Use It Up…

One of the earlier Pie from Scratch posts was about making things from scratch… A value that Annie is being taught by her grandparents. As Thanksgiving is approaching, I keep thinking of a little sing-song-y bit of wisdom that Nana always quoted…

Use it up, Wear it out,
Make it do, or Do without.

Another treasure from the Depression Era! The reason I’ve been thinking about it, is because of a phone call from my Uncle the other day. Now, he’s not usually a chat-on-the-phone sort of guy, but he had heard a statistic about Thanksgiving that completely blew his mind. So he called us to see if we could guess the correct number to the following question…

How many pounds of turkey is thrown away after
Thanksgiving Dinner in America each year?

We’re not talking about in restaurants, or leftover turkeys in grocery stores… Just the turkey that’s left after we all sit down to eat. Thrown away.  Any ideas? My answer didn’t even come close.

280,000,000 Pounds.

Somehow that struck me as important when illustrating
a children’s book that focused on old-fashioned values.

I never “picked” a turkey until my first Thanksgiving away from home as a new bride. I’m sure it had been done in my home, but I guess I was oblivious to the clean-up process. (My poor Mother.) For our first Thanksgiving, we invited another Navy couple over for dinner (which was MUCH later than expected, because I also didn’t know it took DAYS to thaw a turkey! That morning included me and Hubby desperately trying to thaw the biggest bird we ever handled in a warm bath tub!) They brought along the wife’s mother and elderly grandmother. After dinner was over, cleaning up was the last thing on my mind, but that Grandma took me in the kitchen and showed me how to pick a turkey! (She even showed me a secret hunk of yummy turkey meat under the bird, with the admonition that “We don’t tell the men about this.”) Before I knew it, I had POUNDS of turkey meat in the fridge waiting for post-Thanksgiving meals. Like Hot Turkey Sandwiches, Turkey Soup, Turkey Stuffing Casserole… You get the idea. AND, she told me to save the carcass, and boil it the next day with some celery, onions, and carrots to make Turkey Stock to freeze!

How did I not know to do that?

I’m guessing, according to that 280,000,000 pounds statistic,
that there must be quiet a few young wives out there that also
do not know how to “use up” every bit of their Thanksgiving Bird.

Sooo…. in the spirit of Annie’s farm grandparents,
who would have “used it up” and not thrown it out…

What do you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

You can post a link in the comments if you have a great recipe!

Here’s one of our favorites…

Leftover Turkey Stuffing Bake

Mix in a large bowl:
2 cups diced, cooked Turkey
2 stalks Celery, chopped
1 small Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup Milk
Seasoning to taste… Salt, Pepper & Mrs. Dash is our choice!

Place mixture in deep casserole dish, and top with 2 cups leftover veggies.
(Peas are our favorite!)

Cover the veggies with Leftover Stuffing and bake at 400° for 25 minutes.

Top with grated Cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes.

This recipe was adapted over the years from a Campbell’s Soup Recipe, as we tried to really use up our leftovers, and also adapt it for our dairy-intolerant family members. The original recipe is yummy too!

2 thoughts on “Use It Up…

  1. I love turkey, and I enjoy the leftovers as much as the original meal! That’s why we always buy a behemoth turkey. We make turkey soup, turkey pot pie, turkey tetrazini, and, of course, turkey sandwiches, cold or hot with gravy. I usually run out of turkey before I run out of menu plans. 🙂

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