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Leftover Stories

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

According to the American Farm Bureau’s 37th Annual Survey, a traditional dinner for ten with turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and all the trimmings will cost $64.05, a 20% increase from 2021.

To combat rising prices and reduce food waste, we asked our friends and colleagues to share their favorite leftover stories and tips. Here are some of our favorite traditions!


“I love making stuffing waffles with leftover stuffing. Literally just pressing it into a waffle iron. So good!”

Ellie Falk

Youth Education Coordinator

Civic Garden Center

“My momma’s turkey pot pie after we have had all the turkey sandwiches we can take!”

Gage Bradford

Community Specialist

Hamilton County R3Source

“My sister and I have always loved Thanksgiving leftovers more than the formal meal! We like to make “open face” turkey sandwiches: a piece of bread topped with hot turkey and gravy and lots of potatoes on the side.”

Joy Landry, Communications Specialist

Hamilton County Environmental Services


“I save up the extra restaurant take out containers throughout the year and then bring them to Thanksgiving. Everyone in the family uses them to bring home leftovers. It’s great because I would never use all those containers myself and no one else seems to remember to bring containers for leftovers.”

Michelle Balz

Solid Waste Manager

Hamilton County R3Source

“My aunt brings containers, and we fill her up with leftovers. My sister and I take leftovers too! We have young kids and will take anything if that means we have one less meal to plan and cook. The funniest part is that these containers are used whipped cream or butter containers we saved specifically for holiday leftovers! Who doesn't love leftovers in a whipped cream container?!?”

Amy Habig

Program Specialist, EFNEP

OSU Extension

“At Thanksgiving, our theme is enjoying the bounty, but sometimes we go overboard. I HATE wasting food, and I learned from a few caterers that it’s important to have to-go containers ready for everyone to take home with them. I usually pack-up leftovers, filling up glass jars, ceramic lidded serving ware, and any other containers I can find. This is a great way to continue being that stellar host after the dinner!”

Maddie Chera

Director, Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council

Green Umbrella


“I volunteer at the animal shelter on Thanksgiving and we (other volunteers and myself) usually bring dog-appropriate Thanksgiving dinner leftovers or normal staples (green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, turkey, etc.) for a special treat for the dogs.”

Cher Mohring

Community Outreach Coordinator

Hamilton County R3Source

Leftover Recipe: Mashed Sweet Potatoes


  • 10 leftover sweet potatoes

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar


  1. Warm up potatoes in the microwave or in the oven.

  2. Cut up sweet potatoes into cubes/chunks (leave on the skins!)

  3. Place potatoes in large glass bowl.

  4. And milk, cinnamon and brown sugar.

  5. Work that mixer and blend thoroughly. Enjoy the added flavor and texture of the skins!

Thanksgiving table graphic

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