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Woman Makes Impressive Thanksgiving Meal Out Of Dollar Tree Ingredients—For Just $20

TikToker @dollartreedinners showed how she used cheap ingredients from Dollar Tree to create a fairly substantial Thanksgiving dinner on just a $20 budget.

Woman creates affordable Thanksgiving dinner from Dollar Tree ingredients
@dollartreedinners/TikTok

The holidays are supposed to be a time for thanks and merriment, but often bring a range of emotions, including the fear of not being able to pay for everything.

Affording food is a serious concern for a lot of families around the holidays, especially if they're facing other expenses or hosting meals.

But Rebecca of @dollartreedinners on TikTok has just the answer for anyone in the U.S. with $20 and access to a Dollar Tree.

Dollar Tree Dinners is all about providing affordable and filling meals every day of the year to needy families, and Rebecca's shopping hauls, recipes, and cooking challenges do not disappoint.

From showing her shopping process to creating copycat recipes of expensive cookies, Dollar Tree Dinners has something for everyone, but this seems especially true around the holidays.

First, Rebecca filmed an initial video showing her shopping process for a Thanksgiving dinner for four that she wanted to make with $20 or less.

@dollartreedinners

Shop with me to make a $20 Dollar Tree Thanksgiving Dinner #dollartreefood #dollartreegroceryhaul #dollartreethanksgiving #thanksgivingdinner #nontraditionalthanksgiving #budgetholidaymeals #gettingcreative #shopwithme #shopwithmeatdollartree #dollartreedinners #dollartreeholiday

The excursion was not without its hurdles, but Rebecca persevered. She noted that the store she visited was "wiped out of a lot of Thanksgiving dinner essentials," but she pulled off being able to make ham, turkey gravy, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, and a chocolate cheesecake pie dessert.

Rebecca had grabbed croutons and chicken stock to make stuffing, but because that would have put her over budget, she put those ingredients back.

For the main event, Rebecca shared her creation of the pie to chill in the fridge, followed by a stovetop-only dinner preparation.

First up was the green bean casserole, featuring two cans of green beans and cream of mushroom soup. Because this was a stovetop-only dinner, the casserole was then topped with crispy fried onions and set to the side.

Rebecca then made instant mashed potatoes, this time with milk and margarine, which she doesn't usually have on hand. Just like the potatoes, her macaroni and cheese are usually only made with water and the accompanying cheese packet, but she was able to use milk and margarine for this year's dish, as well.

The ham took a little more finessing, as Rebecca could not find the cut she wanted at the store and found this cut to be especially salty. After three soaks in cold water to strip away some of that salty brine, the ham was cooked, with the turkey gravy added to the pan at the last minute to finish off the meal.

You can watch the video here:

@dollartreedinners

Dollar Tree Thanksgiving Dinner for $20 I shop at one Dollar Tree on one day, the only items I can use from home are oil, salt, and pepper. If that Dollar Tree doesn't have what I want, I find a substitute or go without. Here's what I bought: 4 packs of country ham $5.00 2 cans of french style green beans $2.50 Buttery homestyle instant mashed potatoes $1.25 Milk $1.25 Margarine $1.25 Fried onions $1.25 Cream of mushroom soup $1.25 Mac and Cheese $1.25 Turkey gravy $1.25 Graham cracker pie crust $1.25 Chocolate pudding $1.25 Cream cheese $1.25 Total $20.00 No Bake Cheesecake: Soften cream cheese to room temperature and cream with a hand mixer, slowly whip in 1 cup of cold milk. Once fully combined, add pudding and whip for 3 minutes. Pour into pie crust and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Green Bean Casserole: Mix 2 cans of drained french style green beans with 1 can of cream of mushroom soup. Heat over medium high until bubbling. Pour into a baking dish and top with fried onions (You can bake if desired to brown & crisp the onions but I wanted to do this whole dinner without using my oven so I did not) Mashed Pototoes Option 1: Boil 2 cups of water and mix in potatoes or for a richer flavor Option 2: Boil 1 & 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 cup of milk, and 2 tablespoons of margarine then mix in potatoes. Mac & Cheese Add macaroni, 1 & 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons of margarine, and cheese powder into a saucepan. Mix this all and it will look clumpy, then heat over medium to medium high stirring occasionally until boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Ham: I rinsed the ham in a ice bath 4 times until the water was mostly clear, this was to remove the brine/salt from the outside. Then I pan fried it in 2 tablespoons of oil, and 2 tablespoons of margarine. I also mixed my gravy in 2 cups of cold water, and once the ham was ready I poured the gravy in the skillet with the ham #dollartreedinners #dollartreefood #dollartreegroceries #thanksgiving #thankgivingdinner #budgetholidays #dollartreethanksgiving #nontraditionalthanksgiving #dollartreeholiday #makethebestofeverything

Fellow TikTokers were floored by what she was able to pull off for so little.

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

@dollartreedinners/TikTok


Others agreed, and were grateful Rebecca had shared the information with families in need.

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

@dollartreedinners/TikTok

One TikToker pointed out, however, that this year's dinner involved significantly fewer dish options than the previous year's challenge, which featured green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese like this year, but also stovetop biscuits, honey-glazed ham, honey-glazed steamed carrots, cranberry sauce, and stovetop chocolate chip cookies.

You can watch that video here:

@dollartreedinners

Replying to @Daisy K I certainly can!


One TikToker expressed concern over what this said about our economy.

"That is so much more food than this year, and I feel like that's very telling."

To this, Rebecca pointed out that the big difference for her was her focus on quality, delicious food over a quantity of sides. In 2022, a lot of the dishes were a flop for her, including the disappointing carrots and what she found to be gross ham.

Her potatoes and macaroni and cheese were also only made with water, rather than milk and margarine, which she felt made a big difference this year.

You can hear her thoughts on the subject here:

@dollartreedinners

Replying to @Melissa Hodges

It's wonderful to know that with $20, a family could make a delicious and hearty meal, or a comfortable meal with a lot of options. It's up to them whether they're more interested in quality or quantity, but it's heartening to know that both are possible.