Friday, September 23, 2016

PUTTING FOOD BY - Turkey and Noodles

I love this picture. While the storage itself is not practical for home-use, can you imagine having that kind of a stock-up and never having to worry about any of it going bad? Yeah.. not going to happen.

I am learning to keep 'freezer' stuff to a minimum. I mean, if the power were to go out for any length of time, I would be cooking like a mad woman - then trying to figure out how to preserve what I'd cooked, or feeding the neighbors. 

In the grand scheme of preservation, the freezer is not our optimal food storage. So explain to me why I have an entire hog in my freezer downstairs LOL. Some of that will convert to canning jars this winter.

In the mean time, I've also learned how to best freeze foods for long-term storage and avoiding freezer burn. My foodsaver is my best friend - both for freezing and for dry jar storage.

Thanksgiving leftovers are a cook's nightmare. Not mine. I learned many things at an early age and one of those was how to convert leftovers into amazing meals. One of which is Turkey and Noodles.

I started by removing the meat from the carcass. First I sliced off all that I could for hot turkey sandwiches. This is usually good for a couple of meals.  The rest became shredded pieces. This is about 1/3 of a 6 quart metal mixing bowl.

I made a batch of egg noodles using 1 dozen large eggs, 1 Tablespoon of Salt and enough flour to make a workable dough.

I like noodles with some texture so I only roll my dough to about 1/4" thick. My mom always rolled her dough into a cylinder as if she were cutting cinnamon rolls and sliced her noodles off in 1/2" strips. I just take a pizza wheel to my flattened dough. they are 'home style'.

The noodles are placed into a bowl and tossed with a bit of flour to keep them from sticking to one another.

Bring a large 6 qt. pan of chicken stock to a boil. Once the broth is at a rolling boil, drop the egg noodles a few at a time into the broth and stir to keep them from sticking together. Continue to boil until they are no longer doughy. I usually do not add the meat until the noodles are almost done. This gives me more room in the pan for stirring the noodles. 

Once the turkey and noodles were done, I divided them into 8" round cake pans (you can use square or even a 9x13 if you are feeding a family of 4 or larger). An 8" cake pan is the perfect meal size for two people. Place them in the freezer uncovered, to freeze.

Once the pans are frozen solid, they will pack nicely into Foodsaver bags without worrying about juice squeezing out the top and the bags will conform to the shape. 

Nothing says comfort on a cold winter afternoon then a bowl of homemade turkey and noodles. You can do this same process with chicken or beef, too. If you want to add the vegetables in, like peas or carrots, at the time of cooking that will save you a step in heating up a vegetable side when you serve  up a bowl. Since my husband does not like vegies, I bypass these ingredients and heat up our individual favorites (he'll eat mushy canned peas or green beans) when I fix the meal. 

Now... I did mention the disadvantage to freezer usage at the beginning of this article. One of the things I'll be trying this fall is Pressure Canning. I've never used one before but I do know that when it comes to meat/ broths, pressure canning will expand my preservation options and keep me from relying on the freezer quite as much. I'm off to buy one tomorrow and will let you know how that part of this prepper journey goes. 

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