Christmas is definitely the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the season to reunite with families and friends and spend the holidays with love and happiness. But as the prices of fuel, goods, and commodities keep rising, it’s ideal to practice how to stretch your budget. If you do so, you can serve a sumptuous Noche Buena for your loved ones. You might even have excess money to put up some Christmas decorations or shop for gifts!
So, if you’re wondering what foods to prepare this Yuletide season without breaking the bank, read on as we’ve rounded up budget-friendly Filipino Chrismas recipes!
10. Pork Hamonado
One of the best budget-friendly Filipino Christmas recipes you must try is Pork Hamonado – a sweet and sour dish sure to hit on any occasion! This no-fuss dish is also easy to make since you only need to boil all the ingredients in a pot for an hour or until the meat is tender.
The dish was named after the Spanish word “jamonado,” referring to a dish prepared like ham or hamon. Pork Hamonado is made of pork, pineapple, sugar, soy sauce, and other spices, usually served for Christmas or as an everyday viand.
9. Beef Mechado
If you want to prepare something special but not too pricey for Noche Buena, you can never go wrong with Beef Mechado! It’s a Filipino-style braised beef dish inspired by Spain’s culinary method. The dish was derived from “mecha,” a Spanish term that means to wick the pork fat strips from beef.
Pork Mechado is a tomato-based dish often served for lunch or dinner. It’s made of beef chunks, pork fat, onions, potatoes, carrots, and bell pepper. Then, it’s simmered in a flavorful sauce that includes tomato sauce/tomato paste, beef stock, soy sauce, laurel, and vinegar.
Whether celebrating something special or craving a flavorful dinner, Inihaw na Liempo or Grilled Pork Belly is another tasty and juicy dish for Christmas or any occasion – a must in Filipino gatherings! This Filipino dish is made of pork belly marinated in soy sauce, calamansi juice, and other seasoning before grilling.
Marinating the pork belly overnight is also ideal to make it more flavorful. It’s usually served at parties, beach outings, or as a pulutan (appetizer) paired with liquor. But if you’re not good at grilling, you can buy this dish at eateries and street vendors.
7. Lechon Manok
Lechon Manok is another must-have in Filipino gatherings. This quick-fix recipe is a Roasted Chicken you can prepare at home over a fire, in the oven, or using a turbo broiler, whichever you prefer. But if you want it to be flavorful, cooking it over fire is best for that extra smoky flavor.
Lechon Manok is made of whole chicken seasoned with Sprite/7up, sugar, garlic, onion, ginger, lemongrass, calamansi/lemon, bay leaves, and pepper. Moreover, this all-time favorite Filipino dish is available in every street or neighborhood in the country, ranging from P200 to P350.
Another flavorful yet budget-friendly Christmas recipe, Special Embutido is a Filipino-style meatloaf made of simple ingredients. The dish contains ground pork, carrots, onion, garlic, raisins, green peas, and grated cheese. It’s made even more special by adding hotdogs and boiled egg on the filling – the perfect dish to serve that will bring festive flavors!
Embutido is also a favorite dish among Filipinos for its rich and tasty flavors. It’s so delicious that even each household has their very own recipe. What’s more? Making Embutido is pretty simple. Mix all the ingredients, wrap in aluminum foil, and steam for one (1) hour.
5. Baked Tahong (Mussels)
If you want to make gourmet-looking food for Noche Buena but with a budget, adding a platter of Baked Tahong to the table will surely make anyone drool. This Filipino favorite appetizer is easy to make yet very tasty. It’s usually served during birthdays, special occasions, and gatherings – a sure-hit dish that would be gone in a flash!
To make Baked Tahong, prepare garlic, butter, quickmelt cheese, and mussels, which are cheap and abundant in the Philippines. Then, you’ll need a conventional or electric oven to bake it. Also, don’t forget to make enough batches of Baked Tahong since youngsters love it.
4. Baked Macaroni
Worried that your kids won’t eat anything on Noche Buena? If you have picky eaters, the Filipino-style Baked Macaroni will surely please even the fussiest kids in the room. This ultimate pasta dish is enjoyed by many for its meaty and sweet sauce topped with lots of cheese – a tasty and filling food that is sure to be a crowd favorite!
To cook this dish, you’ll need pasta, spaghetti sauce, and two types of cheese, like cheddar and mozzarella – for the extra creamy and cheesy goodness. If you don’t have an oven, throw it in a pan and heat it until the cheese melts.
3. Fruit Salad
Fruit Salad is a simple and easy recipe you can make from scratch. This classic Filipino dessert is healthy and flavorful – oozing with creamy goodness in every bite. It’s usually made of a mixed fruit cocktail, condensed milk, and all-purpose cream. But if you want to make your dessert special, you can throw in some cheese, young coconut, nata de coco, and sugar palm fruit kaong.
This icy treat has other variations, such as the Buko Pandan and Creamy Buko Salad. These two are cheaper than the classic Fruit Salad – ideal if you have a tight budget for Noche Buena.
2. Mango Graham
Mango Graham is a new addition to Filipino desserts, which have gained popularity over the years – for its refreshing and creamy flavor. It’s an icebox cake dessert made of ripe mangoes, graham crackers, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and all-purpose cream.
This irresistibly good dessert is frozen overnight or chilled hours before serving. In addition, there are many ways to make Mango Graham desserts. You can make the Mango Graham Ref Cake, Creamy Mango Graham Jelly, or turn it into a refreshing dessert drink with the Mango Graham Shake!
1. Leche Flan
Our list of budget-friendly Filipino Christmas recipes would not be complete without the classic Pinoy dessert – Leche Flan! This century-old recipe egg-based dessert is another must-have at Filipino parties and gatherings, especially during Christmas. The dish contains eggs, evaporated milk, condensed milk, white/brown sugar, vanilla extract, and calamansi or lemon zest.
Filipinos love it for its perfect combination of flavors – a sweet, creamy, and rich caramel dessert introduced during the Spanish colonial period. Leche Flan is usually eaten as it is or as toppings for other desserts, such as Halo-Halo, Custard Cake, and Puto (Rice Cake).