Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Turning Leftovers into Do-Overs

At our house I intentionally cook so that we will have leftovers.  With a large and busy family, sometimes leftovers can be a mom's best friend....but sometimes the family may balk at a second or third meal of the same dish.   Many times when we try a new dish Jeff proclaims it to be a "do-over", meaning it was so good he would like to see it on the table again.   So what can you do with those leftovers to turn them into Do-overs?

For Thanksgiving I purchased a huge 20 pound turkey.  I cooked it at a low setting in my 22 quart roaster oven for about 20 hours. (thanks for the roaster, Becky!)  The turkey browned beautifully and was delicious for our big dinner.  There was also a huge amount of beautifully golden drippings in the pan as well.  After the meal, one or more of the children deboned the carcass, put it back in the pan with all the drippings and juices and added a couple of gallons of filtered water.  I let this cook on low for another day. Usually I would add in some carrots, onions, garlic and apple cider vinegar, but the children were doing this for me and well, it was Thanksgiving Day, so we made it simple.

After straining out the bones and getting any remaining meat, I poured up two of the richest, darkest gallons of turkey broth I have ever made.  It was wonderful!!  I try to keep turkey, beef and chicken broth canned up, and still had some turkey broth from the spring so I decided to use up the broth and remaining meat for some freezer meals.

First, I made a turkey/rice dish.  I browned a diced onion, finely chopped garlic and finely chopped carrots in olive oil.  Then I added two cups of rice and sprinkled in some dried chives to add a little more color.  When all was lightly browned I poured in four cups of that lovely broth and about two cups of chopped meat.  A liberal dose of salt and pepper were also added.  Stirred it up, let it come to a boil and then simmered until done.  A simple, filling and wonderfully nutritious meal!

Then I decided to make up a turkey pot pie base for the freezer.  A couple of chopped onions, several diced carrots and potatoes and a can of whole kernel corn were added to a gallon of turkey broth along with salt and pepper.  After the veggies were cooked and the mixture cooled, I bagged it up into several quart bags.   I mixed up a regular biscuit recipe except added more milk for a looser (?) dough.  I poured a bag of the mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and then plopped the dough over all and baked in a 350 degree oven until browned.  The dough thickens the broth/veggie mixture and the dish is wonderfully wholesome and filling.  I've already taken a turkey pot pie to a pot luck dinner and made two for a large family who just moved into the area.  I think I still have 3-4 bags left for meals throughout the next couple of months.

I still had about 1/2 a gallon sized bag of chopped turkey and half a gallon of turkey broth.  Racking my brain for ideas, I decided to make a turkey tetrazini.  Now this is something that most of my family would turn their noses up at, and I have to admit only having this dish in the school cafeteria.  It thought I could make it much better, though!!  Again, I sauteed an onion and some garlic in olive oil.  In another pot I cooked up a pound of spaghetti.   After the onions and garlic were slightly browned I added some dehydrated mushrooms and dried chives.  Then I poured in the broth.  After the broth was heated thoroughly I scooped out two cups and mixed it with a cup of flour.  After it was mixed well I added it back to the big pot.  Now I had a lovely mushroom soup-y mixture.  I poured the water off the spaghetti and mixed the ingredients from the two pots.  The chopped turkey was added in and stirred thoroughly.  I set it aside to cool.  After the mixture was cooled I mixed in a cup of freshly grated parmesan and about 3 cups of freshly grated mozzarella cheese.  Stirred this up well and then bagged it up in two gallon sized baggies and filled a pie plate to add to the other leftovers for our evening meal.  I overheard one of the older boys tell his father that it was really good!!

The other day I cooked a large roast for dinner.  We love roast around here, but maybe not quite so much the next day.  I took out my trusty iron skillet and coated it with olive oil.  I diced up a sweet onion and sliced about three large potatoes.  These were browned and cooked until just tender.  Then I took the leftover roast with its juices, carrots, onions and potatoes and poured it in the skillet as well.  This was heated through and served as beef hash!  Yummy!!

Another way I use up leftovers is to freeze leftover vegetables, sauces, pasta and chopped meats in a large freezer container.   When the container is full I make soup by adding a couple of jars of tomato juice or sauce and maybe some extra potatoes, onions (dried onions work well), carrots and seasonings.  We usually get a huge batch of soup doing this and then I am able to freeze the soup as well.

I hope this will give you some ideas for turning those leftovers into do-overs!  What are some ways that you already use leftovers in your home?  I'd love to hear!

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Betty @ Little Farm in the Big City said...

Thanks for the excellent post! About the only time I plan for leftovers is at holiday time when we make a turkey or ham. I want to do more freezer meals and I appreciate your encouraging post!

Rachel E. said...

Just curious, but when you say canned broth, do you mean it is frozen or in jars on the shelf? If it is on the shelf, then how do you can it in jars?

Anita said...

Rachel, I can the broth in quart sized jars and process in a pressure canner per instructions in my canner book.

Anita said...

Rachel, I can the broth in quart sized jars and process in a pressure canner per instructions in my canner book.

Rachel E. said...

Thanks. I don't have a pressure canner. I just freeze it right now.

The Adoption Journey of Baby King said...

Fell upon your blog from the HipHop Homeschoolers. We love raising our chickens and are enjoying learning to live off the land. I grew up in the city and only 4 years ago moved out to the country. I won't go back!

Anonymous said...

I Love your blog, and I would be honored if you would stop by mine sometime. GlossyMoney

I redo leftovers too in fact it is the one thing I am really good at.
I'm not that great of a cook but I can doctor a leftover to make it outstanding!


With the holidays my oldest just learned that if you buy some extra bacon the leftover cold turkey and rolls make exceptional turkey clubs.

I make mini turkey clubs with cheese , bacon , tomato and they are so great that the kids say they are better than subway!

I guess that is saying something.

Leave a comment on my blog if you do stop by.

How very blessed you are with family!

Unknown said...

I Love how you redo your left overs! Going to pick up a turkey tomorrow!

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