While day-after Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches with the works are delicious and a seasonal staple as much as the dinner itself, a little variety never hurts. If you aren’t feeling particularly thankful for the bounty of leftovers in your fridge this weekend, here are some ideas.
First thing’s first, and don’t throw away that turkey carcass! Stock is the best way to get your money’s worth from that perfectly roasted bird of yours and extra delicious if there is still a little bit of crispy skin left. Beyond that, all you need is a big pot, cold water, some spices and mire poix (remember we went over mire poix a few articles back? It’s just a fancy sounding French word for chopped onions, carrots, and celery.)
At 7a Foods, Chef Dan Sauer uses Cleveland Farm Turkey for his turkey gumbo, and though I’m not at liberty to give that recipe away (and I don’t know it) gumbo is a delicious, one-pot meal that you can make lots of ways to suit your taste, try it at 7a, where it’s served over rice, for inspiration.
When I asked Dee Smith of A Savory Pie Company about leftover ideas, I was not surprised when she responded with, “you can put anything in a pie crust,” including the whole dinner from turkey to cranberry sauce, which was how she got the idea for her Turkey Dinner Pie. For post-Thanksgiving “lighter fare” (and to make sure all those leftover veggies get eaten) fold your Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, broccoli and green beans into a flaky piecrust.
If you have so many leftover mashed potatoes lingering in the fridge you’re considering letting the kids finger paint with them, (when researching creative ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers “mashed potato finger painting” was an actual suggestion), you could instead shape them into cakes, fry them in butter, and call it boxty, which is a traditional Irish potato pancake made simply with potato, flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and sometimes egg.
Here are some other ideas that should help eliminate that leftover clutter in your fridge before you resort to finger-painting.
Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk (or cream)
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup leftover stuffing
1 cup cooked turkey meat
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Blend in the flour.
Slowly stir in milk, then season with salt and pepper.
Stir sauce over low heat for 5 minutes.
Place the turkey in the prepared baking dish. Pour the sauce over turkey
Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese.
Spread mashed potatoes over cheese.
Top mashed potatoes with the stuffing.
Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven.
*Feel free to experiment with whatever spices you have on hand.
Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Shells
This has been adapted but it originated at A Taste of Home, and I think it is unique and really delicious.
2 large onions, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
21 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon sherry or apple cider
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 cup turkey gravy, warmed
In a large skillet sauté the onions in butter until softened. Add garlic powder and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low cook, stirring occasionally for 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.
Meanwhile, cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain pasta; set aside.
Stir the broth, sherry, thyme and pepper into onions. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is almost evaporated. Remove from the heat. Stir in sweet potatoes and Gorgonzola cheese.
Spoon mixture into shells, place in a greased 11x 7 baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 375° for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with gravy.
Stuffing Dumpling Soup
Another original recipe from A Taste of Home.
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups fresh carrots, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
pinch dried thyme, cumin and cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups leftover stuffing
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1-1/2 cups cut fresh green beans
Sautee mushrooms and onion in oil until tender, add garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Add the broth, carrots and spices, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 5-8 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add the turkey and green beans.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk eggs and flour until smooth. Crumble stuffing over mixture; mix well. If necessary, add water, 1 teaspoon a time, until mixture holds its shape.
Drop stuffing mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls onto simmering soup. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a dumpling comes out clean.