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4 Affordable Dishes for the Winter Season

Jan. 8, 2014
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Winter is the perfect season for a home-cooked meal with loved ones, but feeding all those guests becomes a real challenge on a tight budget. Luckily, not everything that tastes great costs a fortune. By choosing inexpensive, quality ingredients, you’ll be able to feed an army of guests without breaking the bank.

1. Cranberry Orange Spice Relish

Fresh cranberries have become synonymous with the holidays, since they’re hard to find at other times of the year. Averaging at a little over a dollar for a whole bag, cranberries can serve each guest for what amounts to pocket change. Plus, you can never go wrong with a healthy dose of fruit in the holidays.

Cranberry relish is one of the most delicious ways to bring the fruit to your the wintertime table. Simply run a bag of cranberries and two peeled oranges through your food processor and then stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom to taste. If you’ve got extra cranberries on hand, they’re also great juiced with other fruits or cooked into an old-fashioned cranberry sauce.

2. Sweet Potato Pancakes

Your wallet will love sweet potatoes as much as your guests do. Why not try something a little different and surprise friends and family with some sweet potato pancakes? Just grate up some vitamin A-rich sweet potatoes, and combine them with eggs, cinnamon, cloves, and flour. Fry the batter in vegetable oil for an unexpected treat.

3. Rosemary Garlic Carrots and Parsnips

With fresh produce becoming more expensive each year, it’s nice to know that some vegetables are still very affordable. Carrots generally run no more than $2.00 a bunch and can often be found for a little over a dollar a bag. These satisfying root vegetables are rich in antioxidants and vitamin A, plus they taste great.

Parsnips are less commonly known than their carrot cousins, but they’re equally affordable and tasty. For a flavorful budget side dish, slice carrots and parsnips, and then bake for about an hour with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and sea salt.

4. Chickpea salad

Getting enough protein is budget friendly when beans are on the menu. Convenient canned beans are extremely affordable, and if you’re willing to put in some extra time cooking and soaking, dry beans are one of the least expensive foods in the entire supermarket. Additionally, beans contain folate, fiber, and iron.

A simple chickpea salad takes only a few minutes to prepare. Combine canned or cooked chickpeas in a large bowl with diced tomatoes, sliced onions, and fresh chopped parsley. Toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh ground pepper, and a pinch of sea salt. Since parsley and onions are also very inexpensive, this dish is especially budget friendly.

Beans also are appropriate as a main course and pair well with rice, another low-cost staple. Black bean chili, Indian dal, or Cajun red rice and beans are all excellent holiday crowd pleasers.

When it comes to holiday cooking, keep in mind that almost any meal you make from scratch will cost you less than relying on catered or pre-prepared foods.  Choosing the most affordable ingredients even further brings food costs under control – and a delicious meal is a great reason to skip the big bills of eating out.

Got any more great, cheap recipes? Let us know in the comments below!

Turkey image via Shutterstock