Planning a Thanksgiving Meal That Won’t Break the Bank

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Everyone is abuzz with the rumors that their will be a shortage on your Thanksgiving Day ingredients. While we can’t predict that, we can predict that planning ahead will save you time and money, not only for Thanksgiving Day but also for what you can do with all of those leftovers.

Thanks to our neighborhood Smart & Final, a smaller and faster grocery warehouse store that offers both individual and club size products, you can be well-equipped for what’s to come! It can take just ONE TRIP. Here are some money saving tips for your Thanksgiving Feast and for some winning leftover ideas.

Turkey – The Main Attraction

Better Homes & Garden recommends 1 1/2 lbs. of turkey per person (this allows you for some leftovers). Right now, you can find turkeys at Smart & Final for around $1.50 per pound. What can you do with the leftovers though? Well outside of turkey sandwiches, how about a turkey potpie? Here is a delicious recipe for turkey potpies and since this makes 2 potpies, you could even freeze one for later. That is really stretching out your turkey and your money!

TIP: Substitute the vegetables with canned vegetables like these First Street Mixed Vegetables. Not only will you save money but you will save time because they are already peeled, cut and diced!

Stuffing – A Solid Favorite Side

Making stuffing from scratch can give you piece of mind when it comes to selecting bread that is a family favorite or might even be allergen or gluten free. It can also save some money because the first step in making your own stuffing is to dry out the bread. Let’s face it, there might just be a loaf in your pantry that didn’t get eaten and you can start with that. You can also play with the flavors a bit by choosing breads that already have herbs like First Street’s Rosemary Sourdough Bread. You’re likely to already have the other ingredients called for in this recipe because they are staples in your kitchen and in cooking a Thanksgiving meal.

Now, what do you do with all of that leftover stuffing? How about Stuffin’ Muffins? This recipe lets you use many Thanksgiving leftovers! If you plan on making Green Bean Casserole you can use those leftovers here, too! Use First Street Green Beans, First Street Shredded Cheese, First Street Instant Mashed Potatoes and your leftover turkey gravy to complete this kid friendly lunch leftover.

TIP: “Did she say Instant Mashed Potatoes?” Why, yes I did. Give yourself permission to take a shortcut or two (or more). You can always jazz up those instant potatoes by using fresh herbs and whole milk for a creamier side.

It’s All Gravy

Don’t underestimate the power of a can of turkey gravy or even a packet of dry turkey gravy mix. My secret (well maybe it’s not really but I would like to think of it as mine) is to use a cup of juice from the turkey pan instead of the cup of water. Forget making a roux and spending so much time making sure it doesn’t burn.

TIP: Don’t have a full cup of turkey drippings? Just top it off with water. And it is ok to get ‘some’ of the fat and turkey pieces that may fall off.

Miscellaneous Must Haves


For more recipes that use products you can get from Smart & Final, check out this list of over 6,800 recipes!

Head here to find the Smart and Final nearest you. Speaking of celebrations, Smart & Final is celebrating 150 years in business this year! Fun fact – in 1895, Smart & Final introduced what is likely the very first private label brand – Iris. Smart & Final still carries Iris products today, along with private labels Sun Harvest and First Street. Established in 2002, the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation works to give back, improve the quality of life, and nourish local communities throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada. Charitable giving initiatives fall within five pillars of focus: Health & Wellness, Education, Hunger Relief, Team Sports & Youth Development, and Disaster Relief. In 2020, the Charitable Foundation raised almost $2 million to support nearly 1,500 causes.

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Tracy owns Safe Spaces, a consulting and training firm that focuses on building resilient families, communities and organizations (www.sfspcs.com). She is also an Authorized Facilitator and Certified Instructor with Darkness to Light, www.d2l.org, a child sexual abuse prevention organization. Tracy has taught pre kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade and has served as a Site Administrator for an elementary school. Currently, she is a Teacher-in-Residence with Prezi and also a college and career advisor for Students Rising Above. Tracy grew up in northeast Ohio, and has lived in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Arizona, and Northern Virginia and has worked in the arts, in education and child abuse prevention. Her husband's job brought them to the Bay Area and there's no looking back! Tracy is mom to a 16-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son. Self-care includes getting to know her new community, having lunch with friends, pedicures, reading, cooking, crafting, and just being with her family.

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