Carb fest AKA Thanksgiving is behind us! I hope you had a wonderful day, surrounded by family and friends.
We did manage to flip the 22 lb bird and it was probably the best turkey we have had. Crispy brown skin all over & juicy and tender meat.
This is Sarah with “The Bird”. I just know she wanted to pick off all the crispy skin and eat it on the spot!
(I guess we should have moved the mustard bottle! Opps!)
Along with great food and even better memories comes the question of how to deal with all those Thanksgiving leftovers.
We were missing a few of our big ‘eaters’ this year. Yes, I have leftovers! Mostly, turkey, gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes. I absolutely hate waste but at the same time I am not prepared to risk food safety either. According to the USDA leftovers should either be eaten or frozen within 3 -4 days. This is assuming that the food was packaged and refrigerated within 2 hours.
Rather than eating leftovers all weekend and repeating the ‘carb fest’ for the next three days and then trying to package and freeze everything, I have decided to take a different approach. We have a busy weekend ahead of us so rather than waiting until Sunday or Monday to deal with these leftovers, I am packaging them up today, Friday, and they are heading to the freezer. I have also made myself a promise to LABEL and DATE everything! This will be my New Year’s resolution!
I had not found a great way to freeze mashed potatoes. Until Jan shared her secret, since learning this technique there is never a mashed potato shortage around here.
“I have started making and freezing mashed potatoes 10-20 lbs at a time on a random weekend. I feel like yesterday’s Thanksgiving was the easiest ever since I was not dealing with the potatoes other than to heat them up. You are right in that when you freeze them they get runny. Really really runny. What I discovered is that thawing in the fridge and then emptying that slop into a saucepan and heating it on the stove top over a low flame with an occasional stir brings them right back to perfection. The watery part gets absorbed back in and they tighten right back up. Good as the day they were made. This discovery (recent) was life changing for me.”
Then of course there is that turkey carcass. Yes, you can freeze it (in a food grade bag) and deal with it later but I have found that down the road I will look at that sad skelton and not want to deal with it. Rather than pitching it into the trash 6 months from now, I have it cooking down for a great turkey soup this evening. If I don’t use all the broth for the soup, I can freeze it and I know I will use it in fairly short order.
The leftover gravy will be going into these small canning jars. They are freezer safe and are just the perfect size for one meal. A small container defrosts so fast and along with separately packaged turkey will make for a nice meal down the road.
I have wrapped the turkey breast in plastic wrap and then placed them inside a freezer bag. Bags of stuffing, flattened and 1 cup jars of gravy, all ready to head to the freezer. These are going to taste really good in a few weeks. All will defrost quickly and safely in the refrigerator. Add a vegetable and there is dinner!
Now to decide what kind of soup to make!