Make the Most of Leftovers

Thanksgiving is this week, which marks the beginning of the holiday season to many throughout the state. It’s a wonderful, cheerful time of year, but we usually walk away from the holidays with a much lighter wallet. Between travel, gifts and family dinners, the costs certainly add up and often surpasses our allotted budget. There are opportunities to save, however – including making the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers. I’ve put together a list of ways to get the most bang for your buck after your Thanksgiving dinner!



A dinner with family is always a good time, right? Well, of course – but dinner with friends that you haven’t seen in a while is what many look forward to while back home on break. Gathering with old friends for a giant dinner is fun, but also expensive. My advice is to hold out on Friendsgiving until after Thanksgiving. Instead of having each person buy an item to bring to dinner, have everyone bring a plate of leftovers from their family dinner. Enjoy a big pot luck with old friends for free!

Transform the Turkey

Turkey is one of the easiest items to handle when it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers. It freezes well and can be mixed into many different meals. You can make a classic turkey sandwich or try your luck at turkey casserole, soup, or pot pie. Substitute leftover turkey into any of your upcoming dishes that use chicken for even more savings. You can even take advantage of the leftover bones and dark meat. Put them in a slow cooker with some water and leftover vegetable scraps, and cook on low all day. Strain the liquid afterward and save it for delicious wintertime soups and stews. Simply put in the freezer and pull it out to defrost when you need it. 

Click here for a gigantic list of leftover turkey recipes!

Freeze It


Turkey isn’t the only thing you can get away with freezing after Thanksgiving. Save on your grocery list by eating frozen leftovers for the coming months. Yes, I said months! Not all the food from you dinner freezes well, however – so I’ve put together a list of what you can freeze and for how long:

  • Flour-based gravy - Four months (you can’t freeze cream or milk-based gravy)
  • Cranberry sauce - Two months
  • Mashed potatoes - One year
  • Stuffing - One month
  • Rolls - Three months

Click here for a list of what you can and can’t freeze!

If you still have unopened canned goods after Thanksgiving, check in with your local credit union to see if they are hosting a food drive. Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger has helped raise $7.2 million since 1990, with 100% of the proceeds staying in Maine and going directly to the cause of ending hunger.

What leftover tips do you have? I’d love to know!

Take care,