Save Money on Groceries: Make Thanksgiving Leftovers Last

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Here's some food for thought: According to EatTurkey.com Americans consumed 736 million pounds of turkey over the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday. This year is shaping up to be no different. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, and plans for the big feast well under way, you're no doubt wondering what to do with the leftovers? When people think of Thanksgiving leftovers, the classic turkey sandwich probably comes to mind, but with just a little forethought, you can do so much more than just slap some turkey between two slices of bread. In fact, creative use of Thanksgiving leftovers can help reduce your grocery bill for months to come. Here are some ideas on stretching out those leftovers:

Freeze Turkey.

Turkey freezes well, so there's no need to eat it all in the week following Thanksgiving. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), cooked turkey can be frozen for up to six months without any loss of quality. Simply remove the turkey from the bone, wrap tightly in aluminum foil, and freeze. Make sure to freeze it in multiple small portions so you won't have to heat it all up at once, because once you defrost it, there's no refreezing it. Turkey is an excellent chicken substitute in numerous dishes, so instead of buying chicken, cut down on costs by using the turkey in your freezer.


Sides.

Let's not forget about the Thanksgiving Day side dishes, such as stuffing and potatoes, which can also be given the frozen treatment. These foods will retain their integrity for up to one month in the freezer. Again, freeze the leftover sides in small-portion containers and use them as quick and tasty additions to meals during the the following weeks; or, use them as a base for a casserole and freeze that for a meal at a later date. We really like the Turkey and Stuffing Casserole recipe from Wise Bread that layers stuffing and chopped turkey with gravy in a casserole dish. When you're ready to eat this meal simple, defrost it and then heat in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Broth and Soups.

Just about every part of the turkey can be used in some way or another. One tasty idea is to make a turkey broth. This takes a few hours of passive cooking time, but the benefit is a flavorful, rich broth that can be used for rice, sauces, soups, and casseroles. Homemade turkey broth is far tastier (and can be less salty) than store-bought turkey or chicken broth, and it costs almost nothing to make. To prepare a turkey broth, keep the turkey carcass and follow this recipe from CheapCooking.com. Once the turkey broth is ready, freeze it in one- to two-cup containers for up to six months.