Leftovers, or ‘It Tasted So Nice, We’ll Eat This Twice’

The Thanksgiving feast is one of the best meals we will eat all year long: a celebration with family and friends, a feast of gratitude [that’s why it’s called thanks-giving, silly], an observance of the bounty of the harvest, and a great showcase for your mad culinary skills.

Perhaps even better, though, is the celebration the next day, of the bounty of the leftovers. Some of us could eat turkey-and-mayo sandwiches everyday and still be pleased.  But, thanks to our own Amy Jensen, known to our friends as “Chef Amy,” we have some additional ideas for jazzing up the remainders of the feast.

Amy says:

Take leftover turkey scraps + gravy + extra biscuits, and you have an easy Biscuits and Gravy. Bonus points if you add some sausage stuffing, if you have it.  Makes a great post-Thanksgiving breakfast before you head out to shop. This one’s pretty easy to compile.

Have extra biscuits and extra Pumpkin Pie Spice, or Apple Pie Spice? Make Sweet Spiced Butter with warm biscuits. Let 1/2 Cup [1 stick] of butter come to room temp, and blend with pumpkin or apple pie spices. Spread a little of the butter on the warmed-up biscuit.

Mashed potatoes + ham leftovers + green/yellow onions +cream/milk  —> Potato Soup! Melt a little butter in a heavy pan, and saute the minced onion until translucent and soft, about 10 min. Add the leftover mashed potatoes, warm over low heat, adding milk or cream. When warmed through, either put in a food processor or use an immersion blender, process till you reach the desired consistency. Add ham bits, top with cheddar (and bacon – always bacon).

Sweet Potato Soup– Same idea as the [mashed] Potato Soup, above. Use extra cream, sweet potatoes, cinnamon, brown sugar, and counterbalance the sweet with a little cayenne pepper and salt.

Turkey Pot Pie – use our Chicken Pot Pie with Herbed Crust recipe, and substitute leftover turkey, minced into bites, for the chicken.

Turkey + cranberries or cranberry relish + cheddar jack cheese + tortillas, + onions —> You’ve got yourself some Cranberry- Jack Quesadillas. If you like you could also do a jalapeno/cranberry salsa, adding a can of diced green chiles or a sprinkle of jalapeno chile to yesterday’s cranberry dish.

Take a little egg, milk and flour, and turn mashed potatoes into Potato Pancakes.

Put leftover pumpkin pie filling to new purpose as —> Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. Use a cinnamon roll recipe that calls for mashed or instant potatoes, and substitute partial amount with pumpkin filling. It’ll taste even better if you also add pumpkin pie spice into the cinnamon/brown sugar mix.

Leftover, even stale, cornbread, French bread, rolls, biscuits, croissants and/or pastries find new life as Bread Pudding.

Yesterday’s turkey —-> this weekend’s Turkey and dumplings? Turkey enchilladas? Turkey and noodles?

Our sister-in-law’s family makes a delicious broth from the otherwise unusable turkey carcass [really!]. She takes all the remaining meat off the turkey, and then throws the bones into a giant stock pot with a couple stalks of celery and a couple quartered onions. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour or two. While it simmers, add some Rubbed Sage, Marjoram, Thyme, and/or Rosemary.  Let the stock cool awhile, then strain into a clean pan or storage container. Serve as a clear broth, or add your favorite soup vegetables [and more leftover turkey!]. Our sister-in-law calls this “Carcass Soup,” but we’re sure you can come up with a more dainty name. It’s really delicious, whatever you call it.

Finally, at the end of the long weekend with family and friends, when the kitchen is finally tidied up, and the bits of snacks and leftovers are polished away, pull up a comfortable chair. Put your feet up on the coffee table, and grab a mug of the leftover Mulled Cider. How do you creatively re-purpose this leftover? Spike it, of course, with the alcohol of your choice.

What do you like to do with Thanksgiving leftovers? If you have a favorite recipe or technique, please let us know in the comments!