The Poor Mans Christmas – The Turkey Stretcher

Cooking Tips | Welcome to the poor mans Christmas and the turkey stretcher from

Welcome to the poor mans Christmas and the turkey stretcher.

I know the title sounds really weird doesn’t it? But it was honestly the best way I could think of to describe it.

I have decided to put a challenge together to see how many meals I can get from one turkey. Then on New Years Eve I will be posting the results and showing you exactly how far I took my turkey and how many actual meals I have got out of it. It is of course a bit of fun but at the same time I bet there are people that do this as a serious frugal experiment each and every year because if I wanted to save money at this time of year this is exactly how I would go about doing it.

Our Turkeys Over The Years

We have been eating and cooking our own turkey for Christmas for a number of years now. But it wasn’t until the last few years that we realised just how far we could stretch just one turkey and how many extra meals we could get out of it.

I remember for our first few years living here in Portugal we had a two bedroom apartment in our local town. It had a small kitchen and this meant that our fridge was rather small and only had 2 tiny freezer shelves. This meant that if we were planning on batch cooking ready meals that we were very limited on space.

But what we managed to do was still a lot of different meals from one turkey at both Thanksgiving & at Christmas and it really meant we got value for money out of our turkey. But it got even better when we moved house because we ended up with a big chest freezer in our utility and a larger fridge freezer in our kitchen. This means that we can now take it to a new level and do as much turkey leftovers as we like.

I think those of us that do have zero food waste from the turkey often do so with lots of sandwiches and what I want to achieve is actual meals out of my turkey. Feeding our family lots of meals without feeling like its all about saving money but more about enjoying our food. Though, I am sure Dominic would tell me off if we don’t have some sandwiches along the way!

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The Turkey Stretcher Experiment

On average the turkey that we get is around the 5 kilos mark. In pounds that is just over 11 pounds so it quite big for a turkey for a family of our size. We think of ourselves as far as turkey portion sizes go as a family of three. We do of course have 2 other kids but they are both very young and don’t eat any.

How we will do this is cook our turkey as usual and then eat what we like on the day, then come the day after make as many different turkey meals as we can. But because the turkey only has a few days life after being cooked when it has to be eaten or frozen we will be creating a lot of freezer meals out of this.

Also because we want you to have access to all these meals before Christmas is over (so that you can plan your own leftover turkey recipes) we will be doing the experiment starting on Thanksgiving so that we have time to get it all into practice and then we will do it again for Christmas so that it wasn’t just a one off and so that we can show that these meals are easy to do and that you could copy what we have done.

We will spend all of December sharing our leftover recipes on our blog (including a few vegetarian ones along the way) then on New Years Eve we will be posting our results for you all to see.

You can of course follow along with our turkey stretcher experiment yourself at home. Buy yourself the usual sized turkey and then plan some nice leftover meals and buy those ingredients in ahead of time. Then when it comes down to Christmas or Thanksgiving time you can get amazing value for money from your traditional bird.

Also, once you have decided on a few leftover ideas then you can set to work in making it happen. Or if you are like us and you can only get a decent turkey at Christmas time then you can have this amazing pleasure in having turkey out of season thanks to what you have stored in your freezer.

Meet The Milners

Samantha and Dominic

Dominic & Samantha Milner are the founders of They love cooking, blogging and being full time parents to their three food obsessed kids. They cook with their kitchen gadgets everyday and love sharing their homemade recipes. Their favourite foods include chocolate, air fryer burgers and macaroni cheese. You can learn more about them here or you can sign up for their free newsletter here.

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