Getting Ready to Cook for the Holidays
Before you head to the grocery store get out every recipe of any item you will be making in the next week and make sure you have all you need. Need brown sugar – check the panty – those seldom used baking items can be missing from your pantry or be so rock hard from the last time you used it. The more trips you make to the store – the more you spend! And have you noticed all the great prices on turkeys? Stock up on turkeys!16-20 pound turkeys may cost as little $5 each, or even free, this time of year. By freezing left-over’s for soups, sandwiches, and casseroles, a twenty pound turkey can feed a family of four for about 10-12 meals. There may be a limit on the best turkey deals, so be sure to stock up on the limit. For a family of four, I would recommend four turkeys. You’ll cook one for Thanksgiving. The rest can be stored in your freezer for weeks and months ahead. If you keep your freezer at zero degrees or below, you can keep whole frozen turkeys for up to one year without too much loss of quality. But you’ll most likely be using them over the next few months. And in reality, they are better if used with-in six months.
When you cook your first turkey for Thanksgiving, you will most likely have meat left over. Here are some ideas of what to do with left over turkey:
Soup – After removing most of the meat from the carcass, I simmer the carcass in a large stock pot. I freeze the broth for making soup at a later date.
Sandwiches – I slice the breast meat and freeze it in resalable freezer bags. I portion out into each package about what I think my family will use over the course of a few days for sandwiches.
Casseroles – I freeze individual portions of meat in quantities for casseroles. I make packages of 2 cups and 4 cups, and mark them with a permanent marker accordingly. Now they are recipe ready.
If you freeze the turkey in individual cooking pouches for use later, your family won’t feel like you have turkey for every meal. You can use the turkey once or twice a week, and use other meats for other days of the week.