Repurpose Your Stockpile: Leftover Meat

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I always seem to have leftover meat, especially after big family meals, like Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And two days later, my family is tired of eating it.  So, what to do with it all?  I’ve found new ways to use it, from beef hash to turkey croquettes, but still, I have leftovers.  After all the other dishes have been exhausted, I break out my food processor and go to town.

Every meat, from ham, to poultry, to beef, can be made into sandwich spread.  I’m not talking about the pink stuff you get at the supermarket, which has who knows what in it.  This is a healthy, tasty spread that you can put in sandwiches, on crackers, or even stuff a celery rib with for a quick snack.

First, let’s look at how to prepare the meat.  Trim all the fat off that you can, remove the skin, and any seasonings such as lemons, peppercorns, etc.  They don’t taste very good in the spread.  Cut the meat into manageable chunks, about 2 inches by 2 inches, or whatever your food processor can handle easily.  Drop it in the processor, and when your bowl is sufficiently full, pulse until the meat is a uniform size.  Continue processing until all the meat is complete.

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At this point, you can freeze the meat in your favorite containers, or make spread.  Or, if you are like me, you have so much meat that you can do both!  Label the meat appropriately, including the date, and freeze the meat you want to save for later.  When you’d like to make some spread, take out the amount you’d like, let it thaw in the fridge for about an hour then mix in your mayo and seasonings.

With the meat you want to use right away, place it in a bowl.  I usually make my spread  with mayonnaise, but I’ve also made it with cream cheese mixed with just a bit of sour cream.  Start with just a little mayo or cream cheese mixture.  Once you’ve added too much, you can’t go back.  Keep adding mayo and stirring in until you get the consistency that you like. Depending on the meat, I adjust my seasonings.  I love to add a bit of relish to ham and turkey, and onions to beef and chicken, but add what your family enjoys.

Why buy mystery spreads in the store when you can easily make your own?  And the added convenience of freezing pre-ground meat for later makes this a great way to use up leftovers and spread out a meal.  Next time you’re going to make a roast, ham, or bird, buy one just a little bit bigger than you need and fill your freezer!

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