I believe I cover this every year when I post our annual ‘what do I do with the last of the leftover turkey scraps?’ recipe video, but let’s go over it one more time. There are three things that make for a great leftover turkey recipe; it’s delicious, easy to make, and most importantly, doesn’t remind you of the thing you’ve been eating for the last few days. This gorgeous turkey chili mac is… to read the rest of Chef John’s article about this Turkey Chili Mac recipe, please follow this link to become a member.)
Follow this link to get a complete, printable written recipe for Turkey Chili Mac!
And, as always, enjoy!
If you want more information about why the blog format has changed, and why we’re now offering complete written recipes, please read all about that here.
It’s hard to know exactly what to do with leftover Turkey after Thanksgiving. I’ve made soups, dumplings, and a few other things in the past. This time though, I thought I would try my hand at making a sort of stew. It was surprisingly cold here on Thanksgiving this year, which is pretty strange. The past few years, we’ve had a super sunny Thanksgiving with a high of something near 80 degrees.
This year, we were in the 50’s, it was over cast, and misty. Normally I would say it was a ‘yucky’ day, but I always enjoy cool weather on the holidays that keeps everyone indoors and cozied up together. You know, encourages us to spend family time together. With it being chilly, I thought a stick-to-the-ribs hearty stew would be the best option for turkey usage!
What to do with that leftover ham? This is a great problem to have. Ham is so useful for now or for later. Let’s review a few great options.
I will be talking about a store bought precooked ham. They might be refrigerated sealed at the store, and they might be spiral cut. If you have a different type of ham, I have provided some links with options for most other types of hams.
Before we proceed, please be sure we are dealing with safe leftovers. If it was left in that temperature range for more than 2 hours, it should be considered contaminated and decarded.
The ham should have been properly thawed if frozen and stored refrigerated under 40 degrees. And have not spent more than two hours in the food danger zone of 40 and 140 °F during serving. See Summer Food Safety for a more detailed discussion.
How to Store Leftover Ham
The first option is the refrigerator. Generally, ham can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, but it can vary some by the type of ham. Please see the FoodSafety.gov Ham Storage Chart for details if you have something other than a store bought precooked ham.
Can You Freeze Ham?
There are those old wise tails that you can not freeze ham. They are so wrong. Ham and ham bones both freeze great.
If I know that I’m freezing some of the ham for later, I do that part of the ham as soon as possible. I seal it well, and if it is a large amount, I divide it into smaller units.
Most ham that you and I are dealing with are good for 1-2 months frozen. Again there is some variability by type of ham. Please see the FoodSafety.gov Ham Storage Chart for details.
To thaw your ham after it’s been frozen allow it to defrost in the refrigerator. Depending on the size, it should thaw in about 24 to 48 hours.
Don’t forget you can also freeze the ham bone.
Our Favorite Leftover Ham Recipe
We always buy too much ham just to have this later. Great comfort food.
Old Fashion Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
Old fashioned scalloped potatoes and ham, an excellent recipe for an everyday meal or potluck dinner. One of my favorite comfort foods that is easily made from scratch. With these easy to follow step by step photo instructions to get it perfect the first time and every time.
Check out our recipe Add to Saved RecipesGo to Saved Recipes
What to Do With A Ham Bone?
There is not much you can do with a ham bone other than soup. But it is a great option since the broth is just wonderful.
From a “cooking for two” viewpoint, these recipes are just too big unless you have freezer space. If you do, these are great options. If you don’t have freezer space, give the ham bone to a friend.
What to Do with Left Over Turkey?
Ok, a special Easter bonus. Not everybody had ham.
The Easter Bunny is in trouble… “Give up the ham or we eat the bunnies.”