A jolly good Christmas family feast for just $50

Penina Petersen is Australia’s number one savings blogger and certainly knows how to squeeze a few dollars. Here are her tips to creating a delectable Christmas feast for just $50.

There’s a lot to worry about at Christmas when it comes to the budget, and this can take the happiness out of a host’s lofty culinary goals.

Australian prawns are around $29 a kilo, a crackling ham roast will set you back a more than a pretty penny at $20 a kilo, and putting together a beautiful, berry-filled pavlova can cost around $20. So you can see how easy it is to break the budget at Christmas.

If you are trying to save a dollar or ($200) for those awesome Boxing Day sales, I suggest you read on and enjoy this important money saving Christmas feast that will serve six people or more for just $50.

Five simple steps for success:

Pick one main meat or poultry item (eg. turkey) and bling with sauces
Bulk it up with veggies, salads, potatoes and one type of cheese like feta
Spread filling ingredients across many dishes

Stretch out desserts with jelly, ice-cream and homemade cake

Penina is Australia’s number one savings blogger. Photo: Supplied
Penina is Australia’s number one savings blogger. Photo: Supplied

Use up every last bit of the ingredients you purchase with the goal of no food waste.

Hang onto your Santa hat, you’re about to get hit with all the specifics!

What’s on the menu:

Entree
  • Bruschetta

  • Cheesy turkey mini toasts

  • Grilled pineapple

Turkey bruschetta. Photo: Supplied
Turkey bruschetta. Photo: Supplied
Main
  • Roast turkey

  • Herb stuffing

  • Gravy

  • Cranberry sauce

Sides
  • Mini potato galettes

  • Roast pumpkin salad

  • Baked herbed carrots

  • Feta tomatoes

  • Pineapple cranberry slaw salad

Dessert
  • Plum pudding, custard and cream

  • Pretty strawberry jelly cups

  • Mini trifle cups and ice cream

Drinks
  • Raspberry lemon punch

Yes, believe it. This entire menu can be done with $50 and I did it. Yay!
Now you can too…

Grocery list, price $50:

White bread 650g ($0.89)
Feta cheese 200g ($2.00)
Pouring custard 1L ($1.69)
Raspberry lemonade 1L ($0.69)
Mini toasts ($1.00)
220ml Cranberry sauce ($1.99)
Mayo (Aioli) 252g ($0.95)
Plum pudding 700g ($3.49)
2 x Strawberry jelly ($1.00)
Cake mix – vanilla ($1.69)
Brushed potatoes 3kg ($2.50)
Carrots 1kg ($1.00)
Kent pumpkin cut ($1.50)
Tomatoes 1kg ($3.00)
Fresh pineapple ($2.00)
Salad leaves 200g ($1.90)
Green and red cabbage quarters ($2.00)
1 Red onion ($0.20)
1 Brown onion ($0.20)
Garlic head ($0.20)
Turkey thigh roast 2kg ($18.00)
Ice cream 2L ($2.50)

Roast turkey. Photo: Supplied
Roast turkey. Photo: Supplied
Home Pantry

Cornflour
Flour
Salt and pepper
Chicken stock
Mixed herbs
Olive oil and olive oil spray
Garlic powder

Yes, believe it. This entire menu can be done with $50, I did it and so can you.

Recipes:

Note: Get your turkey on first as this will take the longest to cook.

Entree

Bruschetta

  • 2 tomatoes diced

  • Olive oil

  • ¼ cucumber diced

  • 2 tsp mixed herbs

  • ¼ red onion diced

  • Basil (optional)

  • 8 slices bread

Remove crusts from 8 slices of bread and toast.

Combine all remaining ingredients and spoon onto the toast. Add basil for extra flavour.

Cheesy Turkey Mini Toasts

  • 1 pkt mini toasts

  • 1 slice roast turkey, chopped

  • 25g feta cheese

Place the mini toasts out and top with little pieces turkey and feta crumbles.

Grilled Fresh Pineapple

  • ½ pineapple

  • Toothpicks (if you have at home)

Cut the pineapple up and place under the grill or in a sandwich maker so you get the nice cooking lines across the pineapple. Serve warm if possible.

Main

Roast turkey

  • 2kg turkey

  • 1 cup water

Your turkey should come with full cooking instructions. If not, place the turkey in foil with a cup of water in the oven. Cook at 170 degrees in a fan-forced oven or 180 degrees without the fan on.

After 40 minutes turn the turkey over. After about 1 hr 30 mins juices will come out of the foil. Add extra water to the pan. I’ll use the extra juices at the end to make gravy.

The 2kg (13 serve) turkey roll should take 3 hours from frozen or 2 hours 30 minutes from thawed.

Note: I always leave mine in for longer. Turn down the heat and cover if you’d like it cooked. Use a thermometer and it should be cooked when the internal temperature is 82 degrees.

Herb stuffing. Photo: Supplied
Herb stuffing. Photo: Supplied

Herb stuffing

  • 100g butter

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 tsp chicken stock

  • 1 onion, chopped finely

  • 250g fresh breadcrumbs

  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

  • 1/2 tsp sugar

  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs

Fry the onion, garlic and butter until translucent. Fold through the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, sugar, mixed herbs and stock.

Add extra flavours from your pantry if desired. Heat through to serve.

Gravy

  • 1 tray turkey jus

  • 1 tbsp cornflour

  • 2 tsp chicken stock

  • 1 tsp garlic (cooked)

  • 1 cup water

  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Make a paste with the cornflour and a little water. Add to the jus in a small pot.

Add 1 cup of water and stir as the gravy thickens. Add chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste. Add extra flour or water to get the thickness you desire.

Cranberry sauce

  • ¾ jar cranberry sauce

To serve decant into a nice little bowl. You will use the other quarter for the Cranberry Pineapple Slaw.

Sides

Mini potato galettes

  • 8 potatoes

  • Olive oil spray

  • 1 onion

  • Mixed herbs

Peel and slice each potato. Thinly slice an onion.

Add a little onion between each layer of potato and sprinkle with herbs. Spray with oil and bake for approximately 40 minutes until crispy. Garnish to serve if desired.

Roast pumpkin salad

  • ½ Kent pumpkin

  • ½ bag salad leaves (100g)

  • ¼ tub mayo (or aioli)

  • Salt and pepper

  • Water

  • ¼ block of feta (50g)

  • Olive oil spray

Cut the pumpkin, spray or drizzle with oil and bake in 1cm of water.

Combine the mayo with a little water to make it a little runny. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve lay the pumpkin on a platter, drizzle with the mayo and sprinkle with feta.

Baked herbed carrots

  • 3/4 bag of carrots (8)

  • Olive oil

  • 1 tsp mixed herbs

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 1 tsp chicken salt

  • Salt and pepper

Cut carrots into pieces and drizzle with oil in a greased or non-stick baking tray.

Sprinkle over the garlic, chicken salt, salt and pepper and mixed herbs. Stir through.

Bake until a little brown on top for about an hour on medium heat. Garnish to serve if desired.

Note: You will use the rest of the carrots for the coleslaw.

Feta tomatoes

  • 8 tomatoes (or what’s left from the 1kg bag of 10)

  • ¼ block feta

  • Olive oil

  • Mixed herbs

Cut the tomatoes in half and drizzle with olive oil in an oven tray. Top with feta and mixed herbs.

Bake for about 30 minutes until well cooked. Serve hot out of the oven. Garnish to serve if desired.

Pineapple cranberry slaw salad

  • ¼ red cabbage

  • ¼ green cabbage

  • ¼ tub Mayo (Aioli)

  • Salt and pepper

  • ¼ pineapple

  • ¼ jar cranberry sauce

Thinly shred the red and green cabbages and cut the pineapple into small cubes.

Combine these in the bowl with the mayo. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with cranberry sauce.

Dessert

Plum pudding, custard and ice cream

  • 1 plum pudding

  • 500ml pouring custard

  • ¼ tub ice cream

Steam or microwave the pudding according to directions. Cut up and serve with the custard and ice-cream.

Pretty Strawberry Jelly Cups

  • 1 pkt jelly

  • ¼ tub ice cream

Make the jelly up and pour into small tubs or glasses at least a day in advance.

At time of serving, top with ice-cream.

Mini trifle cups with ice cream

  • 1 pkt jelly

  • 1 cake mix

  • ¼ tub ice cream

  • 500ml pouring custard

Make up jelly the day before and allow to set.

The next day, make the cake up according to packet directions and allow to cool. Arrange a number cups in a line. Cut pieces of the cake and place in the bottom. Add custard and top with spoonfuls of jelly. Pop in the fridge.

Top with ice-cream to serve or other fruit/toppings as desired.

Drinks

Raspberry Pineapple Punch

  • 2 trays homemade ice

  • 1 bottle raspberry lemonade

  • ⅛ pineapple, cut

  • 1 lemon (optional if you have a tree in the garden)

Homemade ice is free. Put those ice-cube trays to work and make ice for the punch.

Add the raspberry lemonade and chopped pineapple to a large punch bowl. If you have a lemon tree like me, grab a lemon, slice it up and also add to the punch.

Penina Petersen is a food author and blogger at Savings Room. She also has a beautiful Christmas platter spread that you can put together for just $20, check it out here.

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