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Nov 232015
 November 23, 2015  Posted by  Features, Food, Recipes, Thanksgiving Day

You paid good money (but hopefully not too much) for that Thanksgiving turkey. Do not let the leftovers go to waste. Turkey is not only a bargain (especially during pre-Thanksgiving sales), it’s tasty and good for you. And sometimes the leftovers are even better than the original meal.

First, buy more than one turkey when they’re on special. Double wrap the ones you intend to keep for a while. According to Foster Farms, a frozen commercially wrapped turkey should last up to a year in your freezer. To be extra sure, I add an additional layer of foil or other freezer wrap to ensure it doesn’t get freezer burn. Even the tiniest hole in the original wrapping can allow freezer burn.

If you can’t possibly eat all the leftover meat in four to five days (stored in the coldest part of your refrigerator), wrap individual portions well and freeze for up to four months (or six months, if stored in broth or gravy).

If you want to use those turkey leftovers now, here are some ideas:

  • Turkey soup is a traditional turkey-leftover that requires removing most of the meat from the carcass and cooking the carcass in water or broth with a chunk of onion, a couple of carrots and a celery stick to make your stock. Strain and cool. Remove any fat. Discard bones and vegetables. Then chop fresh vegetables and add to simmering stock – onions, celery, carrots, whatever you like. Throw in some noodles the last 15-20 minutes for turkey noodle soup. If that’s too vague for you, try this recipe for Turkey Soup with Egg Noodles and Vegetables.
  • Also consider turkey pot pie. Pillsbury has several recipes for chicken pot pie online, but you can easily substitute turkey in any of them. (And while you’re there, sign up for the free newsletter and get coupon savings of up to $250 per year sent to club members – and some great recipes, too.)
  • You can fill tortillas with leftover meat for turkey enchiladas or burritos; put the meat in a casserole; dress up turkey sandwiches with cranberries or a quick sauce; use the meat and leftover veggies in a chowder; and try some new and different takes on turkey with Food Network’s best Thanksgiving leftover recipes.
  • For a video showing how to make a money-saving dish with leftover turkey and stuffing, check out Sandra Lee’s recipe for stuffed mushrooms.

Also check out for not only ways to use leftovers, but also how to cook the turkey to begin with (in case you don’t already know), including a how-to video.

You will have so much fun with your turkey leftovers, you won’t want to wait till next Thanksgiving to make another turkey dinner. And you’ll have one in the freezer just waiting for you.

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Linda DuVal

Linda DuVal has lived in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region since 1969. She has been writing about the area for most of that time and is the co-author of the new “Insider’s Guide to Colorado Springs,” from Globe Pequot Press. She was a working journalist with The Gazette – the city’s daily newspaper – for 32 years, covering everything from city council to fashion trends, books and authors to travel and food. She has been a freelance writer since 2004, contributing regularly to newspapers, magazines and online sites. Linda owns and operates Pikes Peak On The Cheap.

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