Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Happy Thanksgiving! We’re getting this out early this week because the Hub will be closed on Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.

I’ll start with this week’s specials, and then give you some ideas of things to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers. By the way, did you hear that the average cost of a full Thanksgiving dinner for is under $50? And, according to the news story, that’s without using sales prices! I find that hard to believe. I had a hard time keeping my Thanksgiving dinner for 12 under $50 and I DID use sales prices.

But anyway, on to the sales. Watch the dates that the sales are good for. They’ve changed some because of Thanksgiving.

Marsh has “over 20 different varieties” of Washington or locally grown apples for 98 cents a pound in half peck bags. I’m not sure how big that is, but based on the size bags you usually see I’m assuming somewhere between 3 and 5 pounds. They have pork chops for $1.29 a pound and fresh ground beef (73% lean) for $1.99 a pound. Cucumbers and green peppers are 88 cents each. There are five $1 off “write your own coupons” that are good with a $10 purchase. I assume that requires at least $50 to use all five coupons. These prices are good Friday through Wednesday. They also have a deal on select gift cards – you get $20 off your next grocery purchase when you buy $100 or more in select gift cards. I don’t see any special dates for this, so it’s probably also good Friday through Wednesday.

Aldi still has 3 pounds of sweet potatoes for $1.49, a pound of baby carrots for 89 cents, 10 pounds of russet potatoes for $1.89 (Did you get a chance to try the roasted root veggies that were demoed last week? They were fantastic! Ask for the recipe the next time you go in.), a head of celery for 89 cents, and a 3 pound bag of onions for 99 cents. A 15 ounce can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, just pumpkin) is 89 cents. Cans of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups are still 49 cents each. Aldi’s prices are good from last Sunday through next Wednesday. They’re closed on Thanksgiving Day. They had some beautiful poinsettias when I was there on Monday. I think they were $1.99 each, but maybe they were $3.99. I wasn’t really paying attention. Eggs had come up to $1.49 a dozen on Monday.

Kroger has boneless pork loin for $1.77 a pound. That’s all I saw in their ad (which was very small). Their prices are good from 7 a.m. Friday through next Wednesday. One thing that may be good for other shopping – they’re giving 4x fuel points for gift card purchases. This deal is good now through December 11. Don’t forget that fuel points usually expire at the end of the month, so unless you need gas between now and Saturday, you might want to wait until after the first of the month if you plan to buy gift cards there.

OK, so what do you do with your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers? As I said in my earlier THANKSGIVING column, I had eleven people for Thanksgiving dinner a couple of weeks ago. There were lots of leftovers. Dinner plus the leftovers cost $47.21. My goal was to make a total of at least thirty meals from the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner. Eleven of those meals were Thanksgiving dinner itself, so I need to come up with another nineteen meals. I didn’t quite make it. Sixteen meals for sure, but you’d have to squeeze pretty hard to get the whole nineteen. Unlike my usual columns, my Thanksgiving menus do include bread (in the dressing) and potatoes.

Let’s start with what I have to work with. I had the following leftover ingredients:
A dab of whipping cream – about a fourth of a cup or so
Half a head of celery
6 pounds of potatoes
A cup of chopped walnuts
4 eggs
3 onions (a pound and a half)
4 ounces of cream cheese
More than half a liter each of diet and regular cranberry soda

That’s the leftover ingredients themselves. There were lots of leftovers, too. Things that had been cooked or otherwise prepared but not eaten:
About 12 cups of TURKEY (it’s hard to believe that there’s that much, but I measured it into freezer containers and that’s how much there is)
A couple cups of CREAMED SPINACH
Most of a pound of frozen peas (they weren’t very popular this year)
About 4 cups of MASHED POTATOES
A cup or so of SWEET POTATOES
About a cup of GRAVY
A couple of cups of drippings and broth
About 3 cups of CRANBERRY SAUCE (I forgot to put it on the table)
A couple of cups of STUFFING
About 2 cups of WHIPPED CREAM

The first thing to do is to make WALDORF TURKEY SALAD. This makes a good lunch dish. Make and eat this the day after Thanksgiving, because the apples don’t last very long once they’ve been cut.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just plain leftovers. For four servings, reheat about 4 cups of leftover TURKEY and two cups each of MASHED POTATOES, STUFFING, and peas. If there’s not 2 cups, just use however much there is. Reheat the GRAVY, too. Each serving is 1 cup of turkey, and half a cup each of mashed potatoes, dressing, and peas, plus some gravy. Serve with the CRANBERRY SAUCE.

Next make TURKEY, BROCCOLI AND SPINACH CASSEROLE, using some of the turkey and the leftover creamed spinach, plus the last of the whipping cream and cream cheese.
The last thing to do with Thanksgiving leftovers is to make CARCASS STEW. It uses up the leftovers that you haven’t done something else with, so make it after you’ve made the other turkey leftovers meals. It's soup or stew made with broth from the turkey carcass and any leftovers you have left. A similar thing to do is to make TURKEY AND NOODLES. Like Chicken and Noodles, but with turkey instead of chicken. 

I just ran across this recipe for SHAKER CHICKEN PUDDING, which should work just as well with turkey instead of chicken. You do have to buy the mushrooms, but you should have everything else left from Thanksgiving. You’d have to make this instead of something else, of course. But it does sound good.

So there you have it. Sixteen or more servings made from just the leftovers plus a few carrots and a pound of frozen broccoli. The carrots cost about 35 cents ($1.39 for 2 pounds, or about 12 carrots, at Aldi) and the broccoli 99 cents (at Walmart). Which brings the total cost of Thanksgiving dinner for eleven plus sixteen more meals to $48.55. Twenty or more meals if you add a package or two of noodles. There’s still some leftover pumpkin pie and whipped cream, too, which you can add to any of these meals. And lots of potatoes that you can use to stretch any meal, and some eggs and celery and onions.

The only way I was able to stretch the holiday budget this far was because it did include a lot of carbs or “fillers” – especially the dressing and the potatoes. But then, they’re part of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, too, right?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and thanks to you for reading my columns!

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