Food

5 delicious festive recipes on a budget

How to create a healthy festive menu without breaking the bank.

Written by Tim McGuire

In the lead up to the holidays, it’s easy to be swept up in the mania of decorating, gift-buying and festive food preparation. Every trip to the grocery store can seem like a giant red, green and gold reminder that the silly season is here, and that it’s hungry.

But cooking for the holidays doesn’t need to be stressful or complicated. There’s something wonderful about a light and bright menu done on a dime, one that doesn’t leave your guests feeling stuffed and sleepy, or leave you with too many leftovers and dirty dishes.

Whether you’re wanting a special plate to take to a busy pot-luck lunch, or needing something simple for a smaller celebration at home, these recipes will bring out a festive flavour with every bite.

Strawberry daiquiri mocktail

Refreshing, bright and seasonal, this might just be the perfect festive spritz. And the best thing about this recipe? Frozen strawberries will work just as well as fresh ones, saving you time and money at the farmers market. If you don’t go bananas over strawberries, you can easily substitute them for frozen mango pieces or your other favourite fruit.

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Zucchini salad

Cut through those heavier, heartier dishes with this light and zippy zucchini salad. The tangy lemon and fresh herbs will work well next to most meats and cooked vegetables, making this recipe a safe bet to bring to any festive barbecue.

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Watermelon salad

When the festive season is warming up, this quick and easy salad is a great way to cool down. You can put it together from start to finish in just a few minutes – perfect for when you have unexpected visitors pop in.

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Roast chicken with a twist

A roast chook is a staple dish for many a festive feast, but this recipe takes a slight twist on the traditional version by adding a truffle stuffing, celeriac purée and savoy cabbage filling. If you’re looking for a way to introduce some variety to a much-loved classic, this is it.

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Pumpkin drop biscuits

Does anything smell more festive than cinnamon? Just leave these pumpkin drop biscuits to cool on the kitchen bench and let the baking spices waft lazily through your home. Then watch your neighbours come running! These are quick to make, easy to transport, and perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee. Plus, the puréed pumpkin is a neat way to sneak some extra vegetables into your day.

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READ MORE: Cauliflower, pomegranate and pistachio salad recipe

Written by Tim McGuire

Tim McGuire has written for The Big Issue, The Australian, The Lifted Brow, Kill Your Darlings, and others. He’s written about HIV and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and lots of things in between. He lives in Melbourne.

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