Budget Christmas dinner menu

Article by: Allrecipes staff  |  Picture by: Cassandra
Budget Christmas dinner menu
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Looking to enjoy Christmas dinner on a budget? It can be done! Our budget Christmas dinner menu ideas will keep everyone's mouths watering but won't break the bank.
Top tips

Make it yourself
Yes, it might be more time consuming, but if you plan ahead, making your own Christmas goodies can actually be fun. Foods that you prepare yourself will almost always be cheaper than ready-prepared versions from the supermarket. This goes for everything from frozen canapes to mince pies!

Look for offers
Competition during the festive season means that if you do a bit of comparison shopping, you're likely to snag a deal. This means checking all of the usual supermarkets, but also looking at discount retailers local markets, too.

Prepare some punch
If you know your lot likes a good tipple, make a warming, spiced Christmas punch or mulled wine, which means you'll be using less alcohol than if you were serving cocktails. You can also get away with using cheaper wine than if you were pouring straight from the bottle (go on, no one will know!). Best of all, it won't come off as the least bit stingy, and everyone will love the smell of a spiced punch brewing as they come in from the cold!

Take inventory
Many of us have over-stocked cupboards with tins and boxes languishing in their unreachable depths. If this describes you, before you start anything, take stock of what you already have in your cupboard. That bar of cooking chocolate can be whipped into a basic but impressive chocolate mousse, and that tin of cannellini beans can be blended into a tasty party dip.

Put effort into the presentation
Taking that extra step to prettify your serving plates makes anything you're serving feel a little more grand. And no, we're not talking Masterchef! Simply a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley, a drizzle of cream or a dusting of icing sugar where needed makes all the difference!

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Starters and nibbles

• Buy smoked salmon trimmings from the deli counter at the supermarket. You'll save money by buying the oddly shaped trimmings, but once you whip it into a Smoked salmon pate, no one will know the difference!

• Eggs are inexpensive year round, and no one can resist warm Mini quiches straight out of the oven. And they'll be devoured whether they're made with pancetta and Gruyere (£££) or bacon and Cheddar (£)!

Vegetable soups are almost all cheap to make, and can be made special for the occasion with some creative presentation and Christmassy spices. For example, a cheap and basic Butternut squash soup becomes extra-special with a swirl of cream, sprinkling of homemade croutons (great for using up stale bread) and grating of nutmeg.

• Chicken liver pate is a perfect example of something that can be made on the cheap yourself, when you would spend oodles more if you bought it ready-made. The last we checked, 400g of fresh chicken livers can be had for about a quid, making our simple pate recipes a boon for budget-conscious hosts.

View our entire collection of Christmas starters

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• If your family's heart is set on a pricey whole Roast turkey, it is well worth comparison shopping. Turkeys come in a dizzying range of prices. Cheaper birds can be had for around £4.99 per kg, while higher quality bronze turkeys cost upwards of £11 per kg. You can also find offers from both the big supermarkets and local suppliers. Note that often times bigger birds will have a cheaper per kg price. While this means more money upfront, because you're buying a bigger bird, it can mean savings in the long run as you can feast on frozen turkey leftovers for months to come.

• Skinless turkey breast steaks can be turned into a stunning centrepiece with this Stuffed turkey breast recipe. It serves 10 and calls for just about £6 worth of turkey, saving loads compared to buying a whole bird.

• Gammon joints are pound for pound cheaper than buying a turkey, and there's no question that a succulent Glazed roast ham makes a mouth-watering centrepiece.

View our entire collection of Christmas roasts

Waste not, want not
Christmas leftovers can be just as delicious as the main event. Did you splurge on a whole turkey? Be sure to pick the carcass dry and freeze the meat for use in recipes later. Then simmer the carcass to make a warming Turkey soup, which also can be frozen.
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While the main course can be the most expensive part of the meal, the great thing about sides is that most of the traditional favourites are relatively cheap! From Bread sauce to Red cabbage, you can feast on a bounty of savoury side dishes without breaking the bank:

Sage and onion stuffing
Roasted Brussels sprouts
Perfect roasties
Cauliflower parsnip mash
Leek and ham gratin

View all of our Christmas side dishes

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Desserts and puds

• With inexpensive egg whites and little else, pavlovas are festive, delicious and cheap all at once!

• Made in individual, festive dishes, something as simple as this Butterscotch bread pudding or Creme brulee feels posh.

• Try your hand at homemade Mince pies with homemade pastry, which will end up to be pennies a pie!

• With just six store-cupboard ingredients, these Molten chocolate cakes are as cheap to make as they are divine to eat.

View our entire collection of Christmas desserts

More Christmas inspiration

For hundreds more ideas, check out our entire collection of Christmas recipes, and be sure to see this year's Guide to Christmas!
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