Dec 2, 2014

Dealing with Thanksgiving Leftovers

The tradition of "putting up" leftover turkey and all the Thanksgiving trimmings is an annual event here. I like to squeeze every meal I can out of that turkey!

This year I bought a 22 lb. free range, hormone and antibiotic free turkey. This is our third year of having fresh turkey and we will never go back to those chemical-laden Blubberball turkeys again. If you haven't tried a fresh turkey you just won't believe the difference in taste. (My other reason for buying fresh is that for five years in a row I was getting sick right after Thanksgiving. Upset stomach, lethargy, and achy joints -- almost flu-like symptoms. Once I stopped preparing the giant, frozen .99 cent a pound turkeys, the annual Thanksgiving round of illness stopped too.)

A 22 lb turkey for just four adults and two non-turkey-eating children meant a LOT of leftovers. I try and cook enough dinner to have all the side dishes leftover as well.

After dinner, Jeff and I immediately start making "TV Dinners" for the freezer. This year we had enough for 15 dinners. I buy aluminum pie plates, and give each plate a serving of turkey, then divide up the side dishes as evenly as I can. Some may have a roll, some may not. All usually have mashed potatoes and gravy. Each plate will have at least two vegetables, but those vegetables will vary from dinner to dinner. All get stuffing.

These "TV Dinners" are wrapped in aluminum foil and put in the freezer. When we want to use them, I simply put them in a 375 oven for about 45 minutes. They are as good (and sometimes better!) than the original Thanksgiving dinner.

Next, of course, I made Turkey Vegetable Soup and pressure canned 12 quarts, plus we had soup for dinner that night. When we're ready to eat the canned soup, I will add either noodles or rice (you can't can soups with noodles or rice).

From there I made and canned 8 pints of Turkey Broth. This is good for making gravy for future meals.

I still had some leftover mashed potatoes, turkey, gravy and stuffing, and made 8 homemade stuffed hand pies. (Recipe to follow)  These were SO good!  We had two for dinner last night with a nice green salad, and 6 of these pies went into the freezer for future meals.

I vac sealed three bags of 2-cup portions of turkey for future use. Probably turkey and gravy over rice, and maybe some pot pies when I have leftover veggies to use up.

That's 45 meals from my 22 lb turkey, NOT COUNTING what we ate on Thanksgiving, or what I gave my daughter to take home.


2 pie crusts, store bought or homemade
2 cups of chopped turkey, white and dark meat
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup bread stuffing
1/2 cup gravy
Dash of poultry seasoning or sage
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven at 425.

Roll your pie crusts out to a 12 inch circle. Flour one crust and put the second on top (so they don't stick together). Then use a pizza cutter to cut circle into six portions, like this.

Cut both crusts at once so you get evenly matched pieces to pair together.

In a large bowl, mix your turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy and seasonings together. (You could add some chopped onion, maybe some frozen peas or other leftover veggies you have.)

Pull out one stacked pair of pie crust pieces. Using your finger, wet around the edges of both triangle pieces with water. (This will help them stick together.)

Drop 1 -2 tablespoons of your meat mixture in the middle of the crust and place the second crust on top, then seal TWO edges with your fingers or a fork. Pick up those pieces with the open side up, and use a spoon to gently push the filling down and add another spoonful or two. Then seal third edge.

Place sealed triangles on a baking sheet (you may want to Pam spray or use a silicone baking mat), and bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then turn your oven down to 350 and bake until crust is golden brown.

The homemade cranberry sauce and side salad were just perfect with the hand pie. It really was good!

In fact,
LIFE is good!


Karen said...

I had enough people over that we ate most of our 21 pound turkey,but I still got a turkey pie, 3 or 4 meals of leftovers and two bags of turkey broth for the freezer.

Georgene G. said...

I love your idea of making TV dinners of the leftovers! I can't wait to try that next time I cook a turkey! :-)

Verna G said...

Miss your blog!