When I surf the web and see the plethora of recipe/cooking blogs available I am so encouraged. It seems that scratch cooking is making a resurgence and for those of us who are thrift-minded this is a good thing. At first glance, it might seem that cooking from scratch costs more than buying instant, packaged food but when you take the long view, you begin to see the cost – and health – benefits of making an initial investment and seeing it pay off over several meals.
Take our recent turkey dinner as an example. We ate Squash and Apple Bake and roasted Winter Vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, beets and carrots) both recipes from Simply in Season cookbook. The Cranberry Walnut Sauce is something I’ve shared in the past and I always double it because we need it for sandwiches during the week following this meal. My one non-scratch concession is Stove-Top Stuffing – only because it’s a favourite of my son’s and since he and I are really the only ones who eat stuffing, I figure it’s a time saver and I take advantage of that. A tossed salad and some mandarin oranges rounded out the dinner. The main attraction was a non-medicated, organic turkey, just over 7 kg, that cost about $45.
I stuff the turkey with a raw onion, several cloves of garlic, a lemon and a handful of fresh herbs from my garden (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme – the Simon and Garfunkel herb combo.) Hubby carves the bird once it’s done and then the carcass and everything but the lemon go into the soup stock pot along with a raw carrot and come celery sticks and a spice ball filled with star anise and peppercorns. This simmers away on the stove all during our meal and well into the evening. The next day. I pour it through a sieve into containers: 3 empty 2kg peanut butter jars and a soup pot. I pick off any remaining bits of turkey and distribute that into the jars and then they go off into the freezer for 4 more meals. The left-over turkey meat goes into lunches in sandwiches, turkey-salsa-hash breakfasts that my son makes, and turkey pot pie. So from one, relatively small bird, we got a couple of breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 6 dinners (including the original turkey dinner.) That works out to about $5 a meal (once you factor in bread and condiments for sandwiches and veggies for soup) – how’s that for thrift?
4-6 cups turkey stock (see my process above)
To this add whatever you have on hand (hence the “kitchen sink” reference): chopped left-over turkey, your favourite soup veggies – we like potatoes, celery, carrots, peppers, yams or sweet potatoes, left over rice is also good or small pasta like orzo or macaroni. My secret ingredient is a can of creamed-style corn. Salt and pepper to taste. YUM!
What’s your favourite thing to do with turkey dinner leftovers?