What to Do with All that Leftover Turkey and Ham

photo credit: tuchodi via photopin cc

I love being in my own home on Christmas, having a meal for my family and all the leftovers that entails. Although the initial cost of the meal can be quite high, we usually can eat on the leftovers for a long time, if we plan appropriately. This year, we made ham and turkey. I’m going to share what we’re doing with our leftovers. I hope they help you and give you some ideas as well.

How Long Does Turkey Keep and How Long Does Ham Keep?

There are quite a few schools of thought on how long turkey and ham are safe to keep in your fridge. A conservative estimate is 3-4 days for turkey and 5-7 days for ham. I tend to err on the side of caution, since the last thing I want is a bout of food poisoning for me or my family.

What We’re Doing with Turkey Leftovers and Ham Leftovers

We are a family of four, and we have a ton of leftovers, so we’ll do several things. I’m going to offer a day-by-day plan.

Day 1

Christmas dinner. Everything is warm, fresh and delicious, especially since we typically do low carb these days. Christmas was the one day that we allowed ourselves to have all those treats we don’t normally have.

Day 2

I am tired from cooking. Everyone can eat leftovers and like it. They loved it, by the way.

Day 3

Sandwiches and finish up sides. Still no cooking for me. Wooohooo!

Day 4

Everyone is sick of leftovers and we need to start freezing and prepping things or they will go bad. Turkey goes bad before ham, so I will take the drumsticks, which no one in my family eats and make a turkey stock. I will then add some bits of turkey. Half of this will be set aside for eating and half for freezing for a later time and a quick meal later on. I will also cook some Dreamfield’s pasta noodles (low carb) to throw into the soup we are eating tonight. I don’t put it in the soup I’m freezing because pasta gets weird when you freeze it, especially Dreamfield’s.

Day 5 and Day 6

Time to turn to the ham. There are several things that can be done with ham. If you are not eating a low-carb diet, you can make a ham and cheese casserole, wrap ham and cheese in croissants for a fresh take on a hot sandwich, or make ham salad.

If you are low-carbing like it, then try:

  • Chicken Cordon Bleu – Flatten out chicken breasts, wrap them around ham and cheese and roll in a low carb outer crust. I like to use crushed pecans to make a crust. Delicious!
  • Breakfast casserole with eggs, ham, cheese, onions and green peppers. Note that most casseroles like this call for bread or hashbrowns on the bottom. Just leave them out to keep it low carb. If you are just restricting some carbs, you could also use high fiber bread.

There is still a ton of ham left and we are sick of it, so I will freeze it into packets of a few slices each. These will be used to add later to omelletes, casseroles and to soups for flavoring. Ham will keep up to six months if frozen properly.

A Week of Leftovers

So, there you have it. A lot of cooking on one day but a week’s worth of leftovers plus a meal of turkey soup in the freezer and some ham bits for other recipes. Not a bad investment of time and my family enjoyed the Christmas meal so much that I might do this more and more often.


Crabby Housewife

AuthorCrabby Housewife

Lori is a full-time housewife and writer, living in the Midwest with her husband of 27 years - they have two daughters. They have a house full of pets and her house is never quite perfect.