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In 2015’s Thanksgiving in SF on a $30 Budget, I showed you how you could create a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for you and your friends who are staying behind in the city. I’m doing the same thing this year, but the cost of food keeps going up making it extremely hard to get all of your Thanksgiving favorites on the menu and still keeping the budget around $30 budget. I’m afraid we’re at $40, folks. And yes, you should have some kind of oil in your pantry. To make this easy, I’ll assume it’s olive oil.

This budget feeds ten people. It’s mostly based on items purchased at Safeway, centered around a 14 pound turkey at their price of $0.69 a poundNo one has yet to offer a better deal when it comes to the T-Day turkey than Safeway. Safeway turkeys are normally $0.69 per pound, with a $25 purchase, and if you want to know what size turkey to buy for your posse, click this link. The object of the game is more fun, less work. Not only do all of these recipes require oven time, so you don’t have to stand over the stove, but they can share oven time with all of them coming out at the same time.

An affordable way to enliven your bird without going the fresh herb route is to season it with a dried blend. And while Spice Island Seasonings may charge $9 for a bottle that’s been on the shelves for who knows how long, you happen to live in a city where you can access your own local spice blender person, Spice Ace has a deliciously complex Savory Sage Meat and Poultry blend they dish out in glass jars. Don’t want to spend $5 on a glass jar of personally curated spice blends? You can always visit the carefully hidden (in the produce section) Mexican packages of ground paprika, ground sage, ground thyme, ect. If these are priced more than $1, the store is messing with your head.


  1. Season the bird
  2. Make the stock
  3.  Pumpkin Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting | One box of spice cake mix, one can of pumpkin puree, one 8-oz block of cream cheese.

Turkey – Rub olive oil all over your room temperature bird. Season your cleaned and giblet free bird with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Place a half of lemon, a carrot sliced in half, half an onion, a few cloves of garlic and rosemary inside the cavity. This will season your gravy. Put the bird back in the fridge.

Turkey stock – Take your giblets, neck, bishop’s nose (the protruding nubbin on the butt) and other unwanted turkey pieces and place in a pot of water with one chopped carrot, a sprig of rosemary, salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour to 3 hours. This is basically your stock.

Pumpkin Cake – You saw right, you only need to buy three ingredients for this cake: One 18-oz box of spice cake mix, one 15-oz can of pumpkin puree and an 8-oz block of cream cheese. Combine room temperature cream cheese, enough sugar/powdered sugar/honey for your taste, enough water to make it pliable and mix the shit out of it. Schmear on top of your finished cake.

If you want to go the traditional pumpkin pie route, that’s fine.


  1. Roast the turkey in the morning. 14-pound turkey should be finished in 3-4 hours
  2. Whole Roasted Yukon Gold or Red potatoes | 1.5 pounds
  3. Roast Carrots w/ Kale | 2.5 pounds carrots, 1 bunch kale, 1 small package of chopped pecans
  4. Gravy | 1/4 cup Flour

Preheat your oven to 350 F and turn on some football. I don’t really care about sports, but there’s something about the white noise sound of football in the background that I find comforting.

Place your seasoned turkey in a roasting pan, boobs side up, and roast for 3-4 hours. Baste with the drippings every 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 20 mins.

Roasted Potatoes -Preheat your oven to 350 F. Wash your potatoes, slice in half and place in a roasting pan or cast-iron. Drizzle with olive oil or canola or vegetable, sprinkle with salt and pepper and chopped rosemary and roast for 20-30 mins, until potatoes are browned and tender. Remove from pan and squeeze a half of a lemon onto the potatoes.

Roasted Carrots w/ Kale -Preheat your oven to 350 F. Wash and roughly chop kale. Place chopped pecans on sheet tray and roast for 5 mins. Place aside. On the same sheet tray, drizzle olive oil over whole carrots, season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, shake the sheet tray, and cook for another 20 minutes or until carrots are tender and lightly browned in spots. Place chopped kale onto sheet tray and give a quick toss. Transfer the carrots and kale to a plate, top with chopped pecans and serve. If you want to get real fancy, and real over budget.

Gravy – Because you made that turkey stock and seasoned your turkey with all those delicious aromatics and seasonings, you’re pan drippings will be deliciously flavorful and combined with the juices from the turkey, you already have a pseudo-turkey stock. You don’t need to use box stock. Just use the turkey water and a splash milk/half and half/cream to finish. You don’t have flour, that’s ok too. Just let the gravy reduce a little longer and it’ll thicken on its own.

Shopping List

14 pound turkey 12
1 bunch rosemary 2
2 yellow onions 1.62
2 bulbs garlic 1.20
1 lemon 1
1.5 pound sack potatoes 5
2.5 pounds carrots 4
1 bunch of kale 2
1 1oz bag pecans 4
1 18oz-box spice cake mix 3
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree 2
1- 8oz cream cheese 2

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