When my friend Eliza skyped me yesterday morning the first thing she said was, "It looks like your kitchen exploded!"
Well. It did. Wow have we been working hard. At this writing, within two days time I've:
* cooked down a pumpkin and got enough puree for 6 pies, including the one I made yesterday
* made and canned apple butter, and used it to made the above mentioned pumpkin apple butter pie
* made one more small pot of tomato sauce with the final dregs of the 'maters
* trimmed and ground most of the meat from one of our $0.19/lbs turkeys ... then I fried it all up in a pan. We ended up with 7 one-pound bags of already cooked "nacho meat" (mexically seasoned turkey with onions and peppers). We'll freeze the nacho meat and will have super quick dinners later on. Plus we had enough meat for tacos last nite.
* made and canned turkey stock
* ended up with about 3 bags of turkey meat for the cats, one bag of better bits for us, and a big ol' bowl of turkey salad for the next couple days.
* made and canned yet another round of pear sauce
* made soup - pasta y fagoli - almost everything from our yard (except the macaroni)
* and made bread
It was a lot of work but totally worth it, especially since most of the food was free. Except for our $4 turkey and the spices, of course. We prefer our own home-raised meat and normally wouldn't have purchased a turkey. But the sale was just too good to pass up. A 22 pound turkey gave us tons of food that we can use for lots of meals - even if it was factory raised and chock full of injected weird stuff. It's still a great food value.
I know that lots of families are having a hard time financially. But don't buy into the hype that you can't feed your family anything but what's on the dollar menu. Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and make the system work for you. See a sale like this? Load up the cart, baby and get to work.
Taking advantage of these kinds of big ticket item sales, making friends with folks who either let us gleen from their crops, or just plain ol' growing our own food and not letting anything go to waste is how we are making it work in The Good Land.
We used one of the turkeys last week. Twice we had roast turkey breast for supper then I made stock, and canned the left over meat. That was a $3.88 well spent. I dare you to find that kind of value from somewhere that you yell into a clown to place an order for "food."
When I tell folks about the great turkey sale most people think to get one and put it in the freezer to use for Thanksgiving. Of course you know that I'm a big fan of parting turkeys up, especially with just the two of us. I'm not even particularly sold on having a roasted turkey for a family. It takes forever to roast a bird that big and I think at some point you get sick of the leftovers. So we load up the grocery cart (limit 3 plus a $10 additional purchase at our local Giant Eagle grocery store) and get a years worth of turkey on the cheap.
Our price paid for 3 huge, 20+ lbs turkeys:
You can't even get a package of ground turkey for that little. So its totally worth it. Grab your crock pots, stock pots, Kitchenaide Mixer's Grinder's attachment, some freezer bags and lets save some money! Ready?
Here's an easy way to part up a $4 turkey and really get your money's worth:
* Cut off the breasts, you can roast them at 400*-ish for about 45 minutes for a quick "hands free" dinner. If you are ambitious you can add some taters and carrots in the pan, or top with bacon, or coat with BBQ sauce...or any combination of the above. If you're feeling Thanksgiving-ish you can put dressing in the bottom of the pan, breast on top and voila. Easy peasy and a quick cooking time. For the two of us, its dinner and sandwiches for a couple days.
* Put the legs-n-thighs in the crock pot, fill with cold water and you'll get nicely braised meat to be canned (or frozen) later. And the stock from adding water. Technically I think you can cook turkey in a crock pot without water, but why not get stock while you are at it? You know all those cans of chicken stock you buy? HA! After you get some of this "home brewed stock" you'll never waste money on buying another can.
Cut off the breasts and as much thigh meat as you can (not the legs because they have weird little bones in them that are hard to cut out), remove the skin, and grind the meat. Quick and easy and now the world is your turkey meatball (or oyster or whatever). We have meatball day and make up a ton of them, freeze, and there you have it. A dinner made in just 7 minutes of standing up time.
* Make stock with the rest of it - don't forget that weird bag of giblets and things. Just break open the bag and toss them in the stockpot after you've filled it with water. I have an extremely reliable old stove so I let mine simmer over nite. DO NOT BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN. I trust my stove with my life (literally) so make sure you know what you're is capable of before attempting this "extreme chef" move. When its done, the stock gets canned in the pressure canner... but for years I just portioned it up and froze it. You can freeze it easily in gallon bags, freeze flat, and there you have it. Together with a bag of turkey meat, you're minutes from turkey pot pie.
* After you make the stock, pick thru the meat and take out the best bits for you and then start a second pile for your pets (no bones). Can or freeze for later use.
We use the meat for all kinds of things - turkey pot pie, enchiladas, turkey salad, in pasta sauce etc. Turkey really is as versatile of chicken. So take advantage of your local grocery store turkey price wars and stock up!
Or if anything, contact your local church, shelter, or food pantry and ask if they will accept frozen turkeys as donations. At $4 you can afford to spread the turkey love to someone who needs a little help.
Happy Turkey-ing everyone!