One of the easiest ways to eat well on a budget, is to eat what is on sale at the markets. That means in November we may end up eating turkey more than just at Thanksgiving. That is fine with me. I like turkey. This month has already seen turkey meatloaf and a roasted turkey breast. Soon, there may be spaghetti and turkey meatballs.

Now back to that turkey breast. It is the perfect size for my family. I bought one frozen and left it in the frige to thaw for a few days. Then it was seasoned and roasted and served with stuffing, braised collard greens, carrots (that roasted with the turkey, and homemade gravy. There was even a side of Lingonberry jelly. When Mr. saw the roasted turkey breast, he commented “Is that your practice turkey?”. My response was an eye roll and “I don’t NEED a practice turkey! YOU are my practice turkey…lol.)

But that got me thinking. If one has never cooked a turkey before and is going to do so on the big day, for the love of humanity…get a practice turkey! A small breast will do just fine. Fix it as you plan to do (use whatever recipe you like) and adjust the roasting time accordingly (15-20 mins per pound at 325*F). Depending on your level of experience, you may want to do this more than once. Don’t like turkey that much? Bring it in to work, give to that neighbor who just had a baby, take it to church, heck, slice it and make sandwiches for the homeless…you choose. Just don’t wait until Thanksgiving to “try” making the turkey. If that all seems too daunting and/or expensive, you can always pre-order a cooked turkey. Yes, that too is expensive, but it is a sure thing. Delicious bird, no stress, no cooking! “Cost” is relative.

One more thing…don’t experiment on your family and friends. Make sides you know you can make without fail. Sometimes simple is best: mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, beverages, rolls, dessert. Bing, bang, boom…done. Where I live, there are several places from where I can (but don’t) get the whole meal prepared and even delivered to my home. Explore your options well in advance. Decide what will be most delicious, affordable and easy on your nerves.

Good luck!