Don’t be tempted to use one of the endless “fancy” recipes that flood the magazine racks this holiday season! In the past, I confess that I have succumbed to this temptation after drooling over a vivid photo of “7 Layer Luscious Something” in the grocery store line. After several departures from traditional, tried-and-true holiday recipes, I finally said “No more!” I have spent more money, more time, more stress, and had more unwanted, wasted leftovers that have resulted from trying these fancy recipes!
I’m now passionate about the fact that simple, good, traditional recipes are always a winner! Give me some “straight-up,” quality recipes that will entice everyone from Aunt Eunice to my own 10 year old, and I’ll be happy. Leave out the weird ingredients please! The last thing I want is to go through the trouble of fixing a dish only to find three fourths of it left alone and rejected.
This new strategy has worked so well for me that I’d suggest you try it too! Why bother dealing with the the hassle and the hit to your grocery budget that results from these fancy recipes? Instead, focus on the simplicity of family time around a traditional, affordable, savory meal.
And if you don’t have practical, traditional recipes for budget-friendly meals, E-Mealz offers some awesome options that are conveniently accompanied by a complete, priced grocery list. And if you’re looking for some holiday meal recipes in particular, check out the holiday dinner makeover recipes.
For some more specific money-saving tips, make sure to look for recipes that:
- Require fewer ingredients. For example, go with basic pumpkin pie instead of specialty pumpkin pie (which would require twice the number of ingredients).
- Use basic, staple, and stockpile ingredients for over half of the ingredients.
- Use products that typically go on sale all year and frequently can be bought with discount grocery coupons, such as canned vegetables and pasta.
- Don’t include specialty, pricey ingredients with extras that go to waste. If you really want to add a fancy taste to your meals, check out these frugal gourmet ingredients.
- Utilize seasonal “on sale” items, especially produce.
- Lend themselves to leftovers! Why not make multiple meals for all that effort you’re putting in?
Here’s an example of one awesome and simple recipe:
- 3 cups diced leftover turkey
- 1 cups chopped celery
- 1 cups shopped onion
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 small can sliced mushrooms
- 2 oz package of slivered mushrooms
Mix all ingredients together. Pour into casserole dish and crumble crackers on top. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Then, serve the hot turkey mixture over steamed rice and sprinkle chow mein noodles over top. And voila, you’re done!
A delicious and satisfying meal does not require a fancy recipe name or fancy ingredients. A little creativity mixed in with some frugality can lead to some of the best meals!
Jane DeLaney is the Founder and CEO of E-Mealz, Inc. E-Mealz provides a simple on-line meal planning system based around Jane’s own frugal organization structure and delicious recipes that the whole family can enjoy. Visit E-Mealz for more information.
(photo credit: Shutterstock)