Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Use 'Em or Lose 'Em

This is actually a repost from last year.  I wanted to bring it back up because A) it is that time of year again, and B) rather than clicking all those links to find the recipes mentioned, you can find all those, and many more in my new ebook How to Stretch a Chicken: 42 recipes to make the most of a whole chicken, leftover turkey, or even pesky squirrels.  If you haven't gotten your copy yet, yes, you could wait for tomorrow when it is free, but by then your leftovers will be a little shady.  For only $2.99, you can still get all these great recipes while your leftovers are still okay!
As we wrap up Thanksgiving weekend, it is also time to wrap up Thanksgiving leftovers.  You can safely eat refrigerated leftovers for up to four day, so we're down to crunch time.  Either use those leftovers, or lose them.

The Turkey

If you still have a turkey lurking in your fridge (a lurky turkey!  Ha ha!), get it out of there ASAP.  If it is still on the bone, take as much meat off as you can, stick anything you aren't going to eat today in freezer baggies or containers (I prefer 1 or 2 cup reusable freezer containers, since that's the quantity I'm going to be needing them in), and stick the remaining carcass in a stock pot filled with water, a couple onions, some carrots, maybe some celery (I don't use celery because I don't go through enough to justify buying it and we don't miss it in the finished product), maybe some parsley, and a lil' bit of salt and pepper, if desired.  Let it simmer for 5 to 24 hours and you have yourself a goodly quantity of turkey stock for soups, stews, flavoring rice when you cook it, anything else that you might ordinarily use chicken stock for.  When it is done cooking, you can can it if you have a pressure canner, or just freeze it.

You can use those little pieces of turkey meat in anything that you might ordinarily use cooked chicken.  Around here, that includes: chicken stew with dumplings, jambalaya, chicken broccoli cheese casserole, chicken fried rice, chicken teriyaki, chili rice with chicken, chicken egg rolls, chicken and asparagus stir-fry, chicken pot pie, chicken fajitas, and chickenherder's pie.  On any of those recipes, just imagine it says "turkey" anywhere it says "chicken" and you are good to go.

The Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Around here, we are such potato eating fiends when mashed potatoes are put in front of us, that leftover mashed potatoes is hardly likely.  In the unlikely event that such a thing happens, they are quickly used up in a turkeyherder's pie (see above), which is basically a shepherd's pie type thing that has a mixture of turkey (or chicken), gravy, and mixed veggies (which is one of the reasons I prefer to keep veggies plain if I were hosting a feast, so I could just throw my leftover veggies in with the rest of the leftovers!) in a casserole dish, topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.

If by some freak of nature, that wasn't enough to take care of leftover mashed potatoes, I might try this potato soup recipe I came across the other day that looks pretty good.  Maybe even stick in a bread bowl to completely launch myself into a carb coma (is there such a thing?).  Just kidding.

Everything Else

Do people ever even have any other leftovers besides the things I've mentioned?  I usually run out of everything else (aka the good stuff.  Just kidding, kind of) within a day or two.  I actually made more cranberry sauce to go with the stuffing, etc on Saturday and cooked some carrots so we'd have veggies to go with our carb overload on Sunday.  I got nothing for ideas right now, since I honestly don't know what kinds of leftovers I'm missing, so if you still have leftovers that need eaten up right away and don't know what to do with them, post it in the comments!

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