3 Frugal Thanksgiving Tips

Post by Contributing Writer, Katie

Fall has officially started in my part of the world! It’s about time; I’ve been waiting for it. I love this time of year.

By now many of us are starting to think about our Thanksgiving preparations. One of my friends has been dreaming about the new kind of stuffing that she is going to make for almost a month now!  I’d like to share with you three ways that I like to use those items you might not always think of saving for your Thanksgiving Dinner and meals later on.

1. Stale Bread and Bread Flops

Bread going stale isn’t normally a problem for me, but bread flops are. I get in a creative mood and decide to make a new kind of sourdough, sometimes it turns out great and sometimes it doesn’t. Or it’s one of those days that I lose track of time and I let my bread rise WAY too long.

Of course I bake it anyway and it turns out flat, what was I to expect? So I try not to lament, instead I save it in the freezer for a special project. Stale bread and bread flops are great for making stuffing, bread pudding and croutons.

This time of year I normally save mine for making stuffing. Who needs a box mix when can use your own homemade bread?

Cut your bread into small cubes. Scatter them across a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes. The bread cubes are ready to be made into your favorite stuffing!

2. Turkey Bones

These are a real gem! Turkey bones are one of the things I get most excited about when I make a turkey. No joke! Bones are a full of a wealth of nutrients that are essential for your health. I always save my bones to make nourishing bone stocks; I save my eggs as well for the same reasons.

Bone stocks are delicious, frugal, make the best soups and are so good for you! Turkey bone broths (as well as other bone stocks) are rich in gelatin, sulphate, glucosamine, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, silicon, phosphorus and trace minerals that are easily absorbed into the body.

I used to only make one batch of stock from my bones, but after reading an article recently I now use them to make three batches. The first batch is bursting with flavor. I use this to make tasty soups. The second and third batches are less flavorful but still full of nutrients. I use them in soups where the flavor of the broth is not being showcased or for cooking my rice/barley. Over time, the bones will start to disintegrate . Don’t worry; this is normal.

This recipe calls for fresh carrots and celery but you can always use your scraps and peelings too. Save them in the freezer each time you cut or peel something and pretty soon you’ll have enough scraps to use in your broth. Vinegar is added to pull the nutrients from the bones. It doesn’t impart an acidic flavor.

Turkey Stock

1 Turkey Carcass with some meat left on the bones (including the neck)
Egg Shells
4 celery stalks with the leaves, cut in half
2 carrots, cut in half
4 cloves of garlic
1 small bunch of parsley
1 medium onion, cut in half
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Put everything in a crock pot or sauce pot and cover with water. Cook over low heat for 24 hours. Strain the broth, cover with water again and cook for another 24 hours. Strain and repeat a third time. Or if you are really adventurous, cook them again. I’ve heard of doing this up to five times!

Here are a few links to great articles on bone stocks and recipes:

The Healing Power of Broth
Bone Broth: Take Frugal to a New Level
Mock Zuppa Tuscana
Turkey n’ Dumplings

Photo Credit

3. Pumpkins

Those pumpkins on your front porch and table aren’t just for decorating, they’re for eating too. Even if you didn’t buy a pie pumpkin you can still use them to make fall treats. Last year I used a regular old pumpkin to make a delicious pie.

Any sweet squash will do, I love kabocha squash. Buying canned pumpkin puree may be easier, but without much extra effort you can make your own. By making your own puree you also get a better quality product and avoid BPA, a toxin found in most canned products.

What are ways that you like to use foods that people would normally throw out?

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21 comments to 3 Frugal Thanksgiving Tips

  • We basically throw nothing out. I’m too cheap – er – frugal. I even had a pie crust totally flop. It was made of seeds and coconut oil. I kept adding carob and a bit of sweetener and made it into another carob pie crust. The first one was awful. The second was filled w/ an almond pie filling and was great :-).


    Katie Reply:

    @Adrienne @ Whole New Mom, That’s great that you still found a way to use your pie crust flop!


  • These are great tips.
    The turkey stock sounds delicious. I’ve never tried putting egg shells in before!


    Katie Reply:

    @Stacy, I first read about using egg shells in an article from Bulk Herb Store about a year ago. I’ve been using them ever since.


  • Amanda

    How could you store the broth other than canning? I don’t know how to can, although I do own a canner. Freeze it maybe???


    Michele Reply:

    I don’t have a pressure canner, either. I always freeze mine. If you’re using glass jars, be very careful to let it cool first, and allow plenty of room for expansion, so your jars don’t break.



    Katie Reply:

    @Amanda, I noramly freeze mine as well. I learned the hard way with filling my glass jars too full, the first time I froze my broth the jars broke. I have canned my broth before but I don’t know if I did it the right way. I filled my jars to just below the rim and boiled them for 30 minutes. It turned out fine but I would find out the right way to do it before canning your broth.


    Joy Reply:

    I make broth ice cubes which I keep in a baggie in the freezer for adding a little flavor to anything. (I do coconut milk cubes too.)


    Katie Reply:

    @Joy, Great idea! Thanks for sharing your idea. I’m going to have to try it!


  • Great ideas here. And I speak from experience too, make sure to leave room in those jars before you freeze them! :)

    I’ve not heard of using the bones for stock so many times in a row. I usually let me stock simmer for 24 hours though so I wonder if there would be any benefit of a second or third time?


    Katie Reply:

    @Paula, From what I’ve read the second and third batches still contain many nutrients.


  • Thanks for the great recipe for Turkey broth. I have been making chicken broth for about a year now so I planned on trying turkey after Thanksgiving. I never realized you could make more than one batch from the bones! I’ll try that this time!


    Katie Reply:

    @Jennifer, You’re welcome! I grew up on soups made from turkey bones. I think they have a better flavor than stocks made from chicken bones. It is pretty exciting that you can use the bones more than once! :)


  • I didn’t know you could use egg shells in stocks. I will have to try that with my next batch!


    Katie Reply:

    @Natasha, I hope it turns out well!


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