Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, and being grateful, but when you're the head chef and curator of the feast, it can be super stressful, too. It's a mix of horror and panic as you stare at your overflowing cart and worry that you have to take out a second mortgage to make this meal. And why? So you can Instagram pictures of toasted marshmallows and casserole dishes filled with stuffing? It's time to create some cheap, easy Thanksgiving dishes that look gorgeous and make you feel like the host of your own Food Network show.
Let's be honest, that's half of the fun with Thanksgiving, isn't it? Thanks to Pinterest, Instagram, and Target's adorable serving bowls, it's a blast to create a tablescape you love. And since there's so much food on this holiday, you want dishes that can look pretty against your autumnal table cloth and food that will plate well. All the great chefs do it, right? I can't recall the number of times I've seen Gordon Ramsay has reduced one of his contestants to tears over a crappy looking dish, or witnessed Ina Garten put the perfect garnish on an already beautiful dish. Thanksgiving is your time to shine as the food goddess you are, but you don't want to break the budget either. And you don't have to, trust me. With these seven cheap and easy Thanksgiving dishes, you won't spend all day in the kitchen nor will you have to proclaim that the meal is everyone's Christmas present because you went broke. You can have the beautiful meal you want with money left over to pick up some new cutlery for all of those Facebook pictures.
1. Bundt Pan Stuffing
Want something super easy, but totally fancy? Try A Spicy Perspective's tip and cook your stuffing in a bundt pan. The results are so much prettier than a 9x13 casserole dish and you can make one of the best Thanksgiving dishes part of the centerpiece.
2. Roasted Cauliflower with Pomegranate Seeds, Mint, and Toasted Almonds
This roasted cauliflower dish from Blogging Over Thyme is not only gorgeous, but it's incredibly simple, and only requires four ingredients. The most time consuming part is when you need to roast your cauliflower, but even then, the oven does all the work. It looks so pretty and festive, your whole family will be Instagramming the hell out of it.
3. Pan Roasted Honey Garlic Brussels Sprouts
Boiled Brussels sprouts are fine, but they don't make for a very pretty tablescape, do they? But these honey garlic Brussels sprouts from i am a food blog totally will. Another cheap dish, all you need is honey, soy sauce, and garlic to make the great sauce and I'm willing to bet you have those in your pantry already. It doesn't take long to brown the sprouts either, so pretend you're Barefoot Contessa and say something like, "If you don't have organic, homegrown, perfect formed Brussels sprouts, then store-bought is fine." Because it so is.
4. Honey Cumin Roasted Carrots
Are these honey cumin carrots from Simply Delicious not magazine worthy? Another super easy dish that can be made with pantry staples, they're also a perfect side to all of your other Thanksgiving favorites.
5. Brown Sugar And Pineapple Roasted Acorn Squash with Spiced Brown Butter
A twist on a classic fall dish, this brown sugar and pineapple acorn squash from Half Baked Harvest looks (and sounds) totally impressive, but is another super easy and cheap dish. Making the spiced brown butter is a cinch and you need just a can of pineapple and an acorn squash to finish off the dish.
6. Creamy Pumpkin and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes
Just look at these creamy pumpkin and cheddar scalloped potatoes from Cooking for Keeps. It can be hard to make a potato dish look gorgeous, but this one does, and is another cheap dish made up of mostly staples. In fact, if you have potatoes, butter, garlic, milk, flour, and cheese (I know you have cheese, girl), then you probably only need to make a run for pumpkin puree. Doesn't get much cheaper than that.
7. Caramel Apple Cider
You want a seasonal, Thanksgiving-themed drink, but don't want to spend forever simmering cloves or spending a fortune on booze? I get it. That's where this gorgeous caramel apple cider from Deliciously Yum comes in handy. Everyone will think you're so fancy for whipping these babies up after dinner.