One of the things I like most about hosting Thanksgiving is that we always end up with a ton of leftovers. I don’t look at all that food and think about eating the same meal over and over, instead I look at it as an opportunity to use those already cooked foods as a starting place for different meals. I start by making the turkey bones into stock, the same way I make chicken stock. I do this first for two reasons, one it forces me to finish carving the turkey rather than just sticking it in the fridge in the roasting pan with foil over the top. The other reason in that putting that giant turkey in the fridge took up tons of space before it was cooked and I would really rather not try to fit it back in there. With the stock and the tiny shreds of meat I make soup, so I add whatever the soup is I plan to make on the Monday after Thanksgiving, for soup Monday of course. Next I plan the pizza on Saturday, this year I am using the left over cranberries to make a pesto and using that on one pizza and using some left over ham to make a ham and pineapple pizza. I try and plan something for Sunday night that is very different from Thanksgiving without too many new ingredients, so I planned a pasta dish that our mom makes and is one of Emily’s favorite meals. The pasta will use more of the ham and the broccoli that is going on a veggie tray but is often times not eaten, if for some reason everyone eats the pound of broccoli I bought I will use frozen. The past few years I have planned to make Sheppard’s pie with the left over mashed potatoes, random veggies and gravy… this year I wasn’t feeling it so I will make it and put it in the freezer for another day. Instead I wanted to make something new and interesting; I am going to try a Mexican dish that uses shredded turkey and cranberry sauce.
When I package everything up on Thursday I put the food I plan to use in containers that have the quantity in it that I need and place them on one shelf, and then I put everything else on another shelf so that people can help themselves out to things I wasn’t planning on using like the stuffing and sweet potatoes. I give everyone until Monday to eat what they would like and then I evaluate what is left, if there are still significant extras then I make some decisions for that week. I can make crock pot chili using more turkey instead of chicken, a frittata that uses stuffing as the base, hot turkey sandwiches, Turkey Rubens or turkey pot pie if need be. By utilizing everything I already have it really takes a chunk out of the expense of putting on the holiday to begin with and gives me the much needed time I need to get all the Christmas decorations up.
Happy Thanksgiving! Here is our plan for the week:
For more menu planning resources visit Organizing Junkie
Much Love, Aislinn and Emily