Thanksgiving is shaping up a little differently than normal, and yet still the same. I’m still making turkey and our favorite sides. Yum!
What we won’t have is a lot of extra people at our table, just four of us. Cooking for a small number is different than a big crowd. I used to buy the largest turkey I could find! This year I went a little smaller, but not so small we wouldn’t have plenty of leftovers. Because, admit it, Leftovers Are The Best!
Some folks (my family included!) love the leftovers even more than the original meal. Why don’t we make turkey sandwiches all year with cranberry sauce? It’s soooo good. But at some point everyone gets tired of the sandwiches and it’s time to use up the leftovers in other ways everyone will enjoy.
If you have more leftovers than you think you can handle, just freeze them. Here are a few tips for freezing your favorite dishes.
How to freeze:
- Solid foods like the turkey, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil and then put in freezer-safe bag. Be sure to squeeze out any air as you seal the bag.
- Soups, gravies, sauces etc. freeze in glass or heavy plastic bags. Leave a little room. Remember your science lesson that liquids expand when freezing.
- Mark the date on the bag or container and enter the item in your DinnerTime Pantry manager for future use.
Foods to freeze:
- Turkey: Cut from the bone into similar size pieces for easy defrosting. Good for up to three months.
- Turkey Bones. Freeze the leftover carcass to use later for homemade stock.
- Mashed Potatoes. Mashed potatoes made with added fats like butter or cream will freeze well for up to a year.
- Gravy. If your gravy is made with a base of flour it will freeze better than gravy made with milk or cream. Try freezing your gravy in an ice cube tray for easy portions. Gravy only lasts a few days in the fridge but will last up to three months in the freezer.
- Cranberry Sauce. Freeze for up to two months.
- Stuffing. Freeze your left-over stuffing for up to a month. Do not freeze stuffing made with oysters.
- Sweet Potato Casserole. Some folks put marshmallows on top. if you do this, remove them before your freeze the rest of your casserole. Freeze for up to three months.
- Pumpkin and Squash. These freeze well for up to three months. They do best if they are pureed first. Put in smaller bags or containers and add as filler to soups.
- Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts. Nope! These do not freeze well if they are already cooked.
- Rolls. There is no substitution for fresh rolls, but you can freeze leftover dinner rolls. Individually wrap each roll so you can pull out as many as you need at a time. Frozen rolls should last up to three months.
- Pies. Who has enough leftover pie to freeze? But if you do, note that some types of pies like custard, cream, mouse or chiffon pies will not freeze well. Pumpkin, pecan or other pies will freeze for up to two months. Fruit pies freeze for up to four months.
Remember to add your frozen items to your DinnerTime Pantry manager? Use them up in your weekly planning by indicating “use soon.”
Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipes: