What Ya Gonna Do With Those Leftovers?

The one day a year when there’s more food than we can eat is Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, waste isn’t confined to the holidays. According to the US Department of Agriculture, up to one-fifth of America’s food goes to waste each year, with an estimated 130 pounds of food per person ending up in landfills. With grocery bills rising through the roof, the one place we can save is in reducing the amount of waste from our kitchens, especially at Thanksgiving.

What to do with leftover turkey?

What to do with the leftovers? A little creativity goes a long way. You’d be surprised at the number of ways you can make Thanksgiving leftovers into tasty meals. First, turkey.jpgI always use the turkey carcass and leftover gravy and stuffing, for turkey soup. I make a large pot of soup the day after Thanksgiving, because the carcass takes up so much room in the refrigerator.

Do you have leftover mashed potatoes? Refrigerate and then make potato patties later in the week. Leftover sweet potatoes? Make sweet potato soup. Mash, then add a dash of ginger, nutmeg, chicken broth and heat. Just before serving, mix in a little cream.

Sometimes, I use what’s been accumulating in the refrigerator for a “Leftover Casserole.” Leftover Casserole works great with leftover turkey. CLICK HERE for the recipe. Make scrambled eggs for breakfast Friday morning with sauteed onions, green peppers, and leftover chopped turkey. Or if you have more time, make Sunday Quiche and substitute, chopped turkey for the chicken in the recipe.

Then I—FREEZE, FREEZE, FREEZE.

If you have more turkey than you can consume in a day or two, portion it in one or two pound packages and freeze. You can pull it out of the freezer in a week or two and make a turkey casserole or creamed turkey sandwiches or heat up and serve with a veggie for dinner.

I’ve found that I waste less if I do a couple of things on a regular basis. First, good intentions often end up in the waste can. Uneaten portions of meals make great leftovers. That is unless you forget about them and they turn moldy in the back of your refrigerator.

I bypass the refrigerator and leftovers go right into my freezer from the table. Then instead of throwing it out a week later, when I need a quick meal, one is waiting to be defrosted. I’ve even frozen milk! If you find that you have too much milk, don’t let it spoil use it in a pudding or, yes, freeze it. Isn’t ice cream milk? Milk defrosts just fine, even just for drinking.

If you shop at a warehouse grocers, produce can be a bargain, but you’ll purchase large amounts. Produce is best when it’s eaten in the first three days after you’ve brought it home from the store. Although some fruit, like oranges and apples, will last much longer. Soft fruit can be held in the refrigerator until a day or two before you plan to eat it. Then place it out on the counter to ripen. This is especially practical when you purchase a bag of 5 or 6 avocados. Set one or two on the counter to ripen and keep the rest in the fruit bin of your refrigerator until a day or two before you want to eat them.

Have your bananas turned brown? Don’t have time to make banana bread? Peal the bananas and place individually in sandwich baggies and freeze. Remove from the freezer and use frozen in a fruit smoothie or defrost and make banana bread at a later time.

Keep onions, those large bags of garlic, and potatoes in a cool, dark place, like your basement. Never place onions next to apples, as your apples will spoil faster. If your veggies and fruit fight, Click Here for the remedy.

Lastly, don’t throw away old bread. You guessed it. Freeze it before it gets crusty. Bread defrosts beautifully from the freezer. Save the heals, if you don’t regularly eat them and stale pieces for bread crumbs and bread pudding.

CLICK HERE for “Have a Natural Thanksgiving.”

CLICK HERE for the Baby Bites book.

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