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The Power of Thanksgiving Leftovers

If you are like most Americans you will have a ton of food left after the Thanksgiving Day meal. We’re going to take a look at how to turn that leftover food into meals that your family will like, and how to save some money doing it.

So there’s a good chance that you spent a small fortune on all of the food for Thanksgiving and now you’re still left with enough to feed a small army.  You can get your money’s worth out of that 50 pound bird, but it won’t stay good in the refrigerator for ever… especially if you just leave it on the bone.  The USDA says that you must throw out any leftovers, turkey, stuffing or gravy that has been left a room temperature for 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F). Leaving everything out on the table so people can graze all day is a bad idea.  The USDA also gives us a 3-4 day window for eating the refrigerated leftovers of turkey and anything that came into contact or was made with it.

Your family might think this is good news… there will only be leftovers for 304 days!  Not so fast… if you freeze that old Tom Turkey you can get up to 6 months out of him.  Sound like saving money to me!  Just think ofit… turkey “something” for 6 months!  Your family would probably disown you if you fed them turkey for 6 months, but there is some money to be saved by using that leftover turkey, and all the accoutrements, to subsidize your weekly meals.

So let’s assume you have stored your leftover turkey properly, divided it into small containers and froze some and left a couple of days’ worth in the fridge, we are going to take a look at some dishes that you can prepare using the leftovers all the while keeping your family from uttering those dreaded post-Thanksgiving words “…turkey again?”

Pocket Pies

Martha Stewart has a recipe that is sure to please the family, kids included.  These golden brown pocket pies are filled with all of the yummy leftovers like mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes and of course turkey.

Turkey à la King

photo by Taste of Home

Maybe not a “new” turkey leftover recipe but this is usually a crowd favorite, and it freezes well too! You can put to use the leftover turkey, green beans and carrots for a traditional Turkey à la King.

Dinner Mac and Cheese

Photo Iain Bagwell

Make a hearty mac and cheese by adding your leftover turkey or ham, veggies, and even crackers, this Dinner Mac and Cheese is sure to please.

Fiesta Turkey Soup

This zesty turkey soup is a welcome departure from the traditional Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Serve this Fiesta Turkey Soup with your favorite cornbread recipe

photo by spoonforkbacon

Last but not least is the good ole Turkey Sandwich.  But instead of turkey slices on white bread make that Thanksgiving leftover Turkey Sandwich memorable by layering on the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and in the middle of it all, place a gravy-soaked slice of bread to moisten it all up!


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