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Thanksgiving meals at half the price

November 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
If you're tired of the same old Thanksgiving recipes from year to year, there is a way to try something new -- without breaking the bank. Having friends and family for Thanksgiving is supposed to be fun, but high food prices are putting a damper on the party. But, if you're willing to put in a little kitchen time, you can make a frugal feast.

"Turkey is not that expensive of a protein and if you do some creative shopping you can even get it lower," said Chef Craig Strong, Langham Huntington Hotel.

Chef Strong says markets are drastically dropping prices on holiday staples and offering screaming deals on turkeys -- as low as 37 cents a pound or buy one get one free.

"These are comfort foods, these are things that everybody does such as: squashes, potatoes, even your stuffing and cranberries. These aren't expensive things," said Chef Strong.

For his holiday meal Strong made squash with a sweet ginger topping, truffle mashed potatoes, cranberries with clementines, field greens salad and turkey.

He spends the money he saves on the turkey on some high end ingredients that pack a big flavor punch.

"Really make the dishes come to life and sing a little bit," said Chef Strong.

He will use a pinch from of truffle salt, which runs about $10 a tin, to finish his creamy mash potatoes. From a $10 bottle of pumpkin seed oil he blends a small amount with olive oil to top a salad. And he browns the turkey with Norwegian butter called Echire.

But if you pass on the pricey extras, the grocery bill will be about $40 for six people, rather than the $60 he spent.

Still Strong emphasizes that simple pantry spices add magic to the meal.

"When you come home and you smell the turkey roasting but there's also some cinnamon and nutmeg that really gives the sense of thanksgiving to me," said Chef Strong.

And a big saver, growing fresh herbs on the kitchen window sill saves loads.

"It saves you $2 or $3 every single time you cook," said Chef Strong.

One thing that doesn't cost a thing -- except for a little time, is to let your turkey rest when its out of the oven. Do this and Strong says your taste should be priceless.

"Let those juices relax and redistribute through the bird," said Chef Strong.

About 15 to 30 minutes depending on size.

Web Extra Information: Frugal Feast Recipes

Roasted Turkey with Sage
Butternut Squash Golden Raisin Ginger Gratin
Silky Smooth Potato Puree with Truffle Salt
Cranberry Sauce
Green Leaf and Radicchio Salad with Clementine and Pumpkin Seed Oil Dressing

Turkey 12-14 pound rinse and dry
Butter 6.oz
10 Sage Leaves
Salt
Pepper

Place sage leaves under the skin of turkey breast and leg. Allow butter to come to room temperature. (or pulse in microwave 3 seconds at a time until soft). Rub butter over entire bird and season with salt and pepper. Place in 350 preheated oven for 4 hours. Be sure to allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Butternut Squash-Golden Raisin- Ginger Gratin
Butternut Squash 2 pounds peeled and diced into ¼ inch squares
Butter 2 tablespoons
Golden Raisins 1 cup
Cinnamon one pinch
Nutmeg one pinch
1 Tablespoon Ginger grated
Butter 2 Tablespoons
2 cup panko bread crumbs
Brown Sugar ¼ cup
Sea Salt 1/8 teaspoon
Vegetable spray

In a 12 inch sauté pan add butter melt and add squash and spices. Cook on medium heat for 15 min. stirring occasionally. Stir in raisins season with salt. Spray 9x13 inch pan and add squash. In sauce pan melt butter and add ginger. Mix together butter-ginger, brown sugar, and panko. Spread on top of squash and bake in preheated oven 400 for 20 min or until golden brown.

Silky Smooth Potato Puree
Small potatoes 2 pounds
Butter 6 oz.
Cream 6 oz. warm in sauce pan
Sea Salt
Pepper
Truffle salt

In sauce pot add potatoes with skin on and cover with cold water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until a knife passes through easily. Drain water and peel. Using a pastry scraper and a fine strainer push potatoes through screen. Using a rubber spatula fold in butter, then fold in cream. Season with sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle with truffle salt just before serving.

Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries 12 oz.
Clementine zest 1 each
Clementine juice 1 cup
Sugar 1 cup
1 star anise

In a medium sauce pan add all ingredients. On medium heat bring to simmer and cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Green Leaf Salad with Radicchio, Clementine and Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette
Green Leaf Lettuce 1 head
Radicchio 1 head
English Cucumber 1 each
Clementine 6 each
Olive oil ½ cup
Pumpkin seed oil 3 Tablespoons
Balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons

Wash and spin dry lettuces. Thinly slice cucumber. Peel clementine and slice ½ inch rounds. Toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and pumpkin seed oil.

Thanksgiving Dinner Cost

Turkey 12 pound $17.03 or discounted to $7.88 with $25 purchase at Vons
Butter 1 pound $5.49 or $16 Gourmet butter use 6 oz. for turkey
Sage from garden or cost $1.98
Butternut Squash $2.58
Butter for cooking squash above cost
Golden Raisins $3.99 for 2 cups only 1 cup needed for recipe cost $2
Cinnamon from pantry
Nutmeg from pantry
Brown sugar from pantry
Panko bread crumbs $1.99
Ginger $.50
Butter for crust above cost
Salt pepper from pantry
Potato $2.58
Butter from above cost
Cream $1.59
Salt and pepper from pantry
Truffle salt $10 need only pinch cost $.50
Cranberries $1.29
Clementine $5.88
Sugar from pantry
Star anise from pantry
Green leaf lettuce $1.99
Radicchio $2.50
Cucumber $1.19
Clementine from above cost
Olive oil from pantry
Balsamic vinegar from pantry
Pumpkin seed oil $10 for 8oz. bottle need only 2 tbsp. for recipe cost $2.50
Lowest cost with growing herbs and normal butter $40.46
Cost with Echire butter 50.97
Cost without Vons discount on turkey and without herb garden $51.59 not using Echire butter with Echire $62.10


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