Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner: Reduced, Reused & Recycled

Since I recently finished part 5, Stewardship in the Kitchen: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle, I thought I'd share our post Thanksgiving example.

Since our big boys and Grandpa were not able to come home and we were not sure Mr.B would have the day off, I didn't invite any of our neighbors or others from our community to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. As a result this year's Thanksgiving celebration was small and intimate thus, I kept our meal small in comparison to past festivities.  We enjoyed roasted chicken w/ dressing & gravy, buttered green beans, cob corn, sweet potato casserole, jellied cranberries, chocolate cream pie and pumpkin pie.

Reusing and recycling was not limited to just the leftover foods.  This year's Thanksgiving dinner had elements of food recycling.  I NEVER purchase bags of stuffing mix, bread crumbs or croutons.  Instead, I freeze any stale bread, ends of bread or leftover bread in a freezer bag and use it for dressing/stuffing, bread crumbs, bread puddings and croutons.  This year I used a combination of white and wheat breads from my freezer bag to make the dressing and we all enjoyed it very much.

Although not enough to feed us for a week, we did have some leftovers of each food item served.  As I was putting the food away yesterday afternoon, I considered how to get the most out of the leftovers.  I chose to reuse the chicken, gravy and dressing in a chicken & broccoli bake served with sides of the remaining green beans and sweet potato casserole.  I will remove the corn from the cob and use it in a corn & black bean tortilla soup later in the week.  The remaining jellied cranberries will be added to breakfast fruit smoothies.  Mr.B finished the remaining chocolate pie before leaving for work this afternoon and the pumpkin pie will be a nice sweet treat tomorrow evening.  I placed the chicken carcass, the innards packet and fat in my crock pot with a carrot, a small onion and two stalks celery.  This morning I strained out the chicken parts & vegetables and found I had a little more than 2 quarts of homemade chicken broth.  Nothing will go to waste - the strained fat solids and vegetables will be fed to our chickens.

Here's my recipe for the

Chicken & Broccoli Bake

2 c. cooked and de-boned chicken or turkey
1 pound chopped frozen or fresh broccoli
1 1/2 c. chicken or turkey gravy (may substitute or add cream soup to make measure)
2 -3 c. prepared moist dressing (add small amount of water or chicken stock to moisten if necessary)
salt & pepper to taste

Combine chicken, broccoli and gravy.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Pour into a greased casserole and spread dressing over top of chicken mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until hot, bubbly and top is lightly browned.
6-8 servings

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