Leftover Thanksgiving Mini Casserole Cups

(For when you do not have enough ingredients for a whole casserole) Children who can use an oven by themselves will find this easy. Younger children can put the casserole together for you to bake. To make this recipe even easier, you can prepare it when cleaning up after your Thanksgiving meal, and pop it in the oven the next day. You could also put it into the freezer to save.

Ingredients

leftover turkey

leftover vegetables

leftover mashed sweet potato

water

  • Put 1/2 tsp.  water in each muffin pan cup that you will fill, and then fill each one you wont use 1/3 of the way with water.
  • Put a few bite-size pieces of turkey in bottom of each cup.
  • Add 1 tbsp. leftover vegetables.
  • Cover the vegetables with mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Bake at 350* until warmed through.

Tips

  • Can be frozen. Flash freeze in muffin tins. Pop out and put into gallon size freezer bag. Get out as much air from the bag as you can.

Serving Suggestions

 

Leftover Thanksgiving Fry Pan Meal

This recipe is frugal because it uses leftovers from you Thanksgiving meal. It’s easy enough for an older child to make.

Leftover Potatoes: You will want to make sure that these are warmed when the pan-fried food is done. You can do this in the oven. Sweet potato is a good choice.

Ingredients to put into pan:

coconut oil

turkey, bite size pieces

leftover veggies from the turkey dinner

add-ins you like: sliced onions, crushed garlic cloves, and parsley.

  1. Melt the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the turkey, veggies, and add-ins.
  3. Cook until all is warmed through.
  4. Put on plates.
  5. Take the potatoes out of the oven and spoon them on the plates as well.
  6. Serve.

Tips

  • Try adding roasted squash to the meal as well.

Serving Suggestions

Shannon

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

If you’re lucky you wont need to buy anything extra for this, making it a very frugal meal indeed. Children who can use an oven by themselves will find this easy. Younger children can put the casserole together for you to bake.

To make this recipe even easier, prepare it when cleaning up after the Thanksgiving meal, and pop it in the oven the next day. You could also put it in the freezer.

Ingredients

leftover turkey

leftover vegetables

leftover mashed potatoes (any kind)

water

  • Put 1/4 cup water in a baking dish.
  • Cover the bottom of the baking dish with bite size pieces of turkey.
  • Cover the turkey with leftover vegetables.
  • Cover the vegetables with mashed potatoes.
  • Bake at 350* until warmed through.

Tips

  • Squash could be used in place of the potato.
  • If there are varying tastes, or not enough potatoes to cover the casserole, top 1/3 with regular mashed potatoes, 1/3 with mashed sweet potato, and the last third with squash.

Serving Suggestions

Shannon

Freezer: Using up the Winter Stocks

Since it is the time of the year when we spring clean, I thought it would be nice if we all considered our freezers for a few minutes. Do you have any leftover produce in the freezer? I know that I still have some frozen smoothie packs and berries in the freezer that need to be used. Here are some pointers for using up your winter stores:

* The eggs you purchased on sale and froze will need to be used. Since the yolks had to be broken to freeze, you cannot make boiled or fried eggs with them. You could make other things, though:

  • scrambled eggs
  • french toast with a hearty paleo bread
  • use them when baking

These can be frozen in snack size baggies, then put all the baggies into a quart or gallon size freezer baggie until needed. Freeze them one egg to a snack size baggie, or use bigger bags and freeze more than one  in each.  Take the eggs out of the night before  you need them.

* Use grated zucchini  to make:

  • muffins
  • breads
  • omelets
  • cookies
  • brownies
  • cakes

* Diced apples are great for breads and muffins, brownies, cookies and cakes.

* Sliced apples make great crisps, pies, sauces, and cobblers.

* You can make a great soup from (saved) leftover vegetables, meats, and liquids from cooking the veggies.

* Make smoothies using the smoothie packs you froze during the winter.

Happy eating!

Shannon

Leftover Thanksgiving Soup with a Harvest Salad.

There’s nothing quite like Thanksgiving leftovers. How will you use them up this year? By deciding what leftover dishes you want to make now, you’ll know how big a bird to buy.

This soup is easy and affordable to make.

Ingredients

leftover turkey, cut into bite size pieces

leftover peas

leftover green beans

leftover carrots

vegetable broth, or turkey broth made from the Thanksgiving turkey

  • Place everything in a pot.
  • Cook over med-high heat until all is cooked through.

Tips

  • Use whatever leftover vegetables you have on hand.
  • When taking the turkey off the bone, cut a good amount of the leftover turkey into bite-size pieces. Place these in freezer containers by portion sizes, according to the dishes you want to make. Label, and freeze.

Serving Suggestions

Shannon

Zowie’s Leftover Turkey Sandwich

Zowie, my 17-year-old daughter, has her own favorite turkey day leftover recipe. Today, after eating a full Thanksgiving meal at 4:00, she was ready to make her sandwich at about 7:00.

Ingredients:

leftover turkey

2 slices of bread

leftover mashed potatoes

shredded cheese

mayo

leftover gravy

  1. Shred some turkey.
  2. Place the turkey on a slice of bread.
  3. Spread mashed potato over the turkey.
  4. Add some shredded cheese.
  5. Put the prepared bread, as well as one slice of bread with nothing on it, on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake until cheese is melted.
  7. Remove from the oven, put the topped bread on a plate.
  8. Pour some gravy on the topped bread.
  9. Add mayo to the plain bread.
  10. Enjoy!
  • You can use any condiment that you like for step 9.
  • Zowie eats this as a stand-alone lunch or dinner, but you could have vegetable side dishes with it.
  • Mozzarella cheese is great to use, but it is okay to use other cheeses.

(Update January 2017: This sandwich has used other Thanksgiving leftovers over the years. Also, It can’t really be called healthy. But I want to leave it here as it is an important family memory, and Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches can be quite delicious. Try one sometime. Tell me what you think.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shannon

Quick Tip: What to do with Leftover Taco Meat

I’m a full believer in using up leftovers. It’s one of the most frugal things that we can all do, and will save a noticeable amount of food money throughout the year.

I like to come up with as many ways as I can to reuse each type of food, and today I will be concentrating on leftover taco meat. Here are the ideas that I have come up with:

  • Freeze portions of meat and make a taco dinner.
  • Use it as pizza topping.
  • Add it to pasta or pizza sauce.
  • Use it as filler for fajitas/tortillas.
  • Add it to meatballs.

Can you come up with any other ideas?

Shannon

Soup from Leftovers (Easy-Peasy!)

I love these types of recipes. They give you the opportunity to use up leftovers from the freezer, and may actually be free to prepare. This method of cooking takes minimal preparation. Here is what you do:

Keep containers in the freezer for leftover vegetables (peas, green beans, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.), meats (hamburg, pork, steak, ham, etc.), vegetable water, and homemade stocks or broths. These will later be used for “leftover soup”. I don’t usually separate things too much, putting all vegetables into one container, and all meats into another. This is a great way to freeze small leftover amounts of each type of food.

The morning before you need to make the “leftover soup,” take all the containers out of the freezer and put them into the refrigerator. The next day, it will be easy to start your soup.

If you’ll be using a slow cooker, put the ingredients into the crock, then add water until it is 2/3 full (if necessary). Cook on high for lunch (3-4 hours) and low for dinner (5-6 hours). Add any herbs/spices 20-30 minutes before serving.

You could also cook this on your stove-top, beginning 30-60 minutes before you want to eat, depending on what you put into it. Again, add other items, if you want, 20-30 minutes before serving.

Shannon

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Our mac and cheese recipe has gone through many changes over the years. I’ve kept the original recipe in this post, at the end, but I wanted to share the updated recipe with you as well (as of 9/3/2016). Mind you, I don’t eat mac and cheese, but it is a favorite comfort food for my daughters.

Here are a few notes on the changes I made and why:

  • The original recipe called for a lot of cheese. We’ve experimented and decided it was too much, but this is going to be a taste and consistency preference for each person. Use less and less cheese each time you make the recipe, to decide how much you need.
  • I no longer use wheat pasta. Barilla pasta is good, and it is okay to use gluten-free. I don’t actually eat grains all that often any more, as they are not healthy for me. You’re experience may be different from mine, though, as what is healthy for one person may not be for another.
  • We also cut down drastically on the amount of milk used, realizing that less is better. Then, switched to using water, as I have issues with milk. The recipe still tastes fine. Also, we don’t strain the pasta all the way, just quickly, so there is still some liquid from that.
  • A very important note: Don’t use corn as a vegetable. It is a grain and, if used in this recipe, you’d have two grain servings. For those of us who shouldn’t have grains, this is not good.
  • Adding a little meat to is fine, but there is no need to go overboard.
  • Using one or more vegetables is a good idea. These add-ins boost the nutritional value of a meal, so you should be getting at least two per meal.

Ingredients

2 cups pasta

a little water – maybe less than 1/4 cup

4 ounces of cheese, give or take. Experiment to see what works for you.

1/2 cup precooked, diced chicken

3/4 cup diced tomato

1/8 cup chopped fresh, raw spinach or kale

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions until almost done.
  2. Strain the pasta quickly, and pour back into the pot.
  3. Over low heat, add water and cheese to the pot.
  4. Mix until cheese starts to melt, then add the diced tomato.
  5. Keep mixing until cheese is melted, and the spinach or kale and mix it in, then remove from heat.

Tips

  • Mix it up, see what you come up with. Try different cheeses, meats, and vegetables. You might find a new comfort food that is a little healthier.
  • Use coupons, combined with sales where possible, to save money on ingredients.
  • Try growing your own vegetables to save even more money.
  • Save money by utilizing leftover cheeses, meats, and vegetables.
  • Pack into an insulated thermos to bring to work or school.

Serving Suggestions

 

The Original Recipe

2 cups whole wheat pasta (You can use any pasta you have on hand, even spaghetti or lasagna noodles.)

about 1 cup of skim/reconstituted powdered milk. May need more or less. I mostly judge this by sight.

1/5 of a 32 oz. package of store brand of Velveeta block cheese (Other cheeses can be used as well. Experiment.)

  • Just cook the pasta until almost done.
  • Strain, put back into pan with milk and cubed cheese until cheese is melted.

Shannon