With just a few simple steps you can make an inexpensive, palatable meal using pre-made items, mixes and ingredients you probably have on hand. Of course, prices vary from store to store, but should set you back about $50. Share it with friends to have more fun and save more funds.

The turkey is easy. There are a variety of pre-cooked choices available. It comes as pre-packaged or “supermarket fresh.”

Just heat it according to the package instructions and you’re done. Then add a can of cranberry sauce and a splash of orange juice, as well as a handful of chopped walnuts – the perfect accompaniment!

If you want gravy, make some from a dry packet mix. Replace half of the water with white wine and add a healthy dash of black pepper to make it your own.

Stuffing from a box can be given new life by adding a large, chopped onion and some mushrooms that have been sautéed in butter. A little more sage or poultry seasoning will really liven up the flavor as well.

Grab a can or two of sweet potatoes and mix in a couple pats of butter and some salt and pepper. Drizzle them with maple syrup or sprinkle with brown sugar; heat through and they’re done.

The veggie of your choice, whether it’s corn or peas, can easily be jazzed-up. Heat them and drain off any liquid before adding butter, salt and pepper, a dash of garlic powder and chopped chives before serving.

Instead of plain old margarine, mix some of those chives into softened butter with a hint of curry powder and serve that with your heat-n-serve rolls or a can of biscuits.

Dessert can be so much more than just pie. Pick your favorite pre-made pie or dessert bread from the supermarket bakery. Top with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Heat some maple syrup (about a cup), a pat of butter, dash of cinnamon and a couple tablespoons of rum. Drizzle over the ice cream and enjoy!

There are so many things you can do to make dishes your own and have a holiday dinner that’s so much more than what comes in a package off the shelf. Have a great holiday and create some wonderful memories by thinking outside the box!