Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 7, 2012 08:34 PM

Inexpensive Christmas dinner for 8, but NOT turkey

I'm hosting the Orphan's Christmas this year, where all my friends (who have not gone home) come over to celebrate the day.

I'm pretty broke this year and need a main dish. I really don't like turkey, although I can get it fairly cheap.

In the past I have made turkey, beef Wellington, and ham. I may do ham again if I can find a good deal on it, I did manage to find it at $.49 a lb. a Fresh and Easy dur Thanksgiving.

I have access to TJ's, and Costco.

My friends will be bringing the booze and maybe some desserts.

There aren't any limits as far as allergies, and no vegetarians, so almost anything would work. I just need it to be inexpensive, tasty, and worthy of a Christmas dinner.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sounds like a fun challenge. Could you do a crown pork roast with stuffing? Maybe a beautiful platter of roasted veggies with it. I've seen them at some pretty good prices. Another thought is paella (seafood often great prices at both TJ's and Costco).

    1 Reply
    1. Tri-tip? My family didn't have a lot of money growing up and that's what we had every year. They're available at Costco in packages of 2.

      Also, it doesn't have to be a big piece of meat... what about like a lasagna?

      4 Replies
      1. re: juliejulez

        Not here in LA, they don't. Most tri-tips are only about two & a half pounds, so, though there's no waste to them, you will need at least two of them.

        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

          Ah OK. I used to live in Fresno and they sold in 2 packs there, same with Chicago. Either way, tri-tip is still pretty cheap to buy just about anywhere.

          1. re: juliejulez

            Ya know what? I think you were right, they do at Costco, I was thinking of my grocery store, since I just picked one up for later in the month. So yes,, your suggestion is perfect, a tri tip roast is not overly expensive, easy to do, and really tasty.

        2. re: juliejulez

          I second Lasagna, that's what I'm making for about 16 people. Someone will bring bread, another will bring salad, and another will take care of dessert. I can make it ahead of time, pop it in the oven & enjoy the gathering instead of worrying about cooking.

        3. farsumagru

          Basically a cheap piece of veal shoulder made into a giant braciole. Might need two veal shoulder steaks, but they aren't expensive. This way, since it isn't stew it doesn't look cheap. Also delicious go for a bread crumb currant almonds cheese stuffing.

          1. Small meat, big pasta. Maybe a roast chicken (even a Costco rotisserie reheat looks nice) for those longing for tradition, and a large bowl of pasta, marinara sauce, and an array of add-ins: small beef meatballs, a bit of grilled Italian pork sausage, roast veggies, diced olives, nice shredded Parm. Huge green salad to start.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DuchessNukem

              Good ideas and it hits on all the traditional things. She can also make a pile of dressing if she goes costco chickie. Cheap mashed potatoes...

              I love Sunday gravy on holidays.

            2. Pork Roasts....either a Whole Loin or a Picnic Shoulder

              Lasagna is also very traditional on Christmas Day.

              1 Reply
              1. re: fourunder

                Fresh hams are usually around this time of year, too. Lots of meat plus skin. Should be fairly cheap.