I have the feeling most of us have a lot of leftover food to deal with right now. Perhaps more than you can handle.
There’s a lot you can do with your leftovers. After all, it was a carcass soup recipe on Thanksgiving that gave me the idea for this blog in the first place. Here’s a list of some creative ideas to make this year that will convert your leftovers into delicious and original meals.
I’ve seen lots of ideas on Pinterest that use a waffle iron. I was so excited to make a waffle out of cake batter, except I pinned the idea years ago and still haven’t made it. I’ve also seen mashed potatoes, tater tots, and Thanksgiving stuffing.
I do not like stuffing. Every year I dish a mouthful or two on my plate out of some strange desire to teach myself to like it, but so far my efforts have been unsuccessful. When I saw the picture of stuffing waffles, I said, “No thanks.”
Then my husband approached me all excited about an idea he heard on NPR: stuffing waffles with a fried egg on top.
I asked him if he was sure the egg didn’t go inside the stuffing to keep everything together, but he insisted that all you have to do is spoon the stuffing on the iron.
(Pinterest gods say to mix an egg into the stuffing, so I was right.)
I expected it to be a hot mess, but it was actually pretty good. I did very much enjoy the fried egg on top.
To make broth, submerge the turkey carcass in water and boil for four hours, then strain to make delicious broth that you can eat plain, use for soup, or freeze in one-cup portions to use in recipes.
If you wantto make stock instead of broth, you boil vegetables and spices with the bones (typically onions, carrots, and celery).
Turkey Carcass Soup
You can get my recipe for the soup here.
Mashed potatoes freeze well, and so does the gravy. In fact, whenever I have potatoes that are about to go soft, I often mash them and put them in the freezer.
If you don’t want mashed potatoes later, there are lots of recipes that call for them as an ingredient.
My go-tos are gnocchi, and mixing it with cheddar and French fried onions to use as a shell for casseroles. Both gnocchi and casseroles freeze well; just put the gnocchi dough in the freezer before boiling it.
Turkey Pot Pie
You can freeze turkey. If you decide to do that, give me your address so I can drive to your house and smack you upside the head.
I am not a fan of freezing chicken or turkey after it’s been cooked. However, if you cut the turkey or chicken into small pieces and mix it up with gravy, vegetables, and put it in a pie shell, you don't notice the compromised state of the meat.
We used some of our leftover turkey to make pot pies that we put in the freezer for later, since the last thing we need right now is another pie to finish.
I’m going to post our recipe for pot pie in a day or two, but this is the recipe I originally used before I made adjustments to it. The only problem I have with this recipe is it makes enough filling for one and a half pies, and my recipe has the ingredients for just one.
Turkey sandwiches is a tradition almost as important as the turkey itself, but if you’re tired of eating it with mayonnaise on white bread, you can get creative with Dijon mustard, cranberry sauce, avocadoes, bacon, provolone or swiss cheese, etc., or you can experiment with different kinds of bread. You can grill it, too.
Roasted Potato Peels
Potato peels are delicious roasted. Just drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, lay flat on a cookie sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. I like to put them in a bowl on a table for my hungry kids to munch on while I’m making dinner.
I have not actually made this myself, but I love chicken salad, and I imagine this will be just as good.
The nice thing about making your leftover turkey into a turkey salad is that it completely transforms the meat, so you don’t feel like you’re eating the same thing you’ve been eating all week just in a different way.
Green Chili Turkey
You can shred the turkey to use for many other recipes, like sprinkling over chips with barbeque sauce and cheddar and baking in the oven, on a barbeque pizza, in burritos with salsa and Mexican spices, or in mole.
Here's a recipe from my gifted culinary school graduate friend for green chili turkey.
One of my readers had a great idea to put leftover sauteed vegetables in the bottom of a muffin tin, top it with stuffing, pack the stuffing down, and bake it until warm. Then she broke a quail egg on top and put it back in the over until the white gets solid.
Just goes to show; if you ever want leftovers for breakfast, put an egg on it!
Shephard’s pie is usually made with lamb in gravy with vegetables and mashed potatoes smeared on top and cheddar cheese melted over it. If you want to be a rebel, you can use turkey instead.
I guess it would be pretty similar to turkey pot pie with mashed potatoes instead of pie crust.
That should be enough ideas to keep you busy! What do you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers?
"How do you freeze food so it doesn't get freezer burn? I too freeze leftovers my family is tired of eating, but when it sits in the freezer for weeks it gets frost on it. Then, my family refuses to eat it. Is there a solution for this?"
I don't blame your family; freezer burn is nasty.
Air is the cause of freezer burn, and the longer food stays in the freezer, the more time it's exposed to air. The solution is to keep air away from the food as much as possible. That's why they sell those vacuums that seal up food.
I was introduced to the beauty of salami by a friend of mine who liked to sit inside the refrigerator when she snacked.
The first time I spent the night at her house, I woke up in the morning, went into the kitchen, and found her sitting on the ground with her elbows propped up in the fridge.
"What on earth are you doing?" I asked.
"Because it's good. Try some."
I took a slice of plain salami, and she was right. It was amazing.
I will never waste food again
I've been tired of throwing out food for years - not to mention tired of our huge grocery bill! I decided to make a change and vowed never to waste food again. In this blog, I'll show you how I do it.