With national cram-your-gut-and-pass-out-on-your-couch day approaching, many food-insecure Denverites may be wondering how they will squeeze a huge Thanksgiving din-din out of a lean wallet. But never fear: Whenever there are poor locals looking for a holiday feast on the cheap, the Dollar Tree is there. The store has everything you could want for a hearty and inexpensive turkey-day meal -- and, of course, every item is just a dollar.
Here's our photo tour of Thanksgiving dinner from the Dollar Tree. No need to thank us.
Appetizer: Nothing shows you care like having appetizers for your guests to nosh while they're waiting for dinner -- or another beer run. The beauty part of these canned and jarred treats is that the presentation is so simple: Drain and dump each onto the same paper plate, or just stick a plastic fork into the open jars/cans.
Appetizer: Only the best for your guests: chicken crackers, which are almost surely, probably, flavored with real chicken.
Drinks: For the one or two people at your Thanksgiving dinner who aren't getting snockered on wine coolers, how about a nice, steaming Mason-jar mug of spiced apple cider? Add hot water and stir, just like Grandma used to.
Salad: Lettuce is overrated. Instead, open up a can of everyone's favorite vegetable: canned beets. Just tell the kiddos that if they don't eat them, they won't get any dessert and you'll tell Santa that they suck, and they won't get any Dollar Tree gifts this year.
Side dish: Canned fruit salad, including probably not mushy, inedible bananas, will add a bit of color to your Thanksgiving spread.
Side dish: Despite the bad rap that canned mixed vegetables have gotten over the years, you can help make them cool again at this Dollar Tree dinner.
Side dish: Green-bean casserole is a holiday staple. Instead of buying the off-brand ingredients for it at Wal-Mart, why not just get the off-off-off-off brand stuff at the Dollar Tree? No one will notice as long as you don't forget the crispy fried onion thingies on top.
Side dish: Using fresh yams to cook with is for those snotty cooking shows; the good 'ol all-American canned ones are just fine. And it's possible that the dented cans may cost even less than a dollar, so that means more smushy leftovers.
Side dishes: You really must have mashed potatoes, and why not spring for the not-quite-Velveeta shells and cheese? They're particularly tasty when coupled with cut-up, not-quite-Vienna sausages as a garnish.
Bonus side dish: These pre-made gelatin and "fruit" salads are a real time-saver, and the clear containers will ensure that your guests can distinguish the plain from the deluxe creamy.
Main course: Turkey? Okay, so Dollar Tree is fresh out of canned turkey, but a welcomed substitute can be found in the cold case. Sure, hot dogs and bologna may not be the traditional meat course served at Thanksgiving, but all it takes is a frying pan and you've got yourselves a delicious and cost-effective entree. If you have the time, why not decorate them with a bit of mustard or barbecue sauce?
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Dessert: Pies are the hallmark of a fine holiday feast. Sure, you could be old-fashioned and actually bake a few, but why would you do that when you can rip open a few boxes and give everyone their own individually wrapped pie? They get their choice of pecan or coconut.
And if any pies are left over, they will no doubt keep until Thanksgiving next year...or the year after.