We have a saying in our family, “If you’re not eating turkey a week after Thanksgiving with at least 10 more pounds in the freezer, you didn’t do Thanksgiving properly.”
Rarely do we ever polish off more than a breast and a leg during Thanksgiving dinner, maybe because most of us have spent the day sneaking cheeseballs and olives or maybe perhaps it’s because there’s just not that many of us (8 is the most we’ve ever had around our table.) But a better guess as to why we still have so much leftover turkey is because my mom insists on purchasing the biggest possible turkey no matter how many people are showing up.
Turkey Kong. Minimum? 22 pounds.
Did you know there’s an actual calculator on Butterball.com that will tell you exactly what size of turkey you should prepare? According to my family size (five adults and one child) we should be roasting up an eleven pound turkey (that’s assuming we’re heavy eaters and that we want leftovers.)
However with our 22 pound turkey? We could have four more adults and three more kids over to dinner and still have leftovers. (That’s not an invitation, just a fact…*ahem*)
So if you’re supposed to plan on one to two pounds of turkey per guest what do you do with all that extra turkey? (Because let’s face it, it’s silly not to have leftovers. Turkey sandwiches? NOM NOM.) One of my favorite things that I learned from a restaurant I used to work at was to take a big slice of toasted bread, put on a scoop of stuffing, smear over some mashed potatoes, throw on some turkey chunks and smother the whole thing in gravy. A sort of open faced turkey sandwich of dreams. (This is where I mention that I cannot stand my food touching, CAN NOT STAND IT, but this one sandwich? Once a year? Is the exception.)
I could get into details of what my in-laws produce with leftover turkey but I’m so not okay with it that I’ll leave it to your imagination. (HINT: it involves pineapple.) I will say that there are at least a hundred things to do with leftover turkey, enchiladas, soups, salads, sandwiches, kabobs…endless possibilities. Butterball.com has dozens of things to do with leftover turkey. So let’s move on to the more fun stuff shall we?
Since the turkey is out of the way, let’s talk about the more “traditional” holiday fare.
First of all, to traditional? I say “phooey!”
I don’t like pumpkin pie. Or sweet potatoes. I like cheeseballs and olives. So I’ll be saving my time and money on making a lot less of what not everyone likes. No sense in making enough cranberry sauce to feed Indianapolis if only one member of my family likes it. Also, learning to make things from scratch can sometimes be a lot easier and a lot more budget friendly than buying premade. A big bag of potatoes and a peeler? Way cheaper and tastier than the pre-made variety. Same goes for rolls. And even though I don’t like pie? Other people do and I’d much rather spend time making one with my daughter than simply putting one in my basket at the grocery store.
To me Thanksgiving is just as much about the food as it is about the memories. Honestly you could pile a plate of macaroni and cheese, a tiny turkey breast and a cherry pie in front of me and I’d be just as happy as long as I had my family and friends with me. Even my crazy brother in law. Honestly. The smell of roasting turkey just brings out the best in me.