Personal Finance

Kat’s Money Corner: Holiday meals for a steal

The holidays are quickly approaching. For many of us, it’s the busiest time of year. Invitations may already be appearing in your mailbox for holiday open houses, evening soirees and gift exchanges. If you’re planning on throwing a party or hosting a holiday gathering at your house, don’t let the stress of not knowing what to cook get you down and out. Plan ahead and pick out those recipes now that work within your budget. Let’s do it together!

Tidings of Comfort Food

I can't imagine a holiday without my Aunt Marilee's Mac & Cheese. Luckily, my family opts for a potluck style meal for Thanksgiving and Christmas. A potluck is a great alternative to the traditional hosted meal. No one feels overwhelmed and everyone has a chance to shine with his or her signature dish.

Another idea for a reasonable holiday celebration is to throw a different kind of party and create a new holiday tradition at the same time. Celebrate with a festive (and frugal) tapas night or ask guests to bring themed treats and eats for a fondue party. A gathering doesn’t have to be centered on a meal. A casual get together with a few yummy bites and some carols can be just as memorable as a big, plated party.

A Place At The Table

If I’m not hosting and just attending, I like to bring holiday-themed appetizers. One of my favorites is a twist on the overused cheese and crackers that’s both delicious and easy. Simply take a block of cream cheese and top it with your favorite kind of sauce (chipotle jam, jalapeño jelly, BBQ – you get the idea) on top and serve with crackers or bread.

Another delicious and budget-friendly idea uses one of my favorite foods – sweet potatoes. Sautéed, baked, in a pie or even grilled, the sweet potato is seasonal, festive, versatile and inexpensive.

Even if your host insists that you bring only yourself and good cheer, it’s never a bad idea to express your gratitude with a simple, small gift. Be it a bottle of wine tied in festive ribbon, freshly ground coffee or even a fun piece of glassware, a small token of appreciation is a jolly way of saying ‘thanks!’

Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little one, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click