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Budgeting to Feed a Crowd

Budgeting to Feed a CrowdA friend of mine had heard we are having our family dinner for Thanksgiving at my house and made the comment that she could never afford to feed so many people. I told her it was easy on the budget, if you plan ahead.

 

The turkey with a stuffing package inside.

How to Easily Stuff and Unstuff a TurkeyOne member of my family insists on stuffing cooked in the turkey at Thanksgiving. I do that, as well as a separate casserole of stuffing. I noticed that much of the stuffing that goes into the bird gets stuck in the nooks and crannies. And it's kind of a pain to stuff the bird and have to find a way to keep it from spilling out.

 

A Thanksgiving dinner served on paper plates.

Setting The Thanksgiving TableSome might think we non believers are a shallow, misguided, ungrateful lot. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While we may not practice a ritualized, much commercialized form of giving thanks to a deity, we too can deeply appreciate, even be humbled by, what we have.

 

Recipes for Thanksgiving

Recipes for ThanksgivingAlthough everyone's Thanksgiving food varies for each family, there are some traditional dishes that grace tables across the U.S.; like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. These recipes are all from New England, where the first Thanksgiving was celebrated. Families have incorporated their own favorite dishes into their own celebrations. My family is planning on rice, stir fried green beans and mac and cheese this year, in addition to the basics.

 

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Plan Ahead for Holiday MealsHosting a holiday dinner? Planning ahead is crucial! Plan your guest list, your menu, and your detailed shopping list. Plan for extra /backup food items.

 

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Spread Out Thanksgiving Dinner ExpensesOne way to make Thanksgiving expenses less painful in the wallet is, say a month to 6 weeks before the big day, gather your recipes, assemble a grocery list, and start buying non perishables every week. On the last week, you should only have to buy the turkey, fresh vegetables and any dairy products.

 

A leaf decoration for the place setting.

Setting my Thanksgiving TableI use all white dinnerware and all white accessories and serving pieces, much more than is pictured. The idea I came up with this year was the napkin decorations. I used the matching linen napkins to the tablecloth, and folded them with the flatware and fall leaves inside. I thought it looked so festive.

 

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CrockPot Mashed PotatoesA great time saver at Thanksgiving is to make your mashed potatoes earlier in the day and put them in your crockpot on "warm". Just give them a stir every once in awhile and put the lid back on.

 

photos and decorations on mantle

Thanksgiving MemoriesThis may be simple for most of my crafty Thriftyfun friends, but it made me feel good to create so I wanted to share it with you.

 

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Planning Ahead for Holiday CookingI have already started my cooking for the holidays. Last week, my store had over ripe bananas for 9 cents a pound. I bought all they had and it is now in the freezer.

 

A group of people holding hands around a Thanksgiving dinner table.

Finding A Place to Celebrate ThanksgivingGoing to Grandma's for Thanksgiving is becoming a forgotten tradition, as kids and grandkids start their own tradition of having Thanksgiving at their home.

 

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Children's Turkey Hand PrintThis is a cute little turkey hand that is great and fun for all children to make.

 

Multiple choice questions.

Thanksgiving Trivia FunI wanted something fun for our family to do this Thanksgiving for an after dinner activity while we are gathered around the fire pit relaxing.

 

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The Secret to a Moist TurkeyDon't wait for your Thanksgiving turkey to make its own juices for basting. Give it an extra-moist start by adding your favorite broth or bouillon.

 

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Moist Upside Down TurkeyThe electricity was out, so I fired up the wood cook stove. By candle light, we put the turkey in the oven bag. But since it was dark, I didn't notice it was put in upside down.

 

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Easy Roasted TurkeyI always dreaded the clean up after roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving. The whole idea of thawing for three days, cleaning etc. wasn't something I looked forward to doing with a 40 hour work week, and 3 kids; and husband that never helped in the kitchen.

 

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Making Thanksgiving Dinner Using Only a Food BoxI just received my Thanksgiving Food Box from a local church, and decided that I would try and make a complete Turkey Day Dinner for about 8 people from only the food in the box.

 

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Oven Bag for Moist TurkeyWith turkey time almost here, I have a tip for a really moist turkey. I use a baking bag (put inside roasting pan) and bake as usual. You don't have to baste the turkey, if you do it in a baking bag.

 

Turkeys for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving TurkeysHere are two of the turkeys I raised for Thanksgiving. I have recently had them butchered at Tabor Homestead in Berwok, ME. They were all over 20 pounds and the big tom turkey I kept for myself was 31 3/4 pounds!

 

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Cook Your Turkey In An Oven BagMy tip to you is if you are short on time, buy oven bags. They will help you cook your turkey in no time at all.

 

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Recipe for Thanksgiving PieHere is my favorite recipe for Thanksgiving. Take 2 cups of counting your blessings, 1 1/2 cups of correcting your mistakes, 1 1/2 cups of forgiveness...

 

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Thanksgiving: Circle of ThanksMy husband and I have started our own family tradition that gets everyone involved. We gather in a circle and one of us starts by telling what we are thankful for, this gives everyone an example of what to do.

 

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Thanksgiving Family PotluckMy husband and I now live in a apartment. Our children are all grown. We knew this year in order to see our kids, I had to organize a gathering. I decided it was time the children shared in the work.

 

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Prepare Food in Advance for Holiday MealsI always prepare holiday desserts a day or two ahead of time. I peel and cut my potatoes the night before the big day and then place them in a pot of water and store it overnight in the fridge.

 

Turkey in a roasting pan.

Saving Money on Buying a TurkeyIt's turkey season. Here are tips for saving money on buying a turkey as suggested by the ThriftyFun community Feel free to post your own ideas here.

 

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Thanksgiving Scavenger HuntAfter the meal has been eaten and the last of the leftovers stowed in the fridge, we host a Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt. It helps us burn off some calories and keeps the kids occupied for 20 minutes or so.

 

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Day After Thanksgiving DinnerLooking for a good use for all those Thanksgiving leftovers? My family gets together with 2-3 other families for dinner the day after Thanksgiving. We all bring our leftovers and share what we have.

 

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Don't Cook Your Turkey in the OvenOne way we have found to decrease the time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving and other holidays is to use an alternate source for cooking the main course - turkey, ham, etc.

 

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Happy ThanksgivingI would just like to wish one and all a very Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless. Editor's Note: Thanks Theresa. The staff at ThriftyFun would like to wish all of our readers a Happy Thanksgiving as well. I hope everyone has a fun and restful holiday.

 

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Cook a Turkey Breast Side DownDo you feel that the turkey breast during the holidays is dried out? I have learned to roast the turkey with the breast side facing down. This way, all the juices constently marinate the bird.

 

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Photo of a cooked Thanksgiving turkey.

Saving Money on ThanksgivingTips and ideas for saving money on making Thanksgiving dinner. Watch the grocery store ads for sales and don't forget to check for coupons in the paper. Some fresh veggies can be blanched and frozen for later use.

 

A roast turkey in a pan.

Turkey SavingsThere are dozens of ways to make every penny of the Thanksgiving turkey count. Enjoy the holiday savings, whether you're the cook or the one who takes home the leftovers.

 

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Share Thanksgiving with a Foreign VisitorShare Thanksgiving with an International guest! Thanksgiving is one of the few truly American holidays. Try to invite a foreign friend to your home.

 

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Organizing and Cooking a Large Meal SuccessfullyTips for organizing a large meal and making sure that everything is ready at the same time.

 

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Tell Stories Of Those Who Have Passed At ThanksgivingAs the family arrives, ask them to think of something nice that happened, with those members who have passed. After the family prayer, have as many candles, whatever size will work on your table, in votives.

 

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Transporting Cooked TurkeyIf you must transport your turkey, it can be cooked the day before. When done, let it cool, absorbing the juices. Then carve, laying a bed of any lettuce, a layer of sliced turkey and so on, in a dish.

 

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Thanksgiving Family TraditionThis isn't a tip, just sharing our annual Thanksgiving day. We always go to my cousin's house in Columbus, and (Bless her) she ends up with a minimum of 35 people.

 

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Progressive Thanksgiving DinnerWith three adult children and their spouses going to in-laws for an early dinner, I decided to have a progressive dinner for them. I would prepare the main course and take out trays would be available in case of overeating at the in-laws' homes.

 

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Thanksgiving Day PoemHere is a terrific Thanksgiving poem by Doggy. These past twelve months were quite a year. They added inches to my rear.

 

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Organizing Serving Bowls, Platters, and UtensilsAs I get out the dishes for holiday dinners, I also take out the serving bowls and utensils I will need. I put a little note in each bowl.

 

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Sharing Your Thanksgiving - Renting a GymThis year some friends of ours from church are renting a gym and they have invited any and all church members to come if they do not have other plans for their Thanksgiving...

 

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Sharing Thanksgiving DinnerI don't know if this is a tip for us to save or for the others to save. For several years, my family has had Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday after the holiday. This year we are doing it different.

 

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Preparing Dressing or Stuffin'When preparing Dressing or Stuffin', for Thanksgiving or any other meal. Always prepare this dish either in a glass or Pyrex brand, or a roaster pan. Not in an aluminum baking pan...

 

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Measure Ahead of TimeEspecially when making a big meal, like Thanksgiving dinner, have everything measured out ahead of time before you start cooking. It saves lots of time!

 

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Turkey Baking TipAt Thanksgiving and Christmas, I buy the biggest turkey I can find - usually 20-25 pounds. Then I stuff it about 9 pm the night before and put it in a 350 degree F oven for one hour. After that I turn it down to 250 degrees for the rest of the night and wake up to the most fabulous smells ever!...

 

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Organizing the Cooking of Your Thanksgiving MealFind pans/baking dishes that fit into your oven somehow like a puzzle, allowing for air flow. Now create your menu to make ALL of these "casseroles" to bake at the same time...

 

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Volunteering on ThanksgivingIf you really want to save money on Thanksgiving dinner this year, consider volunteering at your local soup kitchen. You will be helping those less fortunate, and you get to eat for free.

 

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Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you, your newsletter and your website and that I have met the nicest people through you. When I get up in the morning I can hardly wait to read your newsletter.

 

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Giving ThanksEvery year when we sit down at the Thanksgiving table, after we have said the prayer I have each member of the family share what they are thankful for.

 

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An Onion and Celery In The TurkeyPlace a whole onion (skin and all) along with few large pieces of celery inside the cavity of your turkey before baking for a very moist and flavorful bird. I also baste the turkey with apple juice instead of butter or fat ...

 

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Invite Someone to Thanksgiving DinnerPLEASE invite someone to your feast that would have otherwise spent the Holiday alone! This can be a very depressing time of year for SO very many people.

 

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Baste a Turkey With CheeseclothCover a turkey with cheesecloth soaked in melted butter or olive oil, and it will baste itself! Remove it during the last 30 minutes of baking to let the skin get brown. By Robin

 

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Save Those Pumpkin SeedsWhen carving pumpkins for pie, don't throw out the seeds! Wash off the gooey stuff, spread on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with Lawry's (seasoning) salt and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.

 

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Fluffier Mashed PotatoesAdd 1/2 teaspoon baking powder to potatoes and whip them with a hand blender! By ElectricChameleon

 

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Add Soup to StuffingI have done my stuffing in the crockpot and have added a can of cream of chicken or celery soup to the top.

 

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Use the Crockpot for StuffingPrepare your favorite stuffing and bake it in your crockpot while the turkey occupies the oven. You can prep this the day before and refrigerate, it is so much easier than stuffing it into the turkey.

 

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Write Christmas Cards During FootballUse the time while the guys are watching football on Thanksgiving (after dinner) to address Christmas cards.

 

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Keeping Prepared For Christmas Baking After ThanksgivingAfter I roast my Thanksgiving turkey, I place all my Christmas baking supplies and utensitls in the clean roasting pan and keep it out on the counter so I won't have to search and drag everything out as I do my Christmas baking. Makes whipping up a quick batch of something really quick when you don't have to find and then put away everything every time! By Linda

 

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Making Inexpensive WreathsI always check the thrift stores for vine or Styrofoam wreath bases. Add any sort of decoration you have on hand. I gather dried, wild flowers, pine cones, dried seed pods, and dried stalks from plants.

 

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