Frugal Holiday Recipes

This time of year is filled with parties and houseguests. Whether you’re visiting or hosting, there will be bundles of food to share and enjoy with your family and friends. The cost of hosting others can start to rise quickly when you have to feed them. How do you make memorable food without breaking your budget? Easy! Just follow these three rules when you’re planning your menu:

  1. Choose recipes with uncomplicated steps. The more dishes you use, the more water and electricity you will use for cleanup. Yes, you can even save on your utilities!
  2. Choose recipes with common ingredients. If you have to restock your entire kitchen just to make one dish, it’s not worth it.
  3. Choose recipes that break down to less than £4 per meal. While you can always raise this if your budget allows, we’ve found that a goal of £4 is a great benchmark to start; it will allow you to make something tasty that will impress your guests without being too overzealous.

See how you can apply these principles with the recipes below.


Mac ‘n’ Cheese Sliders

Prep: 25 minutes  •  Cook: 1 hour  •  Makes: 36
  • 500 g macaroni noodles
  • 50 g salted butter
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 100 g cream cheese
  • 100g  shredded cheddar
  • 1 egg
  • 300 g mozzarella, cut into 36 chunks
  • 3, 12-pack dinner rolls
  • 1 pack watercress
  • Barbecue sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 190°C. While the oven preheats, cook the macaroni according to directions on the packaging.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, mix in the flour. Then mix in the milk slowly until it forms a sauce. Allow the sauce to thicken.
  3. While the sauce cooks, beat the egg in a separate bowl. Once the sauce is thickened, add the egg, mustard, cream cheese and cheddar cheese.
  4. Pour the macaroni noodles into a deep baking dish (like a lasagne pan). Cover it in the cheese sauce and bake the dish for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Let the dish cool completely and chill overnight.
  5. When you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 190°C.
  6. Cut the macaroni into 36 squares and space them out across two cookie sheets. Press a slice of mozzarella on the top of each square.
  7. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. While the macaroni bakes, cut the dinner rolls in half.
  8. Stuff the dinner rolls with a square of macaroni, a few springs of watercress and a line of BBQ sauce.



Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Goat Cheese

Prep: 10 minutes  •  Makes: 24
  • 12 slices of prosciutto
  • 2 pears
  • 1 log of goat cheese (around 200 g)
  • 1 packet of rocket leaf
  1. Core the pears and cut each into 12 pieces (24 in total between the two).
  2. Slice the prosciutto in half.
  3. Spread goat cheese on the pear slices and add a few rocket leaves on top.
  4. Roll it up with a piece of prosciutto and skewer it with a toothpick.



Baked Berry Camembert

Prep: 15 minutes  •  Cook: 20 – 25 minutes  •  Serves: 6 – 8
  • 375 g pack pastry
  • Plain flour (for dusting)
  • 5 tbsp of your favourite fruit jam or jelly
  • 250 g whole round Camembert or Brie cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Dust the counter with flour and cut the pastry dough in half. Lay each half out and roll it down to the thickness of a pound note.
  3. Spread the jelly in the centre of one of the halves, approximately the same circumference as the wheel of cheese. Place the cheese on top.
  4. Brush the pastry surrounding the cheese with half of the egg wash. Place the second half of dough on top, pinching the two sides together as you go. Avoid leaving any excess air in between.
  5. Brush the top with the rest of the egg wash. Cut away an excess pastry.
  6. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pastry has risen and is golden.
  7. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. Try it with apple or baguette slices



Lamb with Winter Spices

Serve with roasted potatoes or rice

Prep: 20 minutes  •  Cook: 1 hour  •  Serves: 6
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 5 cm fresh root ginger
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ kg lean lamb neck fillets, cut into chunks
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 250 g dried apricots
  • 8 cloves
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp ground almonds
  • 850 ml beef stock
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, finely chop the onions, slice the garlic cloves and shred the ginger root. Fry them in the pan for about 15 minutes to release the flavours.
  2. Add the lamb to the frying pan to brown it. Add the spices and cook until aromatic. Add in the almonds and let them toast, but do so gradually – they can burn quickly.
  3. Pour the beef stock over the contents of the pan. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the apricots and simmer for 15 minutes more, and then serve.



Herb Mascarpone-Stuffed Chicken

Serve with green beans or salad

Prep: 5 minutes  •  Cook: 20 minutes  •  Serves: 6
  • 6 chicken breasts, skin on
  • 6 tbsp mascarpone
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Finely chop the rosemary, crush the garlic and mix it together with the mascarpone.
  2. Take one tablespoon of the cheese mixture and put it underneath the skin of one chicken breast. Be careful not to detach the skin.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sear both sides of the chicken. Transfer the chicken to an oven-safe dish and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon juice to the pan and stir over the heat, scraping off any of the crispy parts. Spoon the juice over the chicken and serve.



Black Forest Trifle

Prep: 25 minutes  •  Cook: 5 minutes  •  Serves: 8 – 10
  • 500 ml tub or ready-made chilled custard
  • 100 g plain chocolate
  • 400 g chocolate brownies
  • 2, 390 g jars of cherries
  • 300 g tub of crème fraîche
  • 25 g icing sugar
  • Grated chocolate
  1. Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, break up the plain chocolate. Mix the plain chocolate and the custard together in the pan until the chocolate has melted and combined thoroughly with the custard. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Place the brownies in the bottom of the trifle bowl, covering the bottom as evenly as you can.
  3. Drain the cherries, but reserve the liquid. Scatter them over the brownies, followed by a drizzle of the reserved cherry juice.
  4. Once the custard has cooled, spoon it over the brownies and cherries. Chill.
  5. Whip the crème fraîche with the icing sugar to form a cream. Chill until ready to serve.
  6. When you’re ready for dessert, pile the whipped cream on top of the trifle. Garnish it with grated chocolate.



Holiday Stollen Pudding

Prep: 10 minutes  •  Cook: 45 minutes  •  Serves: 6 – 8
  • 750g – 1kg stollen
  • 300ml double cream
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 6 amaretti biscuit
  • Icing sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Mix the cream, milk and eggs together. Cut the stollen into cubes and crush the biscuits. Set biscuits aside.
  3. Put the stollen cubes into a deep baking dish and pour the liquid mixture over it evenly. Sprinkle it with the crushed biscuits.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Dust with sugar before serving.



Pistachio and Cranberry Biscuits

Prep: 15 minutes  •  Cook: 15 minutes  •  Makes: 22
  • 175 g butter (softened)
  • 85 g golden caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 225 g flour
  • 75 g pistachios
  • 75 g cranberries, dried
  1. Mix the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together. Then, slowly mix in the flour. Once well combined, fold in the pistachios and cranberries by hand (the dough will be too thick for a whisk).
  2. Roll the dough into a thick log, approximately 5 cm across. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least an hour.
  3. When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  4. Cut 1cm-wide pieces and place them on the baking tray. Cook for 12 – 15 minutes. Cool completely before removing them from the tray.



Babs is a content writer at Enova International, Inc. with a Bachelors in Cinema Studies and English from the University of Illinois (ILL-INI!). She loves binge watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos! Find out more about her on Google+.


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