Now that Thanksgiving is over and our leftovers are disappearing… oh, they aren’t?
I see we have a problem. I’ve been talking to many folks just like you who always make a lot of food for Thanksgiving and just get tired of eating it after about the third day. Another plate of turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole just isn’t going to make it past the family again.
My challenge every year is how do I disguise the leftovers? I know I could probably cut down on the amount of food I make each Thanksgiving, but what’s the fun of that? Besides, I’d rather cook once and have meals for a week than cook every day. It’s more economical in the long run, although it takes a bit of imagination to re-create your Thanksgiving dishes into something brand new.
Here are just a couple ways that I have successfully served meals made from leftovers without too much trouble.
Turkey Soup – This, of course, is the simplest way to stretch your turkey dinner without a lot of fuss. I always use my turkey frame, or carcass, to boil up a nice rich batch of turkey stock. I’ve included a recipe to do this if you’d like to click here and see how I turn my turkey bones into soup. Once the stock is ready you can add anything you like normally in your soup, like vegetables, pasta, and rice. If you have leftover veggies from your crudite platter, throw those in, as well.
Creamy Turkey Soup – When the green bean casserole, stuffing, and mashed potatoes get to be too much, throw them all into your food processor with some of the turkey stock you made and blend it up. The result is a very thick and rich base for a cream soup. Mix and match your vegetables just like you would if they were raw, keeping similar vegetables together – like broccoli and cauliflower, carrots and sweet potatoes, etc. When the cooked veggies are all blended nice and smooth, pour into a soup pot. You can add milk or cream if you like, and even some cheese, even throw in a bit of diced turkey for a hearty chowder. It tastes like Thanksgiving In A Pot. If you have leftover pumpkin puree and sweet potato casserole you may want to experiment with a creamy soup that’s a little sweet.
Layered Casserole – Instead of putting plates together over and over again of the same three, four, or five ingredients, try layering them in a casserole dish. Be careful not to overcook when you heat the casserole since everything was cooked once and you don’t want your vegetables to get mushy. If you have a lot of leftover stuffing and gravy, try a dish with layers of stuffing, turkey, gravy, and fresh, frozen, or leftover broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans topped with a little more gravy. This seems to be a favorite in our house.
Quiche – Add a little cheese to any leftovers and you’ll hear no complaints! This is a great way to use up a couple leftovers; stuffing and turkey. The way it works is the stuffing becomes a mock-crust when mixed with a beaten egg. You press the mixture into a pie pan and voila! A crust for your quiche. If you’d like to check out the Thanksgiving Quiche recipe in full, just click here.
Those are a few very simple ideas. Of course, you can get more complicated, but I like to keep it as simple as possible. If you’d like to see even more Holiday recipe ideas click right here. I know the holidays will be busy for you, so please take the time to plan your meals and your leftovers so you have more time to relax with your family.