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Meals to please a crowd as well as your wallet

The holidays are coming upon us very quickly and I know that at my family’s house, the anticipation for mouthwatering meals is palpable. For my family and most other families, around this time food seems to be the star of the show.
Turkey, ham, potatoes, pies, you name it. The whole nine yards will be presented as we all sit around the table. However, at the end of the meal you may be thinking about the pounds you have just piled on as your wallet gets thinner.
You really don’t have to be guilty after a big holiday meal. There are ways to avoid those few extra pounds gained over the holiday without breaking the bank. My mother passes along easy tips on saving with a couple wallet friendly recipes.


Mother’s Meal Tips
1. Buy a chicken instead of a turkey or ham. Chicken on the market right now is significantly cheaper to buy and it also is healthier to eat.
2. Educate yourself about the vegetarian versions of protein.
3. Cook more than what is needed to
create other meals from the previous. Double recipes and freeze.
4. Buy produce that is in season
5. Avoid processed foods. (i.e. instant potatoes, premade dressings, boxed stuffing) They tend to cost more as
well as have a very high salt content. Home make your mashed potatoes and stuffing!
6. Homemade soups and casseroles are great for your diet as well as your pocket.

Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Amy Ross, Flickr



  • 1 – 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 can of sweet potatoes

  • 1 – 2 apples (any variety)

  • ¼ cup all natural 100% apple juice

1. Mash up sweet potatoes
2. Thinly slice the apple (no need to peel).
3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a sauté pan that has a tight fitting lid.
4. Throw the prepared potatoes into the pan and cook while stirring for a few minutes.
5. Add the apple slices and cook for another minute or two.
6. Keeping the heat on medium, pour in the apple juice, put on the lid, and steam until the liquid has almost evaporated.
It should only take another couple of minutes. Serve warm

Recipe provided by 100daysofrealfood.com

Caramel Corn

Lee Davenport, Flickr


  • 1 cup butter

  • 2 cups packed brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 8 cups popped popcorn

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Over medium heat, combine first 4 ingredients and boil for 5 minutes.
2. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. Stir well. Pour over the popcorn. Stir to coat well.
3. Bake in large roaster or pan for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
4. Spread on waxed paper to dry.

Recipe provided by Paula Deen

Split Pea Soup

Photo provided by flickr



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • ¼ teaspoon salt (if you are using store bought chicken broth that is already salted only use ⅛ teaspoon
  • )
  • Pepper, to taste

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 bay leaf $2.48 (12 oz container)

  • 1 pound dried split peas, picked over and rinsed

  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth (we LOVE homemade stock, which is very easy to make in your slow cooker with leftover chicken bones)

  • 1 cup milk

  • Hot sauce, to taste

  • Recommended toppings and accompaniments: organic (and/or local) chopped bacon, ham, sausage or hot dogs plus homemade whole-wheat biscuits or toast on the side

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
2. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper.
3. Once the onions have softened add the garlic, bay leaf, split peas and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
4. Add the broth/stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer and stir occasionally for 45 minutes or until the peas are tender.
5. Remove soup pot from heat, discard the bay leaf, and puree using a hand-held immersion blender. The soup may be pureed in batches in a freestanding blender as well.
6. Stir in the milk and hot sauce (if desired) and ladle warm soup into bowls. Add your favorite topping and enjoy!

Recipes from foodnetwork.com

Cinnamon Rolls

Photo provided by flickr


  • 1/4 -ounce package yeast

  • 1/2 cup warm water

  • 1/2 cup scalded milk

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/3 cup butter or shortening

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan

  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • 3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 to 6 tablespoons hot water

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside.
3. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth.
4. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle.
5. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
6. When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle.
7. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired.
8. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.
9. Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes.
10. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
11. Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Rice Crispy Treats

The Bakerlady/flickr


  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 4 cups JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows

  • 6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.
3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

Microwave Directions:
1. In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.
2. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

Note -For best results, use fresh marshmallows. -1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows. -Diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended. -Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container. -To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe from RiceKrispies.com