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30 Thrifty Holiday Recipes from the ’30s

Hosting a festive gathering doesn't have to break the bank. Stick with these inexpensive holiday recipes for all the flavor at half the price.

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Old-World Puff Pancake

My mom told me her mother-in-law showed her how to make this dish, which became popular during the Depression, on their “get acquainted” visit in 1927. At that time, cooks measured ingredients in pinches, dashes and dibs. But through the years, accurate amounts were noted. My wife and I continue to enjoy this dish today, particularly for brunch. —Auton Miller, Piney Flats, Tennessee
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Citrus-Herb Roast Chicken

This dish is one of my all-time favorites. The flavorful, juicy chicken combines with the aromas of spring in fresh herbs, lemon and onions to form the perfect one-pot meal. I make the gravy right in the pan. —Megan Fordyce, Fairchance, Pennsylvania
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Traditional Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes make a wonderful accompaniment to most any meal, so keep this recipe handy.
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Holiday Baked Ham

Nothing is better at the holidays than a delicious ham baking in the oven. The preserves mixture will be sure to please all of your guests.—American Dairy Assoc, Stacy Duffy, Chicago, Illinois
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Old-Fashioned Fruit Compote

A perfect partner for your Christmas goose, this warm and fruity side dish can simmer while you prepare the rest of your menu, or make it a day ahead and reheat before serving. —Shirley A. Glaab, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
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Hearty Navy Bean Soup

My family loves navy bean soup! Beans were a commodity you did not survive without in the ’30s. This excellent navy beans and ham soup is a real family favorite of ours and I make it often. —Mildred Lewis, Temple, Texas
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Pumpkin Pie Pudding

My husband loves anything pumpkin, and this creamy, comforting pumpkin pudding recipe is one of his favorites. We make our easy pudding all year long, but it's especially nice in the fall. —Andrea Schaak, Bloomington, Minnesota
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Glazed Cinnamon Apples

If you are seeking comfort food on the sweet side, this warm and yummy apple dessert, made with cinnamon and nutmeg, fits the bill. —Megan Maze, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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Bacon Roll-Ups

This family recipe dates back to the 1930s, when my grandmother started making her clever breakfast roll-ups. —Janet Abate, North Brunswick, New Jersey
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Mom's Fried Apples

Mom often made these fried apples for me while I was growing up. The recipe is very dear to me. —Margie Tappe, Prague, Oklahoma
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Sugar-Glazed Ham

This old-fashioned ham glaze gives a pretty, golden brown coating—just like Grandma used to make. The mustard and vinegar complement the brown sugar which adds a tangy flavor to this glazed ham recipe. Be prepared to serve seconds! —Carol Strong Battle, Heathville, Virginia
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Holiday Green Bean Casserole

Try this green bean casserole and you'll never go back to the old stuff. — Laura Fall-Sutton, Buhl, Idaho
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Roasted Chicken with Rosemary

Herbs, garlic and butter give this hearty meal in one a classic flavor. It's a lot like pot roast, except it uses chicken instead of beef. —Isabel Zienkosky, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Oyster Stuffing

My mother made this stuffing every Thanksgiving for my, father who loves it! And now I make it.—Amy Voights, Brodhead, Wisconsin
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Sunday Dinner Mashed Potatoes

Sour cream and cream cheese add delicious dairy flavors to these potatoes. They can be prepared in advance and are special enough to serve guests. —Melody Mellinger, Myerstown, Pennsylvania
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Cinnamon Spiced Apples

If you’re feeling festive, scoop some vanilla ice cream over a bowl of my cinnamon spiced apples. They’re homey, aromatic and just plain heavenly. —Amie Powell, Knoxville, Tennessee
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Cranberry Glazed Ham

That show-stopping entree you've been hoping for is right here, and it only takes five ingredients to make. The sweet and tangy cranberry glaze pairs beautifully with succulent ham. —Joni Peterson, Wichita, Kansas
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Roasted Chicken

This tender chicken is a real time-saver on a busy weekend. A simple blend of seasonings makes it a snap to prepare, and it smells heavenly as it roasts. —Marian Platt, Sequim, Washington
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Pumpkin Pudding Desserts

I love pumpkin pie but I don't always have time to make it so I decided to come up with a way to eat pumpkin pie all year round with this lighter pumkin dessert. Very delicious when topped with cool whip like a real pumpking pie! Could be considered the new pumkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner!
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Chunky Creamy Chicken Soup

I am a stay-at-home mom who relies on my slow cooker for fast, nutritious meals with minimal cleanup and prep time. I knew this recipe was a hit when I didn't have any leftovers and my husband asked me to make it again. —Nancy Clow, Mallorytown, Ontario
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Roast Chicken with Vegetables

Love a moist and tender chicken but not the mess of actually roasting one? Use an oven cooking bag to keep a chicken and veggies easily under control. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Gran's Apple Cake

My grandmother occasionally brought over this wonderful cake warm from the oven. The spicy apple flavor combined with the sweet cream cheese frosting made this recipe one that we treasured. Even though I've lightened it up, it's still a family favorite. —Lauris Conrad, Turlock, California
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Apricot-Glazed Ham

Glaze a bone-in ham with apricot jam for a entree that's beautiful and delicious. Any leftovers will make meal planning a breeze later in the week. —Galelah Dowell, Fairland, Oklahoma
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Deluxe Mashed Potatoes

When it comes to mashed potatoes recipes, this is one of my favorites because they can be made ahead, refrigerated and then popped into the oven just prior to dinnertime. When my grandchildren come for dinner, I have to double this recipe. They love it! —Vivian Bailey, Cedar Falls, Iowa
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Warm Cinnamon-Apple Topping

You'll quickly warm up to the old-fashioned taste of this cinnamon-apple topping. Spoon it over vanilla ice cream or slices of pound cake. —Doris Heath, Franklin, North Carolina
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Spinach Souffle Side Dish

You just can't make an easier, more delicious side dish than this. It's great with beef, pork and lamb, and I especially like serving it for a festive occasion like New Year's Eve. —Bette Duffy, Kenmore, Washington
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Honey-Roasted Chicken & Root Vegetables

When my whole family comes over for dinner, I make a big platter of roast chicken with sweet potatoes, carrots and fennel. My dad leads the fan club. —Kelly Ferguson, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania
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Pressure-Cooker English Pub Split Pea Soup

This family favorite is the same recipe my grandmother used. Now with the magic of today's appliances, I can spend 15 minutes putting it together, walk away for a bit and then it's "soup's on!" Finish it with more milk if you like your soup a bit thinner. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida
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Maple-Peach Glazed Ham

This is one of my husband's favorite recipes. He makes it regularly for his group of friends on the weekends because it's so good and easy. —Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
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Sunday's Best Chicken

I am the busy mom of four and a nursing student, so weeknight dinners are often rushed. Sunday dinners are very important to our family and everyone loves when I make this old-fashioned chicken recipe. It's the best chicken recipe there is!—Amy Jenkins, Mesa, Arizona

Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.
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