Planning Thanksgiving dinner on a budget

Published On: Nov 25 2013 12:00:00 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 26 2013 03:19:38 AM EST


A shopping list can add up quickly when making a Thanksgiving menu, but there are ways to control the cost and still prepare a bountiful meal on a budget.

Chef James Sinopoli of Washington D.C. created a budget menu that includes all the trimmings.

A Thanksgiving feast may look expensive but if you're a savvy shopper, you can save money and prepare a delicious meal.

"Don't be shy with that salt and pepper," said Sinopoli.

Sinopoli shopped at an organic grocer to feed a table of eight and shows an organic shopping list can be cost effective.

First rule of keeping costs down: Buy only what you need.

So for the turkey, Sinopoli said cook just a breast instead of the whole bird for a smaller crowd.

"This is one of the ways to save money," said Sinopoli.

Make it look and taste special with Sinopli's special herb pesto.

"We're making a little bit of a pesto to stick underneath the skin," said Sinopoli. "I have rosemary, sage a little bit of thyme."

This beautiful herb-roasted turkey breast cost $33 to feed eight people.

Your guests won't guess you are on a budget if you start with a luxurious soup. Try creamy chestnut. Splurge on the chestnuts, the rest of the ingredients are inexpensive: $13 dollars for 8 bowls.

Next up, dressing a casserole. The secret to keeping the cost down? Make it meatless.

"It's a simple bread stuffing," said Sinopoli, which has just celery, onions and bread. "Yeah, I didn't do any sausage or anything like that."

Less than $10 feeds eight people with leftovers.

Another Thanksgiving staple are cranberries. This cranberry relish has only three ingredients: Fresh cranberries, sugar, and one naval orange, for just $5.

A simple vegetable for Thanksgiving? Roasted brussels sprouts.

"Simply cut them in half, a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and in the oven."

This veggie side cost about $6.

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple and are not expensive, but make them look fancy by mixing both white and sweet potatoes in the same dish. A delicious, colorful side for about $10.

Finally, for dessert there is apple crisp.

"Apples are so inexpensive this time of year," said Sinopli.

This traditional hot apple crisp desert cost about $8.

The total cost of this Thanksgiving meal is about $85 or about $10.50 per guest. That's using organic ingredients. If you shop at a traditional grocer, you could make the same meal for about $56 or $7 a head.

"A beautiful spread without busting your budget. Happy Thanksgiving," said Sinopli.

One more money saving tip is to have guests bring pumpkin pie. It makes them feel good, it's expensive and off your budget.

For recipes featured in this article, click here.

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