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A complete christmas dinner for under $5 per person

By Matthew Thompson, December 19, 2011 - 4:23pm

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A complete christmas dinner for under $5 per person

My wife and I are just stunned by what happens to our bank account in December. Like an odometer in reverse, you can almost count the miles (and dollars!) rolling off our debit card. There are gifts, of course, but then add in the travel, the special meals and decorations and, well, all that holiday cheer can put the hurt on your pocketbook.

But even as we try to figure out just how much yuletide treasure we can afford, there’s one thing I’m confident about: Christmas dinner. No matter how frugal we have to make our festivity, it’s always possible to cook a delicious, filling feast for a reasonable price.

Need proof? Check out this Christmas dinner menu. It comes out to less than $5 per serving and even includes a sumptuous dessert. Don’t worry about being a Scrooge: this is a true celebratory dinner!

A few quick caveats: When I say $5 per serving, I mean that this is the cost of the actual ingredients that will be used in the recipe on a per person basis. Naturally, most people can’t buy just "one serving’s worth" of milk or flour or vanilla extract, so your total costs might run a tad higher (but you can use any leftover ingredients in future meals). Also, I haven’t budgeted for wine here; my guests can bring that. I’m not made of money, you know!

The Menu:

Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberry-Shallot Sauce
$2 per serving

The world’s fastest way to enjoy roast turkey! This recipe combines the sweet, delicate taste of turkey with tart cranberries and thyme.
Get the Recipe: Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberry-Shallot Sauce & More Holiday Main Dishes

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Onions
$0.65 per serving

Fresh herbs, onion and bacon pair beautifully with Brussels sprouts.
Get the Recipe: Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Onions, plus more Make-Ahead Holiday Sides

Parsley Smashed New Potatoes
$0.52 per serving

Freshly dug, true “new” potatoes are so creamy and flavorful they hardly need any additional ingredients to make them spectacular, but we added bit of butter, yogurt and just-chopped fresh parsley anyway. 'Tis the season!
Get the Recipe: Parsley Smashed New Potatoes & More Holiday Sides

Carrot-Parsnip Gratin
$0.70 per serving

Need an extra side? How about a creamy, cheesy blend of carrots and parsnips, topped with lightly browned breadcrumbs!
Get the Recipe: Carrot-Parsnip Gratin & More Holiday Casseroles

Peppermint Pattie Pots de Crème
$0.50 per serving

These mini puddings combine the mountain-breeze flavor of mint with a layer of rich, dark chocolate. The perfect way to end your meal!
Get the Recipe: Peppermint Pattie Pots de Crème & More Stunning Holiday Desserts

What are you having for Christmas dinner this year? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Matthew Thompson, Food Blog, Budget meals, Family meals, Holidays

Matthew Thompson
Matthew Thompson is a former associate food editor for EatingWell Magazine.

Matthew asks: What are you having for Christmas dinner this year?

Tell us what you think:

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