A Festive, Budget-Friendly Holiday Meal

Holiday MealThe holidays are nearly upon us. And this year, you're ready for them.

If you've been following our Guerrilla Guide to the Holidays, you've bought (or made) the gifts. You've made your donations. And you know how much to give in year-end tips. 

Now comes the fun part: The celebrations! In this week's installment of the Guerrilla Guide, we show you how to get big flavor on a small budget at your next get-together.

The holidays practically call for going above and beyond.

Especially in the kitchen. At the end of the year, we attend and host more parties than at any other point—and tackle recipes that require more time and energy. After all, part of the fun is the extravagance.

Unfortunately, all that holiday generosity can also mean it's easy to go over budget. But it needn't be that way: Even as we whip up more courses and fancier food, we can still be strategic about our gourmet home cooking.

If you're wondering how food and entertaining fits into your overall budget, this chart will show you.

Below, we present a delicious, festive and inexpensive dinner for four. Shop smart, so you get the best ingredients for your buck—especially when it comes to the star ingredient of each course. For instance, champagne cocktails are spiked with elderflower liqueur. Little pizzas, the epitome of simplicity, are topped with savory smoked mozzarella. For dinner, we have a slow braise of fennel, apples and cider for pork shoulder—one of the most flavorful meats you can get for the fewest dollars.

Mop up the juices with freshly baked bread, and cook up some sweetened greens to round the meal out. Dessert is a nutty, chocolaty tart that tastes like a rich brownie set in an elegant crust.

Rich, elegant and under budget? Now that's something to celebrate.

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Giveaway Alert!

cookbooksLearnVest and Crown Publishing are giving away two new cookbooks: The Art of Living According to Joe Beef, and A New Turn in The South, to five lucky LearnVesters each! To enter, share your budget-friendly recipe in LV Discussions.

(Make sure to read our standard contest rules first!)

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  • j. rooks

    honey mustard chicken w/roasted veggies
    1 lb of chicken legs and thighs (w/skin on)
    2 Tbs of honey
    1 Tbs of dijon mustard
    1 medium red onion cut into 8ths
    2 medium red potatoes chopped in large chunks
    1/2 of brussels sprouts cleaned and cut in half
    olive oil
    salt & pepper

    preheat oven to 375 degrees
    place chicken a bowl and add olive oil, salt and pepper to coat lightly
    place chopped veggies in a separate bowl and add olive, salt and pepper to coat lightly

    1. place chicken skin side down on a rimmed baking sheet, roast for 20 – 25 minutes
    2. remove from oven and flip to skin side up, distribute veggies throughout the baking sheet, roast for an additional 10 – 15 minutes
    3. mix together honey and mustard.  remove chicken from the oven and brush generously with the honey-mustard glaze. turn oven up to broil and broil chicken for an additional 5 – 10 minutes. (you can remove the veggies prior to broiling, if preferred)
    4. remove from oven and let cool slightly, serve immediately

    • j. rooks

      should be a 1/2 lb. of brussels sprouts – this usually serves 2 with leftovers

  • Sbh01

    There is no way this tart is $6.00 to make.  The pecans alone will cost $6.00 without any of the other ingredients.  I also believe that the costing on the other recipes are off also & not realistic.  Any green vegetable is $3.00 a pound & you need more than 1 pd. for 4 people as you discard the stems & it will cook down to nothing & look like you are a stingy hostess.

  • Runkassyrun

    What online course are you taking? I’m curious and interested. Can you lead us to what school or online university you’re enrolled in?