You’ve just finished that big holiday meal and have discovered you cooked more food than what was actually needed; now you’re wondering what to do with all those leftovers. Well, Vancouver physician, Dr. Ali Ghahary, has all the answers you’re looking for!
Turkey is a staple in many households across Canada over the holidays. Not only does it feed plenty, but it’s also a great source of protein, energy-producing vitamin B6, and the serotonin-generating/immune-boosting amino acid known as tryptophan. Turkey is also lower in fat compared to other meats (i.e. ham, which is also commonly included in Christmas meals – though it is high in sodium.)
If you’re left with too much turkey, don’t worry! It doesn’t have to go in the garbage. If you happened to have friends, neighbours or out-of-town guests over, one easy way to ensure food doesn’t go to waste is to send them home with leftovers. Cooked turkey can last anywhere from 3 to 4 days if refrigerated, and 2 to 3 months if kept in the freezer. Similarly, many holiday side dishes (i.e. vegetables, cranberries, etc.) also last anywhere from 3 to 5 days if kept refrigerated.
If handing out leftovers to guests still doesn’t get rid of all that turkey, you can also turn it into soup! Just be sure to save the carcass, as this helps add more flavour. Then, simply add your favourite vegetables (i.e. chopped celery, carrots, onion, peas) along with poultry seasoning, chicken broth, along with a dash of salt and pepper in a large, deep pot. Bring it to a boil (you may need to add some water) over medium-high heat simmer for approximately 1.5 hours, remove any carcass and bones, and you’ll have a delicious pot of homemade turkey soup. Depending on the amount of leftover turkey you had, it can make enough to last you for 1 month if kept frozen. This also makes for an easy-to-grab meal if you’re on the go or need a quick lunch/dinner that involves only 1 to 2 minutes of thawing in the microwave, and very little clean-up time is required.
You can also turn that turkey and leftover vegetables into a healthy casserole. You can even add in a sliced apple for some extra nutritional value, and mix in some vegetable stock (or chicken broth – it’s all about personal preference), mustard and a dash of honey to give it both a sweet and tangy taste.
Gone are the days of plain garden or Caesar salads, too. Nowadays you can add just about anything to those leafy, green vegetables – including fruit, chicken, and yes, even turkey! Simply toss it with iceberg lettuce (or any other lettuce of your choice), add in some cranberries, and lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
If you have lots of leftover vegetables, you can also include them in your breakfasts. Dr. Ali Ghahary previously pointed out the health benefits of eating eggs and the many different ways in which eggs can be prepared, including breakfast omelettes. Well, you can kick those omelettes up a notch by adding in vegetables. It’s pretty hassle-free, and you can’t really go wrong because whatever vegetables you choose to add to your omelette will taste great.