For the holidays, you do not have to spend a fortune on the feast. Rather than shelling out large amounts of money on meats and sides, prepare your own at home with lower-cost ingredients dressed up with some garnishes and special touches to make the meal memorable. Happy holiday memories do not correlate to the price of the food.
Potluck Holiday Dinner
Break up the cost and labor of preparing a holiday meal by having everyone bring a dish for a potluck-style dinner. Options for a potluck include casserole dishes which do not require preparing individual servings. Think beyond green bean casserole and potato salad by looking at large pots of chili or soup for a more casual holiday affair. Arrange the food in a buffet format to reduce the amount of labor required to plate and serve all of the guests.
Consider lasagna for an alternative to a traditional meat entree. Dozens of lasagna recipes exist, and you can mix and match meats, cheese and sauce options to create your own. Consult a cookbook or the Internet for lasagna recipes. Consider preparing a small vegetarian lasagna as an alternative to the meat-laden entree of a traditional meal. Offer sides of garlic bread and fresh tossed salads to round out the meal.
Eggs cost less than a whole ham, lamb or turkey. This year, save money by making one of your holiday meals an elegant brunch. Though associated with the spring holidays of Easter and Mother's Day, a holiday brunch is in fashion any time of the year. Prepare a main dish of an elegant quiche or a breakfast strata served with mimosas for the adults and orange juice for the children. Offer a fresh fruit salad or seasonal berries and some breakfast pastries to complete this holiday meal option.