a peek inside the fishbowl

11 Oct, 2016

Using up leftovers

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food

As I stirred a spoonful of cranberry sauce into my plain yogurt this morning it occurred to me that I am a bit of a nutbar as it pertains to using up leftovers. I really hate food waste. I mean – I REALLY hate food waste –  and so I will do everything I can do to use it all up.

There are, of course, a number of ways to do this:

  • Make less to begin with. I went overboard for Thanksgiving, but I usually don’t make massive dinners. I am usually pretty good at making the right amount, so there isn’t a lot left over.
  • Choose dishes that easily convert into other meals when faced with leftovers. For example, pulled pork is excellent for this. On day one we’ll have pulled pork sandwiches. Day two, we’ll have pulled pork tacos. And if there’s a day three, I use the rest to top a pizza.
  • Make use of the backyard composter. This doesn’t apply to leftover meat, cheese, or dairy, but a head of wilted lettuce or sad celery will eventually make some nice soil for my flower pots next spring. In my mind, this makes it less of a loss, knowing I’ll be using it.

So what about that Thanksgiving turkey? Well, we had it TWICE yesterday – in different formats. Mark used up some leftover gravy and made a hot turkey sandwich. I opted out of the gravy and made my own sandwich (yes, there is stuffing in that sandwich):

October 10 #dailylunches - the inevitable post-Thanksgiving lunch

Last night we just had a second turkey dinner. I ate up the rest of the glazed carrots and the stuffing (as well as the turkey) and some cabbage and salad. Everyone else had variations of this. The carcass will be dumped in a pot of water today to make soup for dinner. The leftover meat might go into this curry (it’s my favourite way of using up leftover turkey!) although my eldest has asked me to make butter chicken, er, butter turkey. I picked up a jar of Farm Boy sauce for this and will serve it with rice.

I’d love to hear how YOU use up leftover turkey in your house!

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3 Responses to "Using up leftovers"

1 | Krista

October 12th, 2016 at 7:29 am


There is a wonderful book by Tamar Adler called “The Everlasting meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace” that talks a lot about how the ending of one meal is always the beginning of the next.

2 | andrea tomkins

October 12th, 2016 at 7:42 am


I will look that one up. Thanks for the recommendation Krista!

3 | Lisa from Iroquois

October 18th, 2016 at 2:28 pm


We are a small household of two so I had the butcher cut our turkey in half. It still took several meals to get through it all and the bones are waiting in the freezer for soup season. All I have left over is a bit of gravy for which I made biscuits this afternoon. I’m thinking turkey gravy and biscuits with a salad for supper. The only other creative idea I had for turkey this year was making some of it into quesadillas. Yummy. Otherwise it was mostly sandwiches.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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