Here is another post that was saved from draft purgatory, and because there’s nothing “so 2015” about it, maybe I didn’t even need to admit that! But, I wrote it last year and I’m coming clean about the fact that this has been on the schedule since I found it buried in my drafts in June.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating with family and good friends….and food. I don’t expect to post again this week so I thought I would leave you with a few suggestions for your turkey day leftovers.
Thanksgiving food isn’t my favorite, but I despise wasting food so I make sure that all of it gets eaten. I can do the traditional turkey dinner meal once, and then a total of one Thanksgiving sandwich the following day. After that I really need to rework the leftovers into completely different dishes so they’re palatable. I’ve listed several of my favorite recipes below and my modifications for using up the usual Thanksgiving suspects.
So, the first option is what my MIL does: deep-fried turkey bites (aka turkey nuggets). I find them ridiculously redneck and ridiculously delicious. Sometimes I can coax her into deep frying little balls of mashed potatoes on the side. And then I begin a juice cleanse post haste.
2. Mashed potatoes.
Wait. You have leftover mashed potatoes? That is not a thing that I am familiar with. But should you find yourself in that predicament, I have a few suggestions for you.
First up, latkes. I’ve linked to a pretty basic recipe; you could add scallions and soy sauce for a more Asian flair, or add in bits of ham, pork or salmon for something very eastern European. The best latkes are made from shredded potatoes, but these aren’t half bad either.
My second suggestion is a riff on what my family calls Colcannon (or Potatoes Colcannon) and is similar to a Dutch stamppot. You use the mashed potatoes as a base for meat and vegetable leftovers – a great comparison is a fried rice dish. Colcannon is far and away my favorite way to use up leftovers, especially in the winter time. Growing up we would each customize our own bowls, and because this takes zero additional cooking it’s very easy on a day no one feels like being in the kitchen.
If you are feeling in the mood to do some cooking, having pre-made mashed potatoes makes pierogies come together super quickly. They’re a great side for kielbasa (if you can find it) or any type of sausage. You can add in onion, celery, cheese and whatever other leftovers bits you have when making the pierogies. The bets part about this is that you can use up a ton of leftovers with a meal that tastes absolutely nothing like the one you had the day before.
Cranberry sauce tastes delicious on a freshly made potato latke. Just sayin🙂
This next idea is going to take a few more ingredients, but it’s easy nonetheless. The most delicious vegetarian stuffed pepper that I have ever tasted was filled with bulgar and cranberries. You can make a stuffing for the peppers out of the leftover turkey, cranberries (or cranberry sauce), corn and rice, quinoa, bulgar or whatever other grain you have around. If you have access to buckwheat it will make this dish super filling. We generally don’t have cheeses that would go well in the peppers, but mozerella, goat and blue (if you’re into that sort of thing) would all be really delicious.
Pumpkin (and squash)
Leftover pumpkin pie is once again something I’m not really familiar with. But should you have any, you could easily mash it into vanilla ice cream for a shake or blizzard as is the trendy thing to do.
Pumpkin baked goods are everywhere and I usually don’t go for them so I cannot give you any suggestions on that front. However, if you are interested in a savory option for your leftover canned pumpkin (or any squash, really) I suggest either a soup or a ravioli. Puree squash and apple with heavy cream and cinnamon or nutmeg or allspice depending on your preference for a very delicious wintery soup. Alternatively, squashes can also make for a really great vegetarian pasta sauce.
Candied sweet potatoes aren’t a thing here. If they were I suppose that I would mash up the leftovers and make it into a pie.
If you have either savory or naked sweet potatoes I suggest a sweet potato hash for breakfast. We like to add jaelpenos and other spicy bits to really vary the taste from the day before.
This is not at all creative but I usually bake our leftover stuffing in muffin tins to dry it out a bit, and then serve it like a kind of popover as the carb-y side to a main dish.
It’s the least ‘transformative’ of all of the options here but I just don’t have any other creative ideas. The same goes for corn pudding/Indian Corn/corn casserole, which we don’t even make anymore because it’s such a one-hit wonder. If you have any favorite options for Thanksgiving leftovers, let me know!!