(WIVB) — Thanksgiving is intended to be a feast. But feasts cost money — a lot of it. And when you factor in inflation, which has pushed up some of the most basic items on your Thanksgiving table between 20 and 25 percent, your meal this Thursday will cost you a lot more.

But what if I told you, you can serve 8 to 10 people turkey, gravy and four super easy-to-make side dishes for less than $60? It’s not only possible. But I can guarantee you, it’ll be delicious.
We begin where you actually should when it comes to doing anything from painting to cooking to snow removal — it’s all about the prep.

If you’re cooking Thanksgiving for the first time, organizing, doing what you can ahead of time and considering things like storage, fridge and oven space before even walking into your kitchen, goes a really long way. Make sure you’re being realistic.

Let’s take a look at the dishes. We’re having turkey with gravy, not-your-normal boxed stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted delicata squash with brown sugar and green bean casserole — a staple on our turkey table and one of my favorites!

First, most people have just one oven. But with a little planning, I promise you can do this.
With one oven, you’ll need to cook in a certain order. So we’ll start with the side dishes, which can be warmed up in the oven when your turkey is resting.

Since we’re using a frozen turkey, it must be properly thawed in the fridge. And since today is Tuesday, you need to get your bird in a hurry and start thawing. Tonight.

Two of the four sides, the green bean casserole and the stuffing cook at 350 degrees, so I’ll do those at the same time. Then while I start the mashed potatoes, I’ll prep and roast off the squash.

If your oven is big enough, you can cook the turkey on the lowest rack, and then cook the casseroles on the upper rack the last hour or so of cooking the turkey. If that’s the case, start with the squash and potatoes. Then you can hold and rewarm them when the turkey rests. Strain and separate the turkey drippings and make the gravy.

Here’s how we came in under $60. A 12 pound frozen turkey is just $7. Add celery, onion, carrots and chicken stock for roasting, for a total of $22.77.

Add another $4.50 for the gravy.

A twin pack of stove top is less than $4. Add onion, celery and mushrooms for a total of $9.47.
Mashed potatoes are just $5 using white potatoes, and a little cream and butter.

Five medium sized delicata squash are just $5.

And the green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and fried onions for $13.18.
That’s $58.92 for a turkey dinner for 10.

Recipes and cooking directions:

Turkey, 12-14 lbs
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 stick butter (8TBS), softened
1 TBS each dried sage, oregano (optional, rosemary)
2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Directions: Remove turkey from refrigerator, and place on rack in roasting pan to take the chill off the bird. This will take about a half hour to an hour.

Preheat oven to 350, with the rack in the lowest setting.

Take a piece of foil that’s big enough to be folded in half and placed over the breast. Spray one side of the foil with cooking spray. Form it on the breast. Remove and set aside.
Chop fresh herbs if using. Otherwise, add dried herbs, salt and pepper to the softened butter and combine.

Stuff half the vegetables into the turkey cavity. Spread the other half of vegetables under/around the bird in the roasting pan. Add chicken stock to roasting pan.

Using your fingers, gently loosen turkey skin around the breast. Rub the compound butter under and on top of the skin, being sure to push the butter under the skin all the way to the neck.

Bake at 13 minutes per pound. So a 12 pound bird should take between 2:30-2:40 at 350 degrees. Adjust cooking times if changing temperature.

If you notice the breast skin browning too quickly, use the foil tent that’s already molded to fit. Remove the tent during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

TEMP IT: The bird is done when the internal temperature of the breast reaches 160, and the dark meat a little higher, about 170.

NOTE: Keeping the bird in the oven until the breast reaches 165 will result in dry meat because the bird will continue to cook when you take it out of the oven to rest (at least 5 degrees). Allow the turkey to rest AT LEAST 10-20 minutes, loosely tented with foil to keep warm.


Turkey drippings
Chicken stock (if needed)
1/2 onion, diced finely (substitute shallot for preference)
3 TBS butter PLUS 3-4 additional TBS cold butter
Salt and pepper

Directions: Strain juices from the roasting pan and set aside, skimming off fat as it cools.
Add additional stock as necessary to be left with about 2 cups of liquid.

Sauté onions. Add stock and drippings. Reduce until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.


Two boxes stuffing mix
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2-4 cups chicken stock

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 1/2 by 13 pan. Set aside.Sauté vegetables.
Combine vegetables with bread cubes and seasonings and toss. Pour into baking dish. Pour stock evenly over the mixture. Cover and bake for one hour.
NOTE: Some additions to consider: ground mild pork sausage, chestnuts, dried cherries, mild peppers.


Large bag, frozen cut green beans
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
French fried onions

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Butter the baking dish.

Add green beans to microwave safe bowl. Cook on high 7-8 minutes, or until softened. (Beans can also be blanched in boiling water, 2-3 minutes). Drain and set aside.

Sauté mushrooms and onions until softened, and most of the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms.

Combine beans, mushrooms, onion and cream of mushroom. Pour into prepared baking dish.
Cover and cook for one hour. Remove and discard foil. Top with fried onions, return to the oven and cook until onions brown on top, about 12-15 additional minutes.


5 lbs white potatoes, washed and skin on
8 oz heavy cream
1 stick butter
Salt and pepper

Boil potatoes in heavily salted water until fork tender. Drain.

In the same pot, begin to mash and stir while adding cream and butter, half at a time to combine. Add salt and pepper to your liking (you’ll need more than you think).

NOTE: Leaving the skins on is a personal preference. It’s a little more rustic, and you can skip the step of peeling. You can also flavor your cream before adding to the cooked potatoes. Do this by steeping (NOT boiling) cream with a few cloves of smashed garlic, or a sprig of rosemary for about 5-10 minutes. Strain and use as directed.


3-5 medium squash, about 3-4 lbs
3 TBS brown sugar
Olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 400.

Delicata squash are unique and easy. They’re one of the few squash varieties whose skin can easily be consumed. So no peeling necessary!

Cut off each end of the squash and then halve along the length. Use a spoon to scrape out seeds and and fibers.

Slice half moons about 1/4 inch thick. Lay out on a greased sheet pan, or use parchment paper.
Drizzle the squash with olive oil. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until squash softens and sugar has started to caramelize.

Dave Greber is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.