Frugal eating/cooking tips for the holidays?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Frugal eating/cooking tips for the holidays?
Tue, 12-04-2012 - 1:00pm

Just thought I would post...I MADE BREAD!! all on my own. My MILs help and the mixer she bought me sure are great.

I am toning things down this year for Christmas. I am hosting two dinners and both are pastas! One will be lasgana for my sister and her family. I bought way too many appys this year and I am just going simple this year crackers, cheese, pickles and the kids love it. My sister is bringing a brie appy with brown sugar and a sauce thing everyone loves. The other is a fetticine alfredo with a home made sauce. My friends love it and it only need s a couple chicken breast. i am serving sorbet with both meals because they are heavy and salad and I have two huge loaves of rye bread in the freezer. i will make my own garlic butter and serve that.

Any ideas to cut down or go home made for people for gifts and dinners?

Love to hear from everyone!!


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 12-06-2012 - 5:31pm

Wow, some of ya'll do some pretty intense planning! 

I just ask my mom what she wants me to bring.  I doubt I have spent more than $20 on anything I take to my moms. 

I guess that is my advice.  Go eat somewhere else where you only have to bring a green bean cassarole and a pie.  :) 


Avatar for CMEvelyn
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-29-2012
Thu, 12-06-2012 - 12:27pm

What kind of bread did you make? 

We host Christmas dinner for part of my husband's family. We make the turkey and potatoes and everyone else brings a side dish or dessert. They also bring their own wine if they want; we only supply soft drinks and coffee and egg nog. It probably costs us less than $50 in total.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Wed, 12-05-2012 - 5:43pm

Count me in for Christmas breakfast...waffles...yummmmmm.

Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
Wed, 12-05-2012 - 12:25pm

One year we served brunch rather than dinner.  It was nice change and much less costly than dinner.  I don't serve appetizers and have one desert which cuts down on costs and over eating also.  I also don't serve alcohol or pop.  I serve water, milk, or sparkling cider.  I don't have a coffee maker but do offer hot tea with desert.

This year we are celebrating on the 23rd with my parents and grandma.  I am serving apple cider brined pork chops, cranberry kale quinoa, baked potatoes w/ sour cream/chives and (in case the quinoa is a flop) and a cranberry, goat cheese, pecan spinich salad.  Desert will be chocolate cherry bread pudding and eggnog.  For the 6 of us dinner should run about $100.  My mom and I are vegetarians so no pork chops for us or it would be higher. 

Christmas Eve morning I will serve an egg scramble with ham (none for me), spinich, tomatos, and havarti along with croissants and a kiwi/strawberry/pineapple/melon platter. Christmas Eve we go out for dinner.   Christmas morning we have homemade waffles with homemade vanilla ice cream topped with bananas, strawerries and pineapple with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.  Christmas dinner ( just the 3 of us) I am having hard and soft shell tacos, spanish rice, beans, and all the fixings.  We love tacos but I seldom make them so a meal that will be enjoyed though not traditional.  This is the first year that we will have the 24th and the 25th to ourselves with no where to go and we're looking forward to it.

We already got together with SIL/BIL which was free (she hosted) and we'll be seeing my grandma and uncle later this month for lunch out.  We're treating,  I've budgeted $400 for all of the food/eating out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Tue, 12-04-2012 - 7:59pm

Karen -

Your pasta meals sound really great.  So does homemade chex mix!

DH and I always have a special holiday dinner, but that means a regular meal made with care, gussied up with candles and nice table settingl

We really don't do much entertaining at all at our house for the Holidays.  We do Christmas Eve at my moms, and I buy the fish and shrimp and usually bring escargot as an appetizer.  We have a full 5 course traditional 12 Apostle dinner starting with shrimp cocktail, borsch soup, various fish, pierogi and lots of cookies for dessert.  Christmas Day is at my MIL's, and we just bring a bottle of wine.

Then we head up north for the week, and I just make a ham so the kids can eat when they want to. Usually throw on a crock pot of something like sloppy joe or chili. I always get some biscuits, suppose I could make those myself cheaper, but the holidays are a break from me and spending $3 for 4 rolls of biscuits is worth it.  If I forget I will make them myself. 

Our biggest expense is alchohol and pop/teas. 

Has anyone tried Rum Chiata?  It is a cinamon run in a light cream. Kind of different than baileys, thinner, but can be put in coffee.  Using that for some gifts this year, too.  It is about $20 a bottle, Costco has larger bottles, of course.  Small are fine for gifts.  I will get about 4 of these for people like my brother, cousins in law and places we go for dinner.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Tue, 12-04-2012 - 6:42pm
Have you ever made your own Chex mix? You can use the store brand cereal, cheap pretzels and cheese crackers and high content peanut mixed nuts. I use real needs one stick..but you can use margarine. It makes a huge amount, and makes a nice gift in jars or ziplock bags and is a somewhat healthy snack. Also, I find it is tempting to make more of things than you really need...lots of kinds of cookies, etc. choosing just the few you really love, or freezing half of each batch for 2013 treats can be satisfying and save some money. Also, don't buy things like candy canes unless you really eat them...