The family holiday meal should be a chance to gather together, enjoy time with loved ones we might not see often enough throughout the year, and indulge in some delicious food. It can also be quite an expensive undertaking for the host. There’s no need to serve a large, pricey cut of meat, roast, or turkey – here are a few low cost holiday meal ideas to help you serve food everyone will love, without sacrificing your budget.
- Pasta – Serve up some delicious comfort food such as lasagna, manicotti, pasta carbonara, or stuffed shells.
- Cioppino (Seafood Stew) – It feels luxurious but doesn’t have to break the bank when you select inexpensive shellfish rather than pricey crab legs or lobster.
- Curry – Thai and Indian curries stretch your protein (choose from chicken, shrimp, beef, or even tofu) to serve more people with less, and will likely be a departure from your traditional holiday meal making it special.
- Holiday Brunch – There’s no rule that the big family meal has to be in the afternoon or evening. Invite the group for a mid-morning brunch and offer frittata, breakfast casseroles, muffins and croissants, and granola with yogurt and fruit. For a fancier menu think brunch favorites such as eggs benedict or stuffed french toast.
One final tip for an inexpensive holiday meal – when people ask if they can bring something let them. Those who love to cook or bake might be excited to share a dish, and others can pick up drinks, bread, or cookies at the grocery store.
Here’s a video on the subject from Volunteers of America’s Culinary Skill Program: