Order your Thanksgiving meal in advance

LOS ANGELES "For those shoppers like myself who don't really feel comfortable doing it from scratch, we have the classic holiday meal, where you can add to it," said Lilia Rodriguez.

Albertsons Spokeswoman Lilia Rodriguez says you'll get turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy for six to eight people for $44.99. For 10 dollars more, add green beans Almondine, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and gravy.

"More and more consumers today want to be able to preorder a dinner, be able to run in, grab it, take it home, just heat it up, be able to spend more time with their family and friends," said Charles Barfield.

Ralphs traditional turkey dinner serves eight to 10 people for $49.99 with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, baked yam casserole, cranberry sauce with apples and pears, turkey gravy and rolls.

Gelson's chose not to participate in our story, but the circular shows their turkey dinner for eight costs $103.99 with all the trimmings. Gelson's also offers the same meal for just two people for $37.99 -- nice for couples.

Then there's Fresh & Easy, which offers an ala carte feature to mix and match.

    Fresh & Easy ala carte
  • Turkey stuffing (boxed): $2.99/12.4 oz.
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes (boxed): $2.65/15 oz.
  • Fresh cranberries: $2.98/12 oz.
  • Plain or rosemary focaccia dough (for dinner rolls): $1.49/12 oz.
  • Pumpkin bread mix (boxed): $3.69/16.6 oz.
"We've got mashed potatoes, our autumn roasted vegetables with herb butter, artisan bread herb stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes," said Mike Ainsle. Along with gravy and cranberries, with a choice of turkey breast alone or turkey wrapped in bacon lattice. Pumpkin pie is on special for $2.99 for a limited time.

Cost with all their fixings and a turkey breast? "Under $60 for four to six people for this entire meal," said Ainsle.

The American Farm Bureau Federation found a homemade dinner for 10 now costs, on average, $44.61. That's up $2.35 from last year, but remains a good bargain considering the abundance of quality protein and abundance of vegetable in the meal. And most likely you'll have leftovers for turkey sandwiches and soup to stretch food dollars even further.

All grocery stores are taking orders now. Ralphs and Albertsons will sell any dinners in stock on Thanksgiving Day. Fresh & Easy is closed Thanksgiving, but offers all of its items up until closing time Wednesday evening.

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