It's time to put on your pilgrim hat and shortest skirts and say goodbye to your turkey friends!
So. It's that time of year! Orange leaves crunch under your feet, pumpkin pies are extremely affordable at every grocery store and restaurant, and family gathers together under the dried-out corn hanging thing (what are those things about, exactly?) to celebrate THANKSGIVING! (October 10 this year)
(*Note to non-Canadians: you don't know what you're missing. And Americans? Your Thanksgiving is too close to Christmas. You should think of switching it to October)
Thanksgiving in November? Who thought that up?
As with everything, the best and most frugal way to approach this is in a classic, no-frills manner. A basic dinner of turkey, stuffing, side dishes, and pumpkin pie for dessert? Perfect, and cheap. For maximum frugality, you should make everything from scratch - that means no premade pie crust, no canned pumpkin, no stuffing from a box. Rather, make a crust using flour and things, buy and gut a pumpkin (so cheap this time of year!), and made stuffing out of actual bread.
Also, for ultimate frugality, you need to spread the work around. Potluck style works out well so that it's not all up to one person to pay for and cook everything, and then everybody gets to take home leftovers of stuff that everyone else brought.
Also, when you host the supper? You get to wear an apron! Which is always awesome.
When you host Thanksgiving supper, all you need to do is make the turkey. That's all! The guests will bring everything else! And you still get leftovers!
Oh, turkey! Delicious at the meal itself; delicious cold in sandwiches later; also delicious in soup later. How to make a good turkey soup? Take as much meat as possible off the bones, then dump the bones into a thing of boiling water. Simmer forever, like, hours. Also put in leftover veg (carrots, etc.). Deliciouso!
(*Note: To make sure you have enough turkey, but not waaaay too much, use the turkey calculator to find out the best weight)
Thanksgiving is also the only time it's appropriate to wear a slutty pilgrim outfit.
I mean, if you have one. And if you don't, get to sewing!
Stuffing! DO NOT BUY PRE-PACKAGED stuffing. Just use up bread - buy a bag of reduced bread on a Friday night at the grocery store (when they mark down all the leftover stuff). Or buy reduced buns. Or bagels. Or whatever - it's just going to turn into gooey deliciousness, after all.
Side dishes! Some yummy autumn soup like squash soup or pumpkin soup are great, and also cheap. Just buy a few butternut squash, roast, scoop the innards into a pot of soup stock, add onions and jalapeno peppers and maple syrup and apple juice (this is the made-up recipe I use) and enjoy the yumminess!
Don't feel bad about eating the turkey. They'd eat you, if given the chance.
My Mom really likes cranberry sauce. You can do this old-school style with canned stuff, or buy a bag of frozen cranberries and boil them (I think this is what my Mom does; I don't know for sure because I don't like cranberry sauce and am usually busy making the mashed potatoes)
MASHED POTATOES! I like to make them with butter, milk, and (seriously, it's so good) a little mustard. Nothing is cheaper than potatoes - NOTHING. They also fill you up.
On the road for Thanksgiving? Make a dinner for one with some thickly-sliced roast turkey (from the deli counter), bake a potato in the microwave, and pour gravy on top from a mix, or canned gravy.