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.
leftover mashed potatoes (any kind)
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.
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.
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.
leftover turkey, cut into bite size pieces
leftover green beans
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.
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.
Another workweek. Another food prep day. Do I mind spending an entire day each week cooking? Absolutely not! I love to cook. And I have less to do on a day-to-day basis when I do this.
This week was pretty basic, and not overly expensive. Here goes:
I started with a slow cooker meal. This week I made an Autumn Sausage Slow Cooker Meal that came out real well. I love slow cooker meals. They’re so easy to put together, and free up plenty of time for preparing other foods and getting my cleaning done. Then I also have time for writing. The squash I used in this recipe was a freebie from my parents garden. And the cost before taxes for the sausage was $3.75. Take a look at the store’s selection. You may find a more affordable sausage option than what you use already. I did.
I then made the base for my iced tea for the week, Berry-Orange Iced Tea. In a few days I will change the tea bags and replace the old orange slices with new. I just keep refilling the pitcher with water during the week. The tea bags were left over from last winter. The fruit was left over from last week. So I did not pay any more to make this.
Next I made more Chunky Applesauce. This is such a simple recipe. I cook the apples down in water. I don’t add anything else when cooking. When I’m ready to eat the sauce, I add some organic cinnamon. Organic tastes so much better than the stuff I used to buy. The apples were also leftover from last week, so this is essentially another freebie.
And I put together 6 Vegetable Jars. This weeks jars consist of carrots, celery, broccoli, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and a bit of cheese. The carrots were left over from last week. As was the slice of cheese that I broke into 6 pieces.
Plus I had leftover vegetables to have with other meals or as snacks.
After using up all the sandwich meat that comes in the covered containers, I reuse the containers for packing my lunches. I split the food between the containers. I know it does not look like much, but I bring other foods as well.
This all made 6 meals, and I have a few snacks. Not too bad.
So, this is my food from the days work:
6 proportioned out slow cooker meals.
6 vegetable jars.
2 applesauce jars.
A jar of pickled beets.
2 bottles of water. Free from a guest at work. (She actually gave me 8 bottles.) I’ll drink tea at work when I don’t have the water (also free), or the iced tea I made is for when I’m at home.
That is 6 meals and, because my work schedule changed this week, I only need two of them for work. I put three slow cooker meal portions into the freezer. They will be good on my days off.
It’s not likely I will ever get up early enough to make lunches, on mornings I have to go to work. Instead, I tend to spend part of my Sunday afternoons preparing for my first three-day stretch. You see, I work a mixed schedule every week: 8-3, 7-3, 3-10, Thursday off, and then 3-11 Friday and Saturday with Sunday off. Because of this, I like to be prepared for those first few days each week. I bring my 2 lunches and 1 dinner to work with me, and place them in the housekeepers refrigerator. Then I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.
What I Prepared
lemon iced tea
butternut squash and carrot mash
zucchini chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting
As you might imagine, my place smelled amazing all day!
The first thing I did was start the chili. I always make this in a slow cooker. Find the recipe here. I used New York strip steak, ground sausage, ground beef, and turkey smoked sausage as my four-meat combo. I had a coupon for the sausage: Buy 1 get 1 free, and they were on sale at $2.50 each. So I paid $2.50 for both, and only used 1. Good deal!
While my chili was slow cooking, I made some applesauce. The chunky applesauce recipe is here, though you may enjoy an apple-pear sauce instead. For my sauce, I used 2 Red Delicious and 1 Granny Smith. They came in a bag of about 4 each, with some oranges, and were on sale $3.50 when I was at the store the other day. Another good deal!
Once the apples cooked down, I divided the sauce between three containers. I left them uncovered to cool, then covered and placed them in the refrigerator.
While the chili and the applesauce were cooking, I filled a few jars with vegetables. In 1 jar I put cucumber rounds. The other two jars I filled with celery sticks and broccoli that I had leftover from the previous week. You can find more vegetable combination ideas here. With the broccoli and celery being left over from last week, and the cucumber coming from my parents garden, I did not spend any money to make these vegetable jars.
I also made up a few water bottles of lemon-honey water. I keep these on my table, drinking one each morning. My first morning water is always room temperature. Supposedly, this is good for you. Simply place a few slices of lemon in the water bottle, add a teaspoon of honey if desired, and add water. Cover and set aside. A guest at the inn dropped off a couple of lemons at the front desk, indicating they couldn’t bring them across the border. Free for me!
Using the other half of that lemon, I made lemon iced tea. Considering the tea bags were leftovers from the previous winter, I did not really pay anything to make this either.
The butternut squash and carrot mash was easy to make. Because the squash came to me fresh from may parents garden, and the carrots were left over from last week and figured into that budget, I did not spend anything to make this recipe. Another freebie!
The squash and carrot mash was more than enough to cover dinner, 2 work lunches, and a work dinner. Notice how I used the rest of the cucumber for my dinner.
And I had leftovers.
I topped the squash with chili. Look at that healthy dinner! It was delicious. And already my work meals are taken care of. I had more leftovers.
My 2 lunches and 1 dinner for the beginning of my work week. Squash and carrot mash topped with chili, vegetable jars, and applesauce. Yum!
And the leftovers? Enough for dinners at home Monday and Tuesday. I will have some cucumber and zucchini rounds on the side.
Next, I used my moms recipes to make dessert. A chocolate zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting. I know people tote the separating of wet and dry ingredients, then combining them, but I just don’t do that. It would only mean more dishes to wash. I combine everything into one bowl. For the cake recipe, I used zucchini from my parents garden.
And it is easy to mix everything together.
Because I rent a room, I only have a toaster oven for baking. I made small cakes in mini bread pans, and 6 cupcakes.
I frosted these cup/cakes with the homemade cream cheese frosting, and I kept just a couple small pieces of cake for myself. The rest I gave away to people at work.
As you can see, I had a very busy day of cooking. I also cleaned and did the fall decorating. I was one busy lady.
NOTE: (January 2017) While I am eating much healthier these days, and this blog is going to be reflecting that, I am not above having something sweet once-in-a-while, especially a family favorite such as this cake. I make it once a year.
Every so often you will see a recipe that is not healthy but, for the most part, this blog is now going to be about eating as healthy as possible on a budget,
Vegetable jars are so easy to make. You’re simply filling small canning jars with raw vegetables, covering, and storing in the refrigerator until they are ready to use. The produce will last for most of the week this way. They can easily be grabbed as a component to a work or school lunch.
Some vegetable ideas for jars
Celery sticks, broccoli, and carrot sticks
Cucumber, zucchini, and yellow squash
Carrots, broccoli, pod beans
Pod peas, carrots, and cucumber
Pod peas, pod beans, and yellow squash
Cherry tomatoes, snow pod peas, and carrots
Grape tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumber
As you can see, there are plenty of combinations to choose from.
What other vegetable combinations can you come up with? Let us know in the comments.