste test of Thanksgiving meal delivery services.)

Because I only live with my partner Aaron and our apartment isn't quite big enough to responsibly host two more friends for a socially-distanced meal, we had quite a feast.

While meat doesn't always make it into our budget meals, turkey day just doesn't seem right without its eponymous item: I could not skip out on turkey altogether. After a brisk half-hour stroll around my neighborhood, I chanced upon some ginormous turkey drumsticks that rang in at $1.19/lb for just $4.53, these two drumsticks ended up being the stars of two delicious meat mains.

There were a few other ingredients that seemed essential to maintain that Thanksgiving vibe: cranberries (for sauce), potatoes (for mash), rosemary (for flavor), celery and onion (for stuffing), pumpkin (for pie), and butter (for all that is good in life). With my remaining funds I scored a few additional deals, including a bag of dried red chilis (for Aaron!), Brussels (for health!), butternut squash (it was only $1!), mushrooms (for gravy), and a pint of half & half (for creaminess).

The process

Cooking everything took two long days&mdashand of course, eating it took just 20 minutes. On day 1, I roasted veggies, made a stock with turkey bones and vegetable scraps, baked some potatoes, steamed the kabocha squash, and made my cranberry sauce. As the sunlight disappeared into the evening and the walls of my apartment began to sweat more than I did, I decided I would not be making a traditional pumpkin pie after all.

I rose earlier on day two and got up while it was still dark to really kick things into high gear. I made the dough from Lauren's ridiculously beautiful apple tart recipe, and paired it with a kabocha squash filling, crossed my fingers and wished for the best. And what do you know, it was the first time I can recall anything in 2020 turning out so smoothly!

The rest was honestly a whirlwind and a blur. I made so many sides: lemony roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy twice-baked mashed potatoes, a savory butternut squash pie with a curried potato crust, and some no-bread potato stuffing with tiny roasted potato cubes that were first boiled then roasted to golden, crunchy perfection.

This was perhaps the most classic Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. I cut my finger, I yelled, I cried, and then I smiled and ate with relief and happiness. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant household, I've never cooked a spread like this before, but according to Aaron, I did good: 10/10 good, in fact. Not bad for a first-timer!


How To Cook A Thanksgiving Spread For 4 On A $25 Budget

June, Delish's senior food producer and resident budget eats expert, set out to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the cheap: $25 for a 4-person dinner. Watch to see how she fared&mdashand catch the rest of her series Budget Eats on YouTube!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, but holidays will probably look very different for many of us this year. With limited travel, self-imposed quarantines, and safety measures in place, families and friends will probably be joining each other virtually, sharing their food spreads visually rather than bumping elbows at the communal table. As sad as that might sound, 2020 is a year which has taught us that traditions can always evolve to suit our needs and unexpected circumstances. With that in mind, Julia and I decided to apply our $25 budget eats framework to the food-centric Thanksgiving meal.

Queen Julia's parameters for our $25 day of thanks were as follows:

  1. A one-time meal for four people for Thanksgiving
  2. Must include turkey, 2 sides, and a dessert

What can $25 buy? A lot, it turns out&mdashif you shop around, you can maybe get as lucky as I got and round up enough food to feed six-to-eight people, especially if you skip on buying an entire turkey. (If you're not on a tight budget, check out Julia's taste test of Thanksgiving meal delivery services.)

Because I only live with my partner Aaron and our apartment isn't quite big enough to responsibly host two more friends for a socially-distanced meal, we had quite a feast.

While meat doesn't always make it into our budget meals, turkey day just doesn't seem right without its eponymous item: I could not skip out on turkey altogether. After a brisk half-hour stroll around my neighborhood, I chanced upon some ginormous turkey drumsticks that rang in at $1.19/lb for just $4.53, these two drumsticks ended up being the stars of two delicious meat mains.

There were a few other ingredients that seemed essential to maintain that Thanksgiving vibe: cranberries (for sauce), potatoes (for mash), rosemary (for flavor), celery and onion (for stuffing), pumpkin (for pie), and butter (for all that is good in life). With my remaining funds I scored a few additional deals, including a bag of dried red chilis (for Aaron!), Brussels (for health!), butternut squash (it was only $1!), mushrooms (for gravy), and a pint of half & half (for creaminess).

The process

Cooking everything took two long days&mdashand of course, eating it took just 20 minutes. On day 1, I roasted veggies, made a stock with turkey bones and vegetable scraps, baked some potatoes, steamed the kabocha squash, and made my cranberry sauce. As the sunlight disappeared into the evening and the walls of my apartment began to sweat more than I did, I decided I would not be making a traditional pumpkin pie after all.

I rose earlier on day two and got up while it was still dark to really kick things into high gear. I made the dough from Lauren's ridiculously beautiful apple tart recipe, and paired it with a kabocha squash filling, crossed my fingers and wished for the best. And what do you know, it was the first time I can recall anything in 2020 turning out so smoothly!

The rest was honestly a whirlwind and a blur. I made so many sides: lemony roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy twice-baked mashed potatoes, a savory butternut squash pie with a curried potato crust, and some no-bread potato stuffing with tiny roasted potato cubes that were first boiled then roasted to golden, crunchy perfection.

This was perhaps the most classic Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. I cut my finger, I yelled, I cried, and then I smiled and ate with relief and happiness. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant household, I've never cooked a spread like this before, but according to Aaron, I did good: 10/10 good, in fact. Not bad for a first-timer!


How To Cook A Thanksgiving Spread For 4 On A $25 Budget

June, Delish's senior food producer and resident budget eats expert, set out to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the cheap: $25 for a 4-person dinner. Watch to see how she fared&mdashand catch the rest of her series Budget Eats on YouTube!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, but holidays will probably look very different for many of us this year. With limited travel, self-imposed quarantines, and safety measures in place, families and friends will probably be joining each other virtually, sharing their food spreads visually rather than bumping elbows at the communal table. As sad as that might sound, 2020 is a year which has taught us that traditions can always evolve to suit our needs and unexpected circumstances. With that in mind, Julia and I decided to apply our $25 budget eats framework to the food-centric Thanksgiving meal.

Queen Julia's parameters for our $25 day of thanks were as follows:

  1. A one-time meal for four people for Thanksgiving
  2. Must include turkey, 2 sides, and a dessert

What can $25 buy? A lot, it turns out&mdashif you shop around, you can maybe get as lucky as I got and round up enough food to feed six-to-eight people, especially if you skip on buying an entire turkey. (If you're not on a tight budget, check out Julia's taste test of Thanksgiving meal delivery services.)

Because I only live with my partner Aaron and our apartment isn't quite big enough to responsibly host two more friends for a socially-distanced meal, we had quite a feast.

While meat doesn't always make it into our budget meals, turkey day just doesn't seem right without its eponymous item: I could not skip out on turkey altogether. After a brisk half-hour stroll around my neighborhood, I chanced upon some ginormous turkey drumsticks that rang in at $1.19/lb for just $4.53, these two drumsticks ended up being the stars of two delicious meat mains.

There were a few other ingredients that seemed essential to maintain that Thanksgiving vibe: cranberries (for sauce), potatoes (for mash), rosemary (for flavor), celery and onion (for stuffing), pumpkin (for pie), and butter (for all that is good in life). With my remaining funds I scored a few additional deals, including a bag of dried red chilis (for Aaron!), Brussels (for health!), butternut squash (it was only $1!), mushrooms (for gravy), and a pint of half & half (for creaminess).

The process

Cooking everything took two long days&mdashand of course, eating it took just 20 minutes. On day 1, I roasted veggies, made a stock with turkey bones and vegetable scraps, baked some potatoes, steamed the kabocha squash, and made my cranberry sauce. As the sunlight disappeared into the evening and the walls of my apartment began to sweat more than I did, I decided I would not be making a traditional pumpkin pie after all.

I rose earlier on day two and got up while it was still dark to really kick things into high gear. I made the dough from Lauren's ridiculously beautiful apple tart recipe, and paired it with a kabocha squash filling, crossed my fingers and wished for the best. And what do you know, it was the first time I can recall anything in 2020 turning out so smoothly!

The rest was honestly a whirlwind and a blur. I made so many sides: lemony roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy twice-baked mashed potatoes, a savory butternut squash pie with a curried potato crust, and some no-bread potato stuffing with tiny roasted potato cubes that were first boiled then roasted to golden, crunchy perfection.

This was perhaps the most classic Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. I cut my finger, I yelled, I cried, and then I smiled and ate with relief and happiness. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant household, I've never cooked a spread like this before, but according to Aaron, I did good: 10/10 good, in fact. Not bad for a first-timer!


How To Cook A Thanksgiving Spread For 4 On A $25 Budget

June, Delish's senior food producer and resident budget eats expert, set out to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the cheap: $25 for a 4-person dinner. Watch to see how she fared&mdashand catch the rest of her series Budget Eats on YouTube!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, but holidays will probably look very different for many of us this year. With limited travel, self-imposed quarantines, and safety measures in place, families and friends will probably be joining each other virtually, sharing their food spreads visually rather than bumping elbows at the communal table. As sad as that might sound, 2020 is a year which has taught us that traditions can always evolve to suit our needs and unexpected circumstances. With that in mind, Julia and I decided to apply our $25 budget eats framework to the food-centric Thanksgiving meal.

Queen Julia's parameters for our $25 day of thanks were as follows:

  1. A one-time meal for four people for Thanksgiving
  2. Must include turkey, 2 sides, and a dessert

What can $25 buy? A lot, it turns out&mdashif you shop around, you can maybe get as lucky as I got and round up enough food to feed six-to-eight people, especially if you skip on buying an entire turkey. (If you're not on a tight budget, check out Julia's taste test of Thanksgiving meal delivery services.)

Because I only live with my partner Aaron and our apartment isn't quite big enough to responsibly host two more friends for a socially-distanced meal, we had quite a feast.

While meat doesn't always make it into our budget meals, turkey day just doesn't seem right without its eponymous item: I could not skip out on turkey altogether. After a brisk half-hour stroll around my neighborhood, I chanced upon some ginormous turkey drumsticks that rang in at $1.19/lb for just $4.53, these two drumsticks ended up being the stars of two delicious meat mains.

There were a few other ingredients that seemed essential to maintain that Thanksgiving vibe: cranberries (for sauce), potatoes (for mash), rosemary (for flavor), celery and onion (for stuffing), pumpkin (for pie), and butter (for all that is good in life). With my remaining funds I scored a few additional deals, including a bag of dried red chilis (for Aaron!), Brussels (for health!), butternut squash (it was only $1!), mushrooms (for gravy), and a pint of half & half (for creaminess).

The process

Cooking everything took two long days&mdashand of course, eating it took just 20 minutes. On day 1, I roasted veggies, made a stock with turkey bones and vegetable scraps, baked some potatoes, steamed the kabocha squash, and made my cranberry sauce. As the sunlight disappeared into the evening and the walls of my apartment began to sweat more than I did, I decided I would not be making a traditional pumpkin pie after all.

I rose earlier on day two and got up while it was still dark to really kick things into high gear. I made the dough from Lauren's ridiculously beautiful apple tart recipe, and paired it with a kabocha squash filling, crossed my fingers and wished for the best. And what do you know, it was the first time I can recall anything in 2020 turning out so smoothly!

The rest was honestly a whirlwind and a blur. I made so many sides: lemony roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy twice-baked mashed potatoes, a savory butternut squash pie with a curried potato crust, and some no-bread potato stuffing with tiny roasted potato cubes that were first boiled then roasted to golden, crunchy perfection.

This was perhaps the most classic Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. I cut my finger, I yelled, I cried, and then I smiled and ate with relief and happiness. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant household, I've never cooked a spread like this before, but according to Aaron, I did good: 10/10 good, in fact. Not bad for a first-timer!


Watch the video: Come to my Thanksgiving with Me! Recipes. Table Decor. Devon Windsor (September 2021).