Thanksgiving dinner on a college budget

By: Jyllian Roach, Editor-In-Chief | Photos Courtesy: Deyona Gundlach & Jason Andrews

Tired of the same old thing every Thanksgiving? Here are some great Southwestern style recipe ideas designed for the  low-budget cook. This meal, which served 12 people wit h leftovers, cost about $95 — less than $8 per person.

Cornbread-Chorizo Stuffing

  • Put 1 pound of chorizo (casings removed) in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat until crumbly and brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  • Cook carrots and celery until soft.
  • Pour a boxed cornbread stuffing mix, substituting half the water with chicken stock, into a casserole dish.
  • Add chorizo, vegetables, and ½ cup of butter and mix thoroughly.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Spicy Ranch Dressing

  • In a food processor mix a bottle of ranch dressing, a ¼ cup fresh cilantro, a ¼ cup of fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon of Mexican oregano, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of cumin and red chile to taste.
  • Blend.

Cranberry-Jalapeno Salsa

  • Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1 cup to a small bowl.
  • Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip of orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir.
  • Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Chop 1 cup raw cranberries in a food processor and add to cranberry sauce.
  • Stir in 1 thinly sliced jalapeno, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 teaspoon each honey and salt.
  • Let cool to room temperature. Just before serving, add 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.
  • Goes great with tortilla chips or spread on dinner rolls.

Spicy Turkey Gravy

  • Add the pan drippings from the turkey to 2 cups of chicken stock.
  • Make a roux by cooking 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour in a saucepan on low heat until lightly brown.
  • Add the drippings and stock to the roux and whisk.
  • Turn heat to medium and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and cover; gravy will thicken as it sits.

Warm Pumpkin Pudding

  • 1 large can of pumpkin pulp (NOT pumpkin pie filling).
  • Grease medium-sized casserole dish.
  • Follow instructions on the can of pumpkin for pie, but do not place in a crust.

Green Beans with Pepitas

  • In a large pot, bring water to a boil – do not add salt.
  • Add 1 pound of cleaned, fresh green beans to the water and let boil until bright green, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Fry 1 ½ cups of pepitas in butter until they smell nutty.
  • Drain beans and immediately place in ice cold water for 3-5 seconds to stop cooking process.
  • Combine green beans, pepitas, a ½ of butter, and ½ tablespoon of cumin and fry for three minutes, tossing to coat.

Turkey Enchilada Casserole

  • Rub turkey in red chile powder and adobo with cumin.
  • Cook in oven at 325 degrees – time should be indicated on the package based on the bird’s weight.
  • Shred turkey meat and place in a large mixing bowl (Be sure to save the drippings if you are making the Spicy Turkey Gravy).
  • If you’re not interested in making a casserole, you can simply serve the turkey like this.
  • Add 2 cans of Cream of Chicken soup, 1 can Cream of Mushroom, 1 chopped yellow onion, 1 cup sour cream, 1 container thawed frozen green chile and 3 pounds of cheddar cheese.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Place a layer of yellow corn tortillas on the bottom of a large casserole dish.

Southwest mashed potatoes

  • Cut 5 pounds of russet potatoes into 2-inch chunks and boil in 3 quarts of water until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Drain potatoes and then mash
  • Mix potatoes, 1 can sweet corn, 1 can cream corn, and 1 cup sour cream.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

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