One of the best ways to save on any holiday dinner is to buy when your favorite foods and ingredients are on sale. The key to making this type of cost-saving shopping trip payoff is to have a plan and then execute it.
Buy Quantity on Sale
Check the weekly sales and plan what you are going to buy, how much you need and can afford and how you plan to store it – freeze, can or dry.
The best way to save on the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey is to buy frozen instead of fresh. A fresh turkey has a shorter shelf-life while a frozen turkey can be kept in the freezer for up to three years.
If you have room in your freezer, you can take advantage of after holiday sales. After all, you aren’t limited to having turkey only twice a year. You can enjoy the diversity of a whole turkey any time of the year.
If you have never open the wrapping of a frozen turkey from the time you purchased it at the grocery store, the turkey will taste fresh when you finally thaw and cook it. While most websites encourage cooking the turkey by the end of seven months, there’s no reason you should worry about keeping a turkey beyond that period up to three years if your freezer temperature remains a constant zero.
Thaw, Cook and Freeze
Most people have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. While you can enjoy a turkey sandwich for the next day, most people are usually tired of turkey by then.
- Use a vacuum sealer and package up leftovers in small enough packets for one family meal.
- You can also freeze gravy made from the turkey juice to go with your meal(s).
- Salads: If you like salads, cubed or sliced turkey makes a great protein addition to any healthy salad.
- Sandwich spread: You can substitute turkey for a sandwich spread.
- Chicken salad: Scoop chicken salad onto a bed of lettuce for a summer lunch.
- Turkey pot pie: Use my leftover chicken pot pie recipe and simply substitute the chicken with turkey.
Make Two at a Time
Another way to save on holiday costs is to make two when you bake. For example, if you’re preparing a Christmas dinner and make yeast rolls from scratch or biscuits, then while the first batch is cooking, prepare a second batch.
- Instead of cooking the second batch, place the individually formed rolls or biscuits on a sheet of parchment placed on a cookie sheet.
- Place the cookie sheet in the freezer and allow the rolls or biscuits to freeze.
- Once frozen, remove from the freezer, place in a vacuum sealed bag.
The next time you want homemade rolls or biscuits, simply remove from the freezer, place on a greased cookie sheet and bake, adding five minutes to the cook time. A good rule of thumb is 15-20 mins at 425°, depending on oven.
Other Dishes Prepared in Advance
You can repeat the doubling up of recipes any time of the year. This is always a time-saving habit for casseroles, lasagna, soups, quiches, desserts and any other food that can be frozen.