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The $10 Thanksgiving Budget Box

Last post Fri, Nov 9 2012 1:22 PM by Helene. 45 replies.
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  • Mon, Nov 5 2012 8:18 AM

    The $10 Thanksgiving Budget Box

    Let's say you are in charge of creating Thankgiving meal boxes. You have $10 to spend to make each box and they will be sold to low income families (who have kitchen access to cook) so they can enjoy a nice holiday meal and not miss out because they don't have the funds to put on a big or fancy spread. As a GENERAL rule of thumb, assume they have baking/cooking shelf basics like flour, sugar, seasonings, herbs/spices, oil, etc. ... Do not assume they have things like homegrown foods or things like eggs, milk, butter, etc that may be basics in your own home. Not all have the money for these "extrs" or the land/space to grow their own or access to public growing spots. Think bare minimum in their kitchen to start and build these boxes.

     Requirements: must be no more than $10 to make - do not worry about tax just stick to $10; no dietary requirments or special diets need to be taken into consideration here - they are happy to get the box and work with what you've provided in it; meal must include typical Thanksgiving oriented foods (American Thanksgiving style, you know the deal already) and must be able to feed 4 adults. Boxes would be distributed like how AFM use to do it or the other food programs which allow freezer/fridge/cold and shelf items to be included in the box so they will be kept safe until pick up, no worries about cold items and spoilage. That won't happen. Design 1 box idea that would be used for multiple identical holiday boxes. $10 to make, $10 to buy.

    Please share your box idea with us and keep in mind there are folks who can't even afford a $10 box or holiday meal in general but to those who can or are in a position like this with low funds your answer to this post may come as a complete blessing to them and you may not even know it... some may see this and get ideas and be able to make a holiday meal happen for their family/loved ones. The stress of low funds is enough to deal with already and holiday planning can make things even harder. Build a box and perhaps build a holiday meal on someone's table in return... share!

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Mon, Nov 5 2012 8:54 AM In reply to

    Re: The $10 Thanksgiving Budget Box

    As much as I would love to go with a turkey and the current sales, I would not be able to find a sale turkey for the small size I would need. I would then have to go with the next frugal meat here which is chicken. I can often find chicken leg quarters for .99 cents a lb or under. I would need 4 lbs. I would get a 4lb value pack for $4 so that would be my best bet for meat. I could serve it like turkey with traditional Thanksgiving sides.

    Meat, covered @ $4... $6 left to budget with

    Box of potato flakes, plain/unseasoned just pure potato flakes $1

    *Note, after posting this a user reminded me about how cheap fresh potatoes are and I was so caught in the old minstry box ideas that I was thinking dry potatoes and not fresh. For that $1 I could get a HUGE bag of potatoes to use in MANY ways so it would be a MUCH better value. In that case, I would stick with fresh.

    Celery (1 stalk), carrots (1lb bag), onions (1-2) $2

    Wheat bread loaf $1

    Fresh sweet potatoes or yams $1.50

    Cranberry sauce/canned .50

    Total = $10

    This is where shelf staple herbs/spices really come in need and hand...

    Rub the chicken with herbs/spices on hand and roast. Reserve juices. Use the juices with flour and seasonings for chicken gravy. Make mashed potatoes with the potatoes, their soak water and seasonings. Use the 3/4th of the onions and 1/2 the celery with the wheat bread loaf and herbs/spices on hand and make stuffing. Roast the carrots. Now for the fun part. Boil the sweet potatoes/yams. Reserve the broth and set aside. Use some of the broth to mash with the sweet potatoes/yams and sweeteners on hand like sugar and cinnamon. Use the last 1/4th of the onion and the last half of the celery and boil with dry herbs/spices on hand. Simmer on low and then puree for a nice soft pureed savory celery soup! Served chilled cranberry sauce as a side with the meal.

    All that could be done for $10 with the following menu outcome:

    ~ Herb roasted chicken leg quarters with homemade stuffing

    ~ Mashed potatoes with homemade savory chicken gravy

    ~ Celery, onion & herb soft soup

    ~ Sweet and smashed sweet potatoes/yams

    ~ Cranberry sauce

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Mon, Nov 5 2012 10:24 AM In reply to

    Re: The $10 Thanksgiving Bugdget Box

    In response to this menu (great job!) I'd rather have the carrots and celery as a relish (fresh). And, I think I could buy 5# of potatoes for .99 which would mean some leftovers. I wouldn't be able to find cranberry sauce for .50.
  • Mon, Nov 5 2012 11:17 AM In reply to

    Re: The $10 Thanksgiving Bugdget Box

    Kassy, I can not even believe I forgot about the cheap cost of fresh potatoes. I am so embarressed right now I can't even tell you as I would always prefer to use/supply fresh potatoes and was so caught in the moment of the old Angel Food boxes with dried that I had my head stuck in that thought. Fresh potatoes for SURE. I could make a few dishes with them... Thank you for the reminder. I will make an edit.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Mon, Nov 5 2012 11:56 AM In reply to

    Re: The $10 Thanksgiving Bugdget Box


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  • Mon, Nov 5 2012 12:11 PM In reply to

    Re: The $10 Thanksgiving Bugdget Box

    Jaya, free time used wisely in posts like this that could really help! I can't wait to see your box menu idea later. What kind of meat would you be using? I chose chicken for my box because it's cheaper here and would give each person 1 leg quarter which is more than enough meat... allows some leftovers! Still can't believe I wasn't even thinking of fresh potatoes, I can get the 10lb bag here for 1 buck like you too which could make lots of potato dishes. No butter here though, far too expensive. Where on earth are you getting butter for $1, that is a steal for actual butter not margerine? I am scared to say I would have a freezer of butter if it were that price here LOL

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Mon, Nov 5 2012 12:29 PM In reply to

    Re: The $10 Thanksgiving Bugdget Box

    BargainBinge:

    Jaya, free time used wisely in posts like this that could really help! I can't wait to see your box menu idea later. What kind of meat would you be using? I chose chicken for my box because it's cheaper here and would give each person 1 leg quarter which is more than enough meat... allows some leftovers! Still can't believe I wasn't even thinking of fresh potatoes, I can get the 10lb bag here for 1 buck like you too which could make lots of potato dishes. No butter here though, far too expensive. Where on earth are you getting butter for $1, that is a steal for actual butter not margerine? I am scared to say I would have a freezer of butter if it were that price here LOL

    Regarding the butter, you're assuming she's using an entire package. If you consider that she's probably only going to use one stick, or at most a stick and a half, you have to divide the cost of the entire package of butter accordingly. One stick from a $2.50 package is about 70 cents' worth.

    In fact, in all of these little contests/games we've got going on around here lately, we really need to divide the cost of everything according to how much is going to be used just for the one meal, in order to get a true, accurate cost analysis. That ten pound bag of potatoes: maybe you'll only use three or four pounds for Thanksgiving dinner, making your potato cost for that meal only thirty or forty cents.

    "The business of life is the acquisition of memories." --Mr. Carson
  • Mon, Nov 5 2012 1:54 PM In reply to

    • babs
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    Re: The $10 Thanksgiving Bugdget Box

    Cranberry sauce is over a dollar here, Wheat bread would be closer to $2.50 or more. pound of Carrots would be $1.99, Dont think I could make a real Thanksgiving meal for $10 with the prices here. Turkeys are very high this year. Sad for people that depend on the low prices to stock up, Babs

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  • Mon, Nov 5 2012 2:53 PM In reply to

    Re: The $10 Thanksgiving Bugdget Box

    Love Day, VERY GOOD POINT about dividing. I did not even think.

    Babs, the post was for you to create based on what you could work with - not the ingredients in my box but whatever you could work with. Create your own. I am sorry those prices are so high there for the foods you listed though!!! Would you be able to do anything with canned or frozen stuff or are those prices sky high there too?

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Mon, Nov 5 2012 2:59 PM In reply to

    Re: The $10 Thanksgiving Bugdget Box

    Ps. Love day, I think why I was not thinking about dividing is because the intention behind this post is "serious help" for someone who might be in a position like this and come across the post. It's ideas of boxes people might be able to go out and actually make for their holiday meal and how to make it all work... so I was stuck on that thought and didn't consider dividing because I was thinking about folks seeing it and then buying the box ingredients as listed... but articulated the post more so as us creating boxes in multitude which is where dividing would be SUCH a good idea. I am glad you brought that to attention. Anyhow, sometimes I do not get all my points across clear here or am lost in trains of though, we all have our defaults. Not all brains are functioning on the same page, smile. I appreciate the imput.  I hope this post can be taken as help, not a contest or game, but more so a method of help. In all honesty, it's posts like this that led me to Stretcher. This is exactly HOW I found Stretcher a few years ago. I was searching the web for this VERY SAME topic about budget holiday meals and found some posts here... so you never know who or how it might help someone with stuff like this!

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
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