Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Menu

As a multicourse affair, Thanksgiving dinner can get pricey. But by relying on staple pantry items and produce that overlaps from dish to dish, you can construct a feast that impresses without breaking the bank.

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Photo By: Adrian Mueller ©2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved

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Watercress Salad with Dried Fruit and Almonds

Tyler Florence's watercress salad couldn't be simpler to make, requiring only six ingredients, most of which you already have stocked in your pantry. If you don't have dried cranberries on hand, feel free to substitute with dried apricots, cherries or raisins.

Get the Recipe: Watercress Salad with Dried Fruit and Almonds

Almond-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Prunes

With just three ingredients and ready in only 25 minutes, these easy almond-stuffed, bacon-wrapped prunes combine sweet and salty flavors and a medley of textures.

Get the Recipe: Almond-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Prunes

Bruschetta with Sauteed Mushrooms

Why save mushrooms for the main course when you can quickly saute them with oil and some herbs for a bruschetta topping? Opt for meaty shiitake and portobello varieties to give this mostly from-the-pantry starter an even fresher feel.

Get the Recipe: Bruschetta with Sauteed Mushrooms

Mozzarella-Stuffed Portobellos

Fresh herbs and grated Parmesan add heft to these breadcrumb-stuffed mushroom caps that do double duty as a sit-down starter or a side dish.

Get the Recipe: Mozzarella Stuffed Portobellos

Squash Soup

Honey, nutmeg and heavy cream give this soup a decadent dessert-like sweetness, but the soup still offers the salty satisfaction of a savory side. The only thing you'll need to buy fresh is the squash itself.

Get the Recipe: Squash Soup

Bay and Lemon Brined Turkey

This simple recipe is all about the warm and bright brine containing bay leaves, lemon, cinnamon sticks and cloves. The sweet-and-salty solution infuses the turkey with moisture overnight, ensuring a juicier turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

Get the Recipe: Bay and Lemon Brined Turkey

Do Nothing Turkey

This turkey recipe means what it says. Rubbed with only olive oil, salt and pepper, this turkey saves you both time and money to spend elsewhere. Use any extra funds to whip up indulgent stuffings or decadent desserts to complement the simple meat.

Get the Recipe: Do Nothing Turkey

Roast Turkey Breast

Kelsey Nixon doesn't have a roasting rack, so she elevates her turkey on a bed of carrots, celery and onions, resulting in tender, savory vegetables and drippings infused with flavor. A clever compound butter (with garlic, citrus zest and spices) gives this turkey a little extra something to set it apart at little extra cost.

Get the Recipe: Roast Turkey Breast

Sourdough Bread Stuffing

Dave Lieberman crafts a sourdough stuffing with only onions, celery, mushrooms and seasonal herbs. Use extra thyme, sage and parsley from your other holiday courses to season the mushroom saute.

Get the Recipe: Sourdough Bread Stuffing

Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Buy a package of diced pancetta to save on prep time and enhance these seasonal sprouts. The only additional ingredients you'll need are balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Get the Recipe: Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Haricots Verts with Rosemary

Turn regular olive oil into a lemon-infused, green-bean-changing dressing by simmering zest in oil for 15 minutes. Add rosemary to the lot before mixing in the snappy beans to add savory sophistication to these ordinary vegetables from the market.

Get the Recipe: Haricots Verts with Rosemary

Garlic Roast Potatoes

Roast 3 pounds of potatoes (which don't even require peeling) with little more than a head of garlic, olive oil and salt for a foolproof, flavorful side.

Get the Recipe: Garlic Roast Potatoes

Roasted Squash

Laura Calder roasts butternut squash simply, giving it earthy flavor with fresh thyme and bay leaves. Large kosher salt crystals add extra texture and enhance its natural sweetness.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Squash

Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey

Buy those for-pie pecans in bulk: These sweet banana-infused mashed potatoes are topped with a brown sugar and pecan crumble. 

Get the Recipe: Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey

Honey-Glazed Carrots

Slather baby carrots in a sticky sheen of butter, honey and lemon juice for a colorful and quick-cooking side dish. Garnish with parsley for color and holiday-ready presentation.

Get the Recipe: Honey Glazed Carrots

Buttermilk Biscuits

When made with buttermilk, as in this classic Southern recipe, biscuits are light, flaky and rich with flavor — perfect for sopping up extra gravy or slathering with butter. Don't have vegetable shortening? Use canola oil, margarine or even applesauce instead.

Rapid Rolls

Jars and packages of active dry yeast can get pricey, but this recipe requires only three quarter-ounce packets, which markets sell at a much lower cost. The rest of the recipe comes together with the most basic pantry staples for gorgeous, golden-brown rolls.

Get the Recipe: Rapid Rolls

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Orange juice and orange zest add citrus notes and brightness to this cranberry sauce, which would pair well with lemon-scented turkeys and fall fruit salads. Just add cinnamon (which you'll have for the dessert course anyway) to warm the classic turkey accompaniment.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Apple Cake

This cake's sugar-and-lemon-coated apples really shine in a batter made from the baking basics. Alternate layers of the batter and apples in a Bundt pan to give the cake a more festive and epicurean look.

Get the Recipe: Apple Cake

Maple Pecan Pie

Chuck Hughes' mom's pie has a creamy maple syrup center for that perfect sticky-sweet nut flavor pairing. If you don't have time to bake a crust, a store-bought variety works just as well.

Get the Recipe: Maple Pecan Pie

Apple Crisp

Kelsey's classic crisp can be made straight from your pantry, requiring only some staple dry goods, apples and lemon juice.

Get the Recipe: Apple Crisp