The Yearly Headache: What To Do with Thanksgiving Leftovers

This is a guest post from Frugal Carol from Frugal Finds From your Frugal Friend. Carol is a mom of two who shares everyday her bargain and freebie finds with her readers everyday. If you enjoyed this post consider subscribing to her blog.
I was asked to write about Thanksgiving leftovers. At first, I was not sure that was the best topic for me to write about. After we send leftovers home with all our guests (usually in old margarine and Cool Whip containers so we do not have to worry about getting the good containers back), DH and I pig out all weekend on all the leftovers and rarely have anything left by Monday. Our favorites ways to eat them are…..

fried potato pancakes for breakfast
cold turkey and mayo sandwich for lunch
hot turkey sandwich smothered in gravy with side of leftover filling, veggies and cranberry sauce
cold turkey dipped in mayo for late night snack.
Who am I to tell someone else what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers when all we do is stuff ourselves into a post Thanksgiving coma?
BUT… then I started thinking. Thanksgiving could really serve as one of those days where you cook once, but make a bunch of meals for the upcoming days or weeks. The holiday season is always very hectic here. Having a few already prepared meals in the freezer would make things so much easier and much cheaper than eating out! Here are a few ideas…….
  1. Cut leftover turkey into chunks and mix it with leftover gravy and veggies. Pour it into a pie plate, top it off with leftover potatoes or stuffing, and heat it up for a new style of Shepherd’s Pie.
  2. Turkey salad for lunch the following week
  3. Make a nice big pot of turkey noodle or turkey rice soup and freeze in smaller portions.
  4. Shred and freeze turkey into meal size portions for easy meals like turkey enchiladas or turkey alfredo.
  5. Assemble a few freezer containers with a complete dinner servings for the quick 1 person meal.
  6. Use leftover filling to make stuffed peppers or stuffed pork chops
I also checked to see how long it was safe to use your leftovers and this is what I found:

for that weekend: Within two hours of removing the turkey from the oven, take out the stuffing and carve the meat off the bones. Wrap turkey and stuffing separately, and refrigerate; use both within three days.

for long-term storage: Frozen turkey will last two months; stuffing will last a month (Note from Frugal Carol: YUK!). Cranberry sauce has the longest shelf life of any dish on the Thanksgiving table. Depending on your recipe, it can keep well in the fridge or freezer for months.