Saving money at mealtime is something I enjoy and I doubt that anyone would disagree. Sure, we all like to splurge on the nicer things, but it is always nice to be able to save a few dollars here and there.
And when asked to come up with budget friendly recipe ideas, I already knew with Thanksgiving coming up I would be full of ideas. Pound for pound, turkey is about the biggest value for meat in the market, especially with holiday sales.
I like to make my turkey dollar go a very long way, often buying an extra bird to cut up into a breast with other pieces separated out. I can grind the meat off the thighs for use in recipes such as these:
The breast I can make several ways:
Things like wings and drumsticks hit the smoker, and afterwards I freeze them and will use them later to season recipes such as these:
The bones, of course, I break apart and toss them in a stockpot with mirepoix (carrots, celery and onions) and bay leaves to cook all the goodness out of the bones, reduce the liquid to a manageable amount, and freeze it for later.
And after every Thanksgiving dinner, there is usually leftover stuffing in every single home, And this one might be the hardest one to use up, unless you want a turkey plate repeat, or putting it in a turkey sandwich, or one of those leftover turkey casseroles. Last year, I had tried someone’s recipe for using it in a dumpling soup. It was a big Pinterest fail. The dumplings simply dissolved in the broth. But since then I thought about where their recipe went wrong and fixed all that. My recipe here does work as it has a good binder. And the dumplings are better and more flavorful than I could ever have hoped for, so much that you will want to do this on purpose (even when you have no Thanksgiving leftovers).
Turkey and Dumpling Soup
Serves 6 to 8
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dry rosemary
salt and black pepper to taste
2 quarts turkey broth (can include some leftover turkey gravy- I added about one cup)
1 pound chopped cooked leftover turkey
1/2 cup cold milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups leftover turkey stuffing, chopped (to make sure it separates)
1-1/2 cups Bisquick (or homemade baking mix)
3/4 cup milk
1. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute the onion, carrots, celery and garlic until onions are translucent.
2. Stir in herbs and seasonings (if you don’t have the separate herbs use 1.5 tsp of poultry seasoning), cooking about 20-30 seconds until aromatic.
Add the sauteed vegetables to a soup pot along with chopped turkey, turkey broth (I added all my leftover gravy into this); bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
3. Mix cornstarch into the cold milk to make a slurry, then add to soup, heating until it boils, stirring to thicken, about one minute.
Mix the chopped (I chop it so it wasn’t in uneven lumps) stuffing with the bisquick and milk.
4. Drop dumpling batter into hot soup, then cover and simmer for ten minutes to let the dumplings cook.
Serve soup hot, with dumplings on top.