How to Celebrate Thanksgiving on a Dime

Posted on 16th Oct, 2019 by Bonnie

Thanksgiving is one of the most budget-friendly holidays to celebrate, thanks to no customary gift exchange and its communal feast. But whether you go to a dinner or host your own event, you’ll likely need to provide one (or more) dish or side to share.

Depending on your culinary skills, cooking can be challenging and some ingredients are pricey. Proteins and main courses are typically more expensive to prepare, and store-bought platters and sides just don’t have the same appeal as a thoughtful, home-cooked dish. It’s the perfect time to get creative and practice a new recipe for your loved ones!

For your wallet’s sake, we’ll focus on the less expensive (and impressive) sides, drinks and appetizers you can bring to the table. Check out five of the best budget-friendly recipes you’ll be proud to bring to your next Thanksgiving dinner.

Everyone expects a potato dish at Thanksgiving, but this casserole-style side goes the extra mile. It’s perfect as-is, or you can spice it up with anything from ham or bacon to spices and garnishes like pecorino, chives and leeks for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Using a large pot to precook the potatoes, cover them with roughly 2 inches of water. Season the water with salt. Over medium-high stovetop heat, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for roughly 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft enough to easily slice with a knife. Drain the water and set aside the potatoes, allowing them to cool a bit.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with garlic, melted butter, heavy cream and sour cream as you salt to taste. Peel the cooled potatoes and use your method of choice to mash them (by hand, or use a food mill or food processor). Fold in the mashed potatoes to the whisked ingredients, but do not overmix it.

Pour the mix into a baking dish; you can easily make a fanned pattern for the extra decorative effect. Bake for roughly 35 minutes and rotate the dish once about halfway through. The potatoes should look golden-brown with a puffy, slightly raised crust when it’s done cooking.


This savory and sweet appetizer brings a new twist to the traditional brie dish; you can even serve this at breakfast or for dessert. Make sure to include your favorite bread, crackers or fruit for dipping.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small, oven-safe cooking dish, use nonstick cooking spray and place the cheese in the dish. Coat the cheese with sour cream as if it were icing on a cake.  Dust the brown sugar over the top and add the pecan slices or pieces. Dot the top of the brie with butter.

Bake for roughly 15 minutes until the cheese softens. Increase the oven’s temperature to 425 degrees and bake for roughly 5 minutes longer until you see the top bubbling with brown sugar and melting cheese on the bottom. Serve and enjoy.


With a festive, fizzy drink guests of all ages will enjoy, you’ll be well-suited to rise early for Black Friday, if you dare. Better yet, this alcohol-free mocktail has only three ingredients!

Combine the berry syrup, apple cider and sparkling water in a glass. Add ice to suit your preference. Enjoy!

For berry syrup:

Add the sugar and berries (still frozen) to a heavy-bottomed sauce pot over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until the mixture is thick and the berries are soft.

Strain the berry mixture and allow it to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate in an airtight container.


Most of the top recipes for this delicious dish have all the same ingredients: brussel sprouts, olive oil and black pepper. Roasting your sprouts allows the leaves to caramelize and crisp, which gives them a more satisfying flavor profile than you’d get if you cooked them with water. While you only need a few ingredients to let the flavor really shine, a layer of parmesan cheese or panko crumbs would complement them perfectly if you have a little more room in your budget.

Remove any outer yellow leaves from the brussel sprouts and trim off the ends. You can also cut them in half if you prefer, which may reduce cooking time. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large, sealable plastic bag or mixing bowl, combine the brussel sprouts with salt, olive oil and pepper, evenly coating the brussel sprouts. Add the sprouts to a baking sheet and use the oven’s center rack.

Roast for roughly 35 minutes or until the brussel sprouts are dark brown or nearly black. Gently shake pan every few minutes during baking to evenly cook all sides. Add salt to taste and serve.


For a bright, citrusy flavor, opt for these green beans over the typical green bean casserole you’ve seen year after year at the table. These nutritious beans are light, yet satisfying without all the sodium you’d get from foods out of a can.

In a skillet, add 1 inch of water and bring the water to boil. Add green beans and orange peel; cook four to five minutes until the beans look bright green. Drain the water and throw away the orange peel. Combine the butter, fresh chives, salt and beans and serve.


Actual cooking times may vary.

About Bonnie

Bonnie is a Chicago transplant who's committed to seeing the world on a dime. As an avid news junkie with an affinity for finance, she loves to help others do more with less.