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Frugal Holiday Leftover Recipes

When raised frugally, you simply CAN'T throw out leftovers. My granddaughter, Lily Kate, states she will even eat these tidbits for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So for all of us frugal folk, an excellent leftover HAM or TURKEY dish is worth sharing. Here are two of my family favorites for your 2022 celebrations. Enjoy, dear frugal friends!

TURKEY TETRAZZINI 5 to 6 servings

This easy-to-make recipe comes from my favorite cookbook, The I Hate to Cookbook. As the author, Peg Bracken, states: "This isn't exactly a lead-pipe cinch, because you have to make the cream sauce; but if you ever have to have company the day after Thanksgiving, you'll thank me for it."

1/2 pound uncooked spaghetti

1/4 pound fresh mushrooms or 2 small cans of mushrooms, drained

5 tablespoons of butter

1/3 cup flour

2 cups turkey or chicken broth

1 cup cream (don't skimp here, please--makes a huge difference)

salt, pepper

2 tablespoons sherry

2 cups diced turkey

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

First, you cook the spaghetti the way the package tells you to. Now slice the mushrooms (if fresh) and saute the fresh or canned mushrooms in a tablespoon of the butter till they're light brown.

Then you make the cream sauce. Blend four tablespoons of butter with the flour in the top of a double boiler. Use a heavy saucepan if you don't have a double boiler. Add the turkey or chicken broth, and cook it, stirring till it's smooth and thick. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and sherry.

Now divide the sauce in half. In one half, put the turkey meat, and put the mushrooms and cooked spaghetti in the other half. (This really does make a difference.)

Put the spaghetti-mushroom half in a greased casserole and make a hole in it. Into the hole, pour the turkey half. Top it with Parmesan cheese and bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for twenty minutes. Delicious!


This recipe came from a casserole cookbook, but I've made a few changes.

2 cups cubed peeled potatoes

1 large carrot, sliced

2 celery ribs, chopped

3 cups water

2 cups cubed fully cooked ham

2 tablespoons chopped green pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

7 tablespoons butter, divided

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour

1 and 1/2 cups milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup regular bread crumbs or gluten-free bread crumbs

Bring the potatoes, carrots, celery, and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat; cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. (I know this seems like an extra nonessential step, but it is the key to this casserole's good taste and texture.)

In a large skillet, saute the ham, green pepper, and onion in 3 tablespoons of butter until tender. Add to the potato mixture. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish.

In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened. Reduce heat; add cheese and stir until melted. Pour over the ham mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Happy Holidays!

“For this reason, I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing?


Martha Wild King, M.Ed., Author

The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.

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