Frugal Food
Blogging about feeding my family of six without spending a fortune. You won't find fancy foods like beef wellington or chicken carbonara (most of the time), but you will find really good food eaten by an actual real family, with real activities and really picky children.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Turkey Talk
Yes, I realize the holidays are over and most people don't even want to think about turkey. But read this, then keep it in the back of your mind for next year.

When turkeys go on sale before and after Thanksgiving, why not buy a couple of extra beyond what you need for Turkey Day? They keep in the freezer for a year or more and are very versatile. I bought a 23lb turkey the day after Thanksgiving for $9.00...that works out to 39cents/lb. I can't even get chicken that cheap anymore. I bought it with the intention of cooking it and using it in recipes that call for chicken.

The other day I roasted the turkey and we had a mini Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixin's (except cranberry sauce...forgot it lol). I made gravy with the drippings from the bird and ended up with a gallon of gravy, no joke! Homemade gravy is the best! I just bring the broth/drippings to a boil, then mix some corn starch w/ cold water and add it to the broth. Bring it to a boil again and stir until thickened. If it's not thick enough, add a little more cornstarch/water mixture.

After dinner I went out to the kitchen and picked that bird clean. I got seven freezer bags with 2 cups of turkey in each bag. But I wasn't done yet!

After picking as much off the bones as I could, I put the carcass in a big pot and covered it with water. I added a little bit of thyme, onion, garlic, salt & pepper to the water and let it simmer for 2-3 hours until there was nothing left on the bones and I had a yummy thick broth. This broth is nothing like broth you buy in a can or like that turkey soup by those name brands. This is thick and golden and smells heavenly!!

To get the bones out of the soup broth (because that's where this is going, turkey soup) I use one of two methods. I either get another big pan and set my collander inside it and pour the hot broth into the collander. The bones collect in the collander and the broth goes through into the second pan. Most of the time I don't feel like dirtying an extra pan and the collander. So I just use a slotted spoon to scoop out all the bones. Just be careful with this method that you get all the little bones & gristle out of the broth.

After I take the bones out of the broth, I let them cool and after they are cooled I pick whatever stubborn peice of meat are still stuck on the bones off and toss it into the broth. Any peices of meat that cooked off the bones and got strained out of the broth either in the collander or with the slotted spoon toss back into the broth. Now you can throw in a cup or two of leftover veggies and a cup of rice and voila! You've got turkey & rice soup for later in the week. I would probably wait to add the rice until you've reheated it to eat, otherwise the rice kind of "melts" into the soup.

But what about those other seven portions of turkey?
I'm making:
Turkey enchiladas
chopped turkey mixed w/ a can of cream of chicken soup (or homemade cream of soup), a can of rotel. Spoon mixture into flour tortillas, roll up and place seam side down into a baking dish. Pour a can of green enchilada sauce over the tortillas, sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes.

Turkey & gravy over mashed potatoes, w/ veggies
Add chopped turkey to the leftover gravy. Serve over mashed potatoes w/ veggies on the side or mixed in.

Turkey Tetrazini
Spaghetti noodles (cooked & hot), chopped turkey (reheated in the micro), mixed veggies (cooked & hot), and cream of chicken soup (or homemade). Mix together. Maybe a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top.

Ranch Turkey Pasta
Chopped turkey, penne pasta (or any other tube pasta), dry ranch dressing mix, butter or margarine, 1lb bag peas & carrots. Cook pasta according to pkg directions. Cook peas & carrots according to pkg directions. Reheat turkey in the microwave until warmed up.
When pasta is done, melt butter/margarine (about 2-4 tablespoons) in a frying pan. Mix in ranch dressing. Pour immediately over the pasta, mix in turkey & veggies. Sprinkle with a little grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

I'll also leave out a bag in the fridge for sandwiches. Maybe I'll make a turkey pot pie. But the important thing is to spread these meals out over several weeks' time. I plan on spreading these meals out over 6-8 weeks so my family doesn't turn into little turkeys :)
posted by Heather @ 5:42 PM  
  • At January 23, 2006 5:22 AM, Blogger Wenchypoo said…

    Here's an article you might want to read concerning hollow meat carcasses and the cost of meat waste:

  • At March 11, 2006 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks Heather!

  • At April 18, 2006 7:19 AM, Blogger Mom2fur said…

    I had turkey last Thursday. I had also bought it on sale a while back and it was in my freezer. I didn't do a whole 'Thanksgiving Dinner' production. No stuffing, for instance. I made roasted instead of mashed potatoes.
    I smashed up the carcass and got 10 cups of broth out of it. Yum!
    You've got me motivated to use the final bits of turkey and make turkey tacos for lunch today.

  • At August 08, 2006 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love turkey!

    Another thing I do is buy frozen, whole turkey breasts on sale and poach them. (Cover thawed breast with enough water to cover. Add seasonings and boullion. Ex.: garlic, sage, parsely, thyme, etc.
    Cover pot and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer on low for one hour. Remove from heat and let turkey cool completely in the broth. I usually refrigerate it overnight. Remove turkey from the broth and use both the turkey and the broth as you wish. No muss or fuss.)
    Don't forget it makes great sandwiches and salads!!-- much healthier, extremely tasty and cost so much less than "deli-meats".

    p.s. LOVE YOUR BLOG!

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Name: Heather
Home: New York, United States
About Me: Mom to four kiddos. Love to cook, knit, crochet, read, and playing on the computer.
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