Sunday, November 23, 2014

An affordable Thanksgiving


Yesterday found me wrapping up my shopping for Thanksgiving, which we will have here at home, just the family of 6, ages 16 and up so almost 6 adults, as far as appetites are concerned. I played the game of grocery store roulette and bought what I wanted at the cheapest prices:

Turkey: I took advantage of a price match and now have one 39 cent/lb turkey in the freezer for another time. Joining it,is a 59 cent/lb turkey. I am splurging on an organic, pasture raised, local, heritage breed turkey, that I am able to access through my organic CSA, I will pick that up tomorrow. It's pricey, even with my CSA member discount, at $7/lb. From the turkey, naturally we have our meat portions, but I will also make my own gravy, using butter, all purpose flour, salt, pepper, Bell's seasoning (just bought my one a year box @ $1.99). The caracass will be picked clean, sliced meat reserved for sandwiches and some frozen. Cubed meat will be fzn also for a stew/pot pie/tettrazzini and scraps will be diced and frozen for tacos/chilli/enchilladas. The bone stock will be defatted, frozen in quart containers for future soups, stews, gravies. I still would like to pick up 2 more birds by Christmas, to help get us thru the Winter months. By cooking one turkey/turkey breast a  month, we can have affordable meat protein at the table. Meat prices are shooting through the roof!

Mashed potatoes: no need to buy any as we've amassed about 10 lbs recently from the CSA. Milk, butter, salt/pepper and onion powder already on hand.

Sweet potatoes: 3 lb bag @ 99 cents from Aldi's (other shops: 59/79/$1 a lb) I will turn these into sweet potatoe casserole using butter, brown sugar cinnamon, marshmallows ($1/bag)

green bean casserole: lots of deals recently on canned veggies, so I will grab 2 cans off of the pantry shelves knowing that I paid approx 40 cents/can. Cream mushroom soup on hand (50 cents), milk, pepper, soy sauce, french fried onions ($1.99 large tub)

relish tray: home made bread and butter pickles, homemade dilly beans, canned black olives ($1), homemade pickled green tomatoes

Cheese/crackers: box of Ritz ($1.88), tub of Alouette garlic and herb soft cheese $3 (bogo)

sausage stuffing: Jimmy Dean roll pork sage sausage ($3.50), seasoned bread cubes (Aldis-forget the price, but cheap), onion/celery on hand, along with butter, turkey stock from pan, mushrooms ($1.19 large tub)

Crescent rolls (a request): 2 tubes @ $1.27 each after sale plus cpns

White wine (under $10)

Creamed onions: fzn box of Birds Eye onions in cream sauace ($1), add some black pepper, done

Cranberry sauce: homemade and canned-less than $1/jar

Cran-orange relish: navel orange (paid $4/approx 8 oranges), bag of fresh cranberries ($1 Aldi's vs $2.50 at S & S), sugar on hand

Dessert:pumpkin pies will be homemade BUT, I will use Pillsbury pie crusts ($1.50 ea after sale plus cpn), baked pumpkin puree (from CSA), sugar, spices, eggs (Dollar Tree 8 count/$1) and evaporated milk (89 cents). I have a pint of whipping cream ($3? at Price Rite) as well as a tub of vanilla bean ice cream ($1.99) to top a final pie: apple, which I will make again turning to the Pillsbury pie crusts, apples already on hand (paid less than $1/lb) sugar, tapioca, spices, butter.

Tea/coffee always available but I also grabbed a bottle of Cranberry juice for a starter ($1.88)

I cook for a 12 noon serving time, then clean up the kitchen, get the carcass squared away, the bone stock in the CrockPot, and then I can relax. Y.O.Y.O. for supper-grab a plate and heat it up or make a sandwich. Planned overs will get incorporated in the days immediately following, to be sure.


Nancy said...

Sounds wonderful. I recently read an article online where the author purchased all the goodies for Thanksgiving dinner at Aldi. Spent $45 for a meal for 4-6 people. I think Aldi might be trending.

Lena said...

Sounds like a delicious dinner planned.

CTMOM said...

I've shopped Aldi's for years, even driving some distance for a once a month stock up. fast forward and now that there is one in my shopping circles (the city north of here where I do most of my shopping, have MD's etc) it definately is my go to store. Case in point: bag of cranberries are 99 cents at Aldi's, but across the street at Stop and Shop they are selling for $2.50-same size bag. I am carefully watching my pennies.

mikemax said...

We always eat our Thanksgiving dinner at 6, a throwback to my working years when I always had to cook the whole thing in one day. Now it's a tradition. We broke with tradition this year and had our big dinner at 6 (of course) this past Friday, when our son was here from Wyoming.

I am 68 years old, and last week, someone FINALLY taught me how to make and handle piecrust and get it into the pan in one piece. So, I celebrated and made two beautiful pies--a classic pumpkin and an apple with crisp topping. The lady who taught my 63-year-old friend and me is 88 years young and used to teach home ec and work for a flour company. What I learned: the recipe I've used for years contains too much shortening and water; delicious, but too soft. Also, I bought a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover, and they make ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

CTMOM said...

Pie crust can be a challenge. My Mom is an awesome cook, but one thing she struggles with is pie crust. I am pretty good at crust, but my tricks are to never attempt it if it's humid, work on a counter or a waist high table so as to get good pressure with my rolling pin. I'm cheating a bit this year. Ive bought multiple pkgs of Pillsbury crusts, combining sale plus coupons so paying $1.50/box. Cheap enough, and saves my hands, which as you know, have issues.

Marcia in rural WNY said...

I started practicing pie crust when I was 13--and still make my own. It's second nature now, although I don't use Mom's recipe with Crisco anymore--I use a canola oil crust for a low fat version. I roll it out between 2 pieces of waxed paper (cereal bags unfolded) because I always hated cleaning the table off after rolling the crust out. It's a decent crust, although a bit tougher to the tooth than my original recipe. I also use skim milk, or evaporated skim milk in my pie fillings. I have atherosclerosis and I wouldn't be eating many pies with Crisco in them any more!!
Pie crust just takes practice, IMO. My hardest hurdles were lemon meringue pie, and biscuits. I still don't have cooked meringue shells down pat, but I can make plenty of other desserts, so I just don't make them.

mikemax said...

Carol, one of the things I learned about was humidity. Marion, our instructor, said to add ice water one tablespoon at a time, sprinkling it over the top of the flour mixture and tossing lightly with a fork. You have the right amount of moisture when the dough just starts to clean the bowl, then form into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes. It is easier to roll after chilling and it gives the gluten a chance to develop.

The recipe Marion told us to use was 1 cup flour to 1/3 cup shortening, 1/2 tsp. salt and water only as needed above. She said she usually uses 3 cups of flour to make a big double-crust pie or two single shells (I made a 10" and a 9" with 3 cups of flour). The real secret, though, is the pastry cloth and rolling pin cover. Nothing sticks, and you aren't adding flour to an already stiff dough.

I never particularly cared for my mother's piecrust, but she definitely had the knack with it. She could knock out a couple of pies in nothing flat. I obviously did not inherit this ability, LOL.

BTW, I've never had great luck getting the Pillsbury refrigerated crusts into the pan in one piece, either.

Anonymous said...

This is why I love reading overseas blog's as I have never heard of creamed onions before but they sound intriguing so will Google them and see what they actually are.
Have loved reading all the Thanksgiving menus as we do not have this celebration, you all put so much love and effort into it and then do it all again for Christmas.