3 holiday recipes you can make under $4 per serving

Editor’s Note: The following recipes come from “Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day,” a cookbook by Leanne Brown that maps out strategies and recipes for eating well on the average food budget of someone relying on SNAP, or food stamp, benefits — just $4 per person, per day. Brown chose the following recipes from the book as possible Thanksgiving appetizers or side dishes.

And don’t miss Brown’s recipe developed especially for the NewsHour: Thanksgiving dinner in one pan.

Deviled Eggs
At parties, I often eat too much random junk food and end up feeling gross. These eggs are a great antidote: festive and delicious without the empty calories. Although they’re a little fussy, they aren’t actually difficult to make. Here’s the formula: Make a basic deviled egg and add one of the 8 flavors (or create your own!).

12 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
2 scallions, finely chopped (optional)
dash of paprika (optional)

Basic Deviled Eggs
Makes 24 half eggs

1. Place a layer of eggs at the bottom of a pot that is large enough to fit them all with a bit of wiggle room. If you can’t fit all your eggs, don’t stack them—they might crack. Hard-boil them in batches instead.

2. Cover the eggs with cold water. Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the water is boiling, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Set a timer for 10 minutes.

3. When the timer goes off, carefully pour out the hot water and cover the eggs with very cold water. The cold water stops the cooking process so that you don’t end up with that slightly icky blue-green skin around your yolk.

4. Peel the eggs. Everyone has his or her own technique, but I like to gently roll each egg across the counter to crack the shell. Roll the egg around until it looks like a cracked desert landscape, then peel it starting from the bottom (where the air pocket is). Once peeled, rinse the egg and set it aside. Repeat until you have peeled all the eggs.

5. Slice each egg in half lengthwise. Pop the yolks out and put them in a medium-size bowl. Don’t worry if you leave a little yolk behind. Set the whites aside on a plate.

6. Sprinkle the yolks with salt and pepper, then add the other ingredients of your choice to the bowl. Mash with a fork until you have a relatively smooth paste.

7. Spoon the yolk mixture back into each egg. Pile the filling high! Alternatively, scoop the filling into a plastic sandwich bag. Cut off the corner of the sandwich bag and squeeze the yolk mixture into the whites.

8. Sprinkle with the scallions and some paprika for color, if you have it.

2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons water, pickle brine, or lemon juice

Chile and Lime
2 tablespoons mayonnaise 2 tablespoons lime juice 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
chili sauce, to taste

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons curry powder, or 1 teaspoon each of turmeric, cayenne, coriander, and cumin

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh or canned tomatoes or Best Tomato Sauce (page 127 in the cookbook)

Chile and Cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped green chiles
2 tablespoons grated cheese

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cooked, minced fresh chorizo
1 teaspoon paprika

Feta and Dill
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons crumbled feta
1 tablespoon chopped dill

Cauliflower Cheese. Photo by Leanne Brown.

Cauliflower Cheese. Photo by Leanne Brown.

Cauliflower Cheese
This is a classic side dish in Great Britain: creamy, cheesy sauce over cauliflower, baked in the oven until the edges get crunchy and bubbly. It’s like a healthier and more flavorful version of macaroni and cheese. Try substituting broccoli or cooked winter squash for the cauliflower—everyone will love it. With broccoli , this dish becomes an interpretation of the classic sleazy broccoli with cheese sauce—but a little less sleazy. You can also add some breadcrumbs to the top of the dish before baking if you like extra crunch. Enjoy with a green salad. Serves 4

2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for the baking dish
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated pepper, to taste

Optional additions
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 scallions, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Breadcrumbs (page 158 in the cookbook)
sprinkling of finely chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and the cauliflower, then leave it for 4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, butter a baking dish large enough to comfortably accommodate all the cauliflower. I usually use a pie dish. Drain the cauliflower and add it to the dish.

4. Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chile flakes, and bay leaf and cook for about 1 minute. Add the flour and stir quickly. The flour-butter mixture is called a roux. You want the roux to get just a little brown—this will probably take another minute. Slowly add the milk to the pot, stirring all the while to incorporate the roux and make a creamy sauce.

5. Continue cooking the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it
just comes to a boil, about 5 to 7 minutes. Once a couple of bubbles appear, turn off the heat and stir the cheese into the sauce. Include any additions at this
point (except breadcrumbs).
Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as needed. Remove the
bay leaf. The sauce should be creamy, smooth, and savory.

6. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower, sprinkling with breadcrumbs if desired. Place
the dish in the oven and bake until the top is brown and bubbly, about 40 minutes.

Winter Squash Puree. Photo by Leanne Brown

Winter Squash Puree. Photo by Leanne Brown

Winter Squash Puree
The easiest way to cook winter squash is to roast it whole. The inside becomes soft and smooth and you can scoop it out of the skin with ease. Serves 4 as a side.

1 tablespoon butter, plus more for the pan
1 butternut, kabocha, acorn, delicata, or other winter squash (except spaghetti squash) 3 cloves garlic salt and pepper, to taste

Optional additions
yogurt or sour cream
brown sugar and cinnamon
finely chopped chiles
curry powder

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a baking sheet.

2. Slice the squash in half using a big, sharp knife. Scoop out the innards. Set the halves face down on the sheet.

3. Bake in the oven until a knife poked into the squash goes through easily, 30 to 40 minutes.

4. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

5. Scoop the squash into a large bowl with the garlic, the butter from the pan, and any other additions. Stir until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.