While Thanksgiving is a feast of loads that sparks gaiety, heat fuzzy vibes, and togetherness, it additionally provides to America’s huge downside with meals waste. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), about 200 million kilos of turkey alone is tossed away throughout Thanksgiving.
Per the NRDC, that’s a carbon footprint equal to 800,000 automobiles driving from Florida to Los Angeles. What’s extra, you’re certain to have an overage of mashed potatoes, inexperienced beans, and different vacation aspect dishes the morning after.
To reduce down on Thanksgiving meals waste, I reached out to my fellow frugalistas and cash nerds for easy, inventive methods on tips on how to take advantage of leftovers:
Jim Wang and his household will spatchcock their turkey, that means they’ll take out the backbone from the tail to the neck. The eliminated backbone, together with the ribs and baggie of sweetbreads, shall be made right into a inventory. The Wangs will then use the inventory as their soup base to concoct some turkey ramen.
Next, they’ll shred some turkey meat, throw in some scallions and no matter different components make sense together with some noodles. “It makes for a rich bowl of noodles that is completely different from the classic Thanksgiving dinner,” says Wang, the founding father of Wallet Hacks.
Dried Shredded Turkey
For so long as I can keep in mind, I’d get up the morning after Thanksgiving to my mother in her kitchen, squatting on the ground and hunched over a transportable fryer. Called ruoc ga, which interprets to “dried shredded chicken,” you possibly can swap out the hen for turkey. A conventional Vietnamese dish, ruoc ga may be placed on high of salads, blended with rice porridge for breakfast, or added to white rice and veggies for a easy meal.
You’ll must shred the turkey, then add fish sauce (soy sauce works too), a little bit of pepper, sugar, and a smidge of water. While it usually takes a couple of hours of tossing the turkey over a fryer (you may also pan-fry or oven-roast it), you possibly can retailer the ruoc ga in a jar and stick it within the fridge, the place it’ll be good for months.
Funky Shepherd’s Pie
While the normal shepherd’s pie requires small cubes of carrots and peas, you may make your personal variation utilizing the veggie leftovers, says Andrew Daniels, creator of Family Money Plan. For a strictly veggie shepherd’s pie, assume inexperienced beans, and autumnal veggies akin to candy potatoes and squash. If you’d wish to create a regular meat model, toss in items of leftover turkey.
For vegetarians akin to Daniella Flores and her spouse, who shall be eating with their carnivorous kin, post-Thanksgiving eats is perhaps extra savory than the precise feast day itself. The couple enjoys cooking veggie omelets from leftover aspect dishes.
“Since there are only two of us veggie gals, we cannot wait for a delicious breakfast the day after from the leftovers,” says Flores, who’s a senior software program engineer and creator of the aspect hustle web site I Like to Dabble.
Take these leftover mashed potatoes and make some potato pancakes, a favourite of freelance author and designer Bethany McCamish. First, flatten the mashed potatoes, coat them evenly in bread crumbs, and fry them in a pan. You can high with no matter you want — perhaps some steamed spinach and mushrooms, for a bit of inexperienced after a lot consolation meals.
Turkey Noodle Soup
A convention for R.J. Weiss’s household is making turkey noodle soup with the leftovers. “The bones make a rich broth, and once strained, it’s just a matter of simmering carrots in the broth, adding cooked noodles, leftover turkey, and topping it off with some leftover stuffing,” says Weiss, who’s the founding father of The Ways to Wealth.
Soup is a good way to make use of frozen cooked meat because it’ll rehydrate and conceal any freezer burn, provides freelance author Lindsay VanSomeren. Plus. it’s an ideal dish for the upcoming chilly months! She says: “For the ultra-frugal win, take the entire turkey home with you and use the rest of the bird to make turkey stock.”
Frozen Breakfast Burritos
Use that leftover turkey to make frozen breakfast burritos. “They’re great for grab-and-go breakfast or lunches, and will help your wallet recover from the holidays by not eating out when you need something quick,” says Kimberly Hamilton, founding father of BeWorth Finance.
Just fill a tortilla or wrap with all of your favourite toppings, wrap them in a paper towel, and place as many as you possibly can match right into a plastic freezer bag. “When you’re hungry, you simply take out what you need, pop it in the microwave and you’re ready to go,” says Hamilton.
Substitute Turkey in Meat Dishes
There’s no scarcity of how you should use these turkey leftovers — meat lasagne, or conventional beef chili. It may be so simple as topping your favourite salad with some roasted veggies or bits of turkey. Or mess around with conventional meat dishes and see if the meat could possibly be simply swapped with turkey.
For occasion, Sarah Li Cain shreds the turkey to show it into any meat-centric dish — turkey chili, turkey pot pie or any type of soup. “If I need a straightforward meal, I stir fry it with a bunch of greens with udon noodles, a splash of soy sauce, slices of garlic and ginger,” says Li Cain, who’s a finance author and host of the Beyond the Dollar podcast.
For additional inspiration, scour the accounts of your favourite Instagram foodie influencers or on Pinterest. “Some creativity and searching on Pinterest will take your leftovers from blah to wow,” says Daniels.
Get Creative With Your Sandwiches
Sandwich lovers can go gourmand by utilizing high-quality condiments, fancy cheese, and rolls as a substitute of sliced bread for his or her turkey sandwiches.
If you’ve a hankering for a sizzling sandwich, think about making an open-faced, sizzling turkey sandwich together with your leftovers, says Mike Collins of Wealthy Turtle. Heat up some leftover gravy in a skillet. Then add slices of turkey in order that they warmth up within the gravy. Toast a couple of slices of your most popular bread, unfold a bit of recent cranberry sauce on the toast, then pile on a great deal of heat stuffing. Top all of it off with the sliced turkey and loads of gravy, and also you’ve received one scrumptious sandwich!
Want in on a bit of secret? Cranberry jelly tastes nice on toast. While some individuals may discover it a tad unusual, Li Cain makes cranberry jelly and peanut butter sandwiches after Thanksgiving for her husband and son.
Organize Your Leftovers
After Thanksgiving dinner is over, strategically storing your leftovers will make it simpler to cook dinner your meals, factors out Logan Allec, founder of Money Done Right. “Put your leftovers in clear containers and label them with what they are and when they should be eaten by.”
So what’s the magic timeframe for storing leftovers? The USDA recommends that leftovers be stored within the fridge for 3 to 4 days. And for those who favor to maintain your leftovers within the freezer, they’ll keep their high quality for 2 to 6 months.
Try the $5 a Meal Challenge
As you’re already saving cash by taking advantage of your Thanksgiving leftovers, why not flip it right into a frugal problem? See for those who can solely spend $5 tops on a meal, suggests Erin Chase, founding father of $5 Dinners. Whipping up a easy aspect dish or further components to your turkey leftovers ought to make it a cinch. What’s extra, store for on-sale gadgets.
Besides reducing down on meals waste, getting creative together with your Thanksgiving leftovers can even provide help to reduce down in your common meals funds. And as the top of the 12 months may be fairly costly, cash saved in your grocery invoice might go towards your vacation funds.