When planning and shopping for a holiday dinner, it is often astounding how much money gets spent on not the main dish of the meal, but the side dishes. After all, the total cost of a turkey, ham or whole chicken can pale in comparison to the total spent on all the little side dishes served with it. If you are looking to cut down on some of the expense of your holiday meal, but not on the quality and taste of your meal, you have come to the right place. Here are some easy to follow tips on saving a nice amount of change on your holiday dinner side dishes.
Serve Only a Few Favorite Sides.
Many people cover the Thanksgiving dinner table with bowls and dishes of side dishes, simply because that it is always the way it has been done. If you are looking to save some money on the overall cost of your dinner, reduce the number of side dishes you offer with your meal. One starch and a choice of two different vegetables is more than enough to serve alongside your meat.
Use Store Brand Ingredients and Products.
The quality of the store brand food items has risen dramatically over the years. The difference in taste between a store brand item and a more popular brand name item is often negligible. Consider serving store brand frozen vegetables, condiments and ingredients needed to whip up your famous side dishes from scratch. You may be surprised at how much money you can save on the total cost of the meal after making a switch to generic store brand items that are needed for the side dishes.
Ask Guests to Contribute a Side for the Meal.
If you are the type of hostess who regularly waves away offers of contributing to the meal, make this the year that you accept. Assign a side to every person who asks. He or she will surely be thrilled to make an offering to the meal and relive a bit of the burden on you. If it works out that all the side dishes are taken care of, and you merely need to be concerned with the meat, salad and dessert, wonderful! Consider this a blessing and enjoy the fun of trying your guests’ contributions when you sit down to eat.
Carefully Weigh the Price of Cooking From Scratch To Store Bought Side Dishes.
Of course it is always preferable to cook meals from scratch for the holidays, but it is simply not always possible. Well before the holiday arrives, make a list of what ingredients are needed for your planned sides. Be sure to include all the items that are needed, including flour, milk, butter, eggs and so forth. Make a separate list of the comparable side dishes that can be purchased already made. Note the total price of both lists and make your decision from there.
Accept the Fact that you Can’t Please Everyone this Holiday.
If your son is requesting your green bean casserole and your spouse wants your twice baked potatoes and your sister says it simply won’t be a holiday without your rice pilaf, take a deep breath before making yet another trip to the store. When it is imperative that less money needs to be spent on this Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner than in years past, cuts need to be made whether the guests are happy about it or not. Focus on offering sides that are sure to please all the guests rather than catering to the whims of one or two. Simply explain to your family or friends that while you are happy to host the holiday dinner this year, the recession has made it necessary to scale back on your spread, but that you are quite happy that you are all together again another year.