Hate Cooking? 3 Easy and Cheap Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Today’s post is by our Wednesday contributor, Catherine Alford!

I absolutely love Thanksgiving, but I’m not the best with intricate recipes and extensive meal preparation.

Cooking a turkey for several hours is not my idea of a good time. I always try to seek out meals and side dishes that will only take a few minutes to create, whether it’s an average night of the week or Thanksgiving dinner. (My mom is known to order the turkey already cooked, so I come by it honestly!)

So, in the name of saving a little bit of time and money, here are some super easy side dishes that you can make for Thanksgiving.

P.S. They’re cheap too!

1. Green Bean Bundles

I love this recipe. It’s so simple. You just have to grab a few fresh green beans, wash them, wrap them in bacon, sprinkle them in brown sugar, and stick them in the oven. I usually put it on 350 degrees and leave them in there until the bacon is cooked all the way through. You might want to sprinkle some salt on it too. They are absolutely delicious.

To be honest, I am not the best cook in the world, but when I bring these to a pot luck, people devour them. It’s probably the bacon. You just can’t go wrong with that. I highly recommend them!

2. Pumpkin Soup

Early in my pregnancy, I wanted pumpkin soup so badly, I would have given my left arm for it. I went to a restaurant for lunch that usually has it, and they were totally out. That’s pretty normal for Grenada, but I was so upset and pouted about it the whole afternoon to my coworkers.

I must have been pretty convincing, because in a total random act of kindness, my co-worker took pity on me and made me a huge pot of pumpkin soup that night! It was the nicest thing she could have ever done! I devoured it! (Cravings are real things, people!)

The recipe is so easy too. You can check it out here. It’s just a can of pumpkin plus some other ingredients. No scooping out actual fresh pumpkins for us! Who has time for that?

3. Garlic Bread

Maybe it’s taking the easy way out, but whenever my whole family is supposed to contribute something, I always volunteer to bring the bread! You can buy nice loaves of French bread and sprinkle them with chopped garlic and butter. You could also bake your own bread if you’re feeling the Betty Crocker vibe.

I used to think baking bread was too much work, but after watching my husband make it a handful of times, I think I could try my hand at it!

All in all, I don’t think that Thanksgiving has to be stressful. It should be a time of family and food and fun! So, as long as you don’t volunteer to make the turkey, you should be able to sneak by with only making an easy side dish. People absolutely love the ones above. You can’t go wrong with them!

What are some of your go to Thanksgiving recipes?

Like What You See?

Join the other readers who have signed up for our email newsletter! No spam, just periodic updates to help improve your finances!

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com.


  1. We don’t have Thanksgiving here in our country. But I really love reading recipe but I hate cooking too. 🙂 Today is my sister birthday I just made mango float for her because it’s our favorite!

  2. Garlic bread is such a comfort food for me. I could eat it all day. Dipped in Pumpkin soup– yum!

  3. Indian food (a few years back it was the only restaurant open in town). With only two of us it makes no sense to make a turkey (we did a few years ago and wasted so much food I felt terrible for days). Those green beans sound delicious, I’ll have to try that bf loves bacon.

  4. Any vegetables covered with olive oil, salt, and pepper roasted in the oven make for a great dish. Sometimes I throw some garlic in there too. yum!

  5. I can whip up a killer apple crisp in about 20 minutes (minus baking time)…once you do it once, it’s easy as pie….well, sort of. 🙂

  6. Bryce @ Save and Conquer says:

    My wife just got a full turkey breast and will cook it in her large crock pot. Mmmmm, white meat. We usually also cook up the traditional sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, and cranberry sauce. I like to smother everything but the cranberry sauce in gravy. My wife has made pumpkin soup in the past, but I’m not a fan. She does make delicious pumpkin muffins and bread, though.

  7. Pumpkin soup is delicious! I’m a fan of anything involving potatoes– twice baked are my favorite. On Thanksgiving I mix mashed potatoes, corn, gravy, turkey, salt and pepper up into one big dish and it’s probably the greatest thing I have ever eaten.

  8. Garlic Bread is a great tip! It is so simple, but the seasonings on it make it appear as if you put some sort of effort to make it special.

Share Your Thoughts