Thursday, 8 October 2015

5 Ways to Reuse your Turkey Dinner

Did you know that Canadians wasted approximately $31 billion worth of food last year? Almost half of that was consumer waste - Canadian families throwing food in the garbage.

How are we faring in Edmonton? Approximately 23% of the garbage produced by Edmontonians in 2013 was food waste. This means that almost a quarter of our garbage is something that could have been eaten. Even more distressing, some of what we throw away is still perfectly edible, in original packaging and within the expiry dates.

This weekend, many of us will be enjoying Thanksgiving with friends and family. If your family is anything like mine, Thanksgiving means food. A big turkey in the oven, a huge pot of mashed potatoes, stuffing, biscuits, veggies galore, and of course a choice of pies for dessert!

We always make too much, and so do most people we know. So with that in mind, here are 5 simple ways to reduce waste and "reuse" your turkey dinner!

Food.com photo by May I Have That Recipe
Meal Plan with Leftovers
One of the best parts about a big holiday meal is the leftovers. Too often, we pack things into the fridge and forget about them. Or we get sick of them, day after day.

Make a plan for your leftovers, so you don't find yourself dumping food into the garbage a week down the road. Too many mashed potatoes? Try making latkes or use them to top a shepherd's pie. For a double leftover-busting whammy, replace the ground beef in that pie with your leftover turkey!

Soup Stock
Homemade soup stock is incredibly easy to make, cheap, and usually much healthier than store bought varieties. Simply throw your whole turkey carcass (bones, skin, fat, it's all good!) into a pot with onions, garlic, and unwanted, leftover vegetables.

Did you know that vegetable peels are rich in nutrients? Throw those (washed) carrot and potato peels, zuchini ends, and corn cobs in there, too, stems and all. Season with a bit of salt, pepper, thyme, sage, whatever smells good!
Image Source: Me! For my next trick, I'll transform this....to this!
Cover with water and let simmer on the stove (1-2 hours) or in a crock pot (4-8+ hours). Strain the solids out, and you're done! Broth will last for a few days in the fridge, or you can freeze it in smaller portions to use later.

I keep a running "soup sack" in my freezer. Every time we peel veggies, find limp celery in the bottom of the crisper, or cook anything with a bone, it goes into a freezer bag. When the bag is full, the contents go into the crock pot and out comes broth!

Image Source: TheKitchn.com
Gravy Cubes
Gravy freezes really well! Pour your leftover gravy into ice cube trays, freeze, and then store the gravy cubes in a container in your freezer. Toss them into stir fries and other recipes as you cook, to add a bit of flavour.

Recipe-Ready Turkey
No matter how much we try, we are always faced with a last bit of turkey that really shouldn't sit in the fridge much longer. Are you noticing a theme yet? I put it in my freezer! This turkey is pre-cooked and chopped, so I can pull out as much or as little as I need for a recipe that's going to get eaten right away. I throw it, still frozen, into stir fries, add it to rice, or into a container with some veggies for lunch at work.

Pie Casserole
This doesn't usually happen in my house, but apparently some people end up with leftover pie. Yep, there's a use for that, too. I might have to hoard some extra pie this year, so I can try this delicious looking pumpkin pie breakfast casserole.

These are just a few ways to reduce food waste around the holidays. If you have other ideas, we'd love to hear them! Please share your tips and tricks in the comments.

-Sarah (Staff)




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