Get creative with those leftovers
Ideas for Round 2 of your favorite holiday dishes
The News-Register staff
The pleasant conversation during this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is just a memory now. But if you’re like many people, you still have plenty of reminders of the meal itself: Half a cup of gravy; bowls of potatoes, mashed and sweet; Aunt Dorothy’s famous green bean casserole, nearly untouched; and assorted slices, wings and scraps of turkey.
What to do?
Of course, you can microwave everything and serve it again for “Thanksgiving Dinner II: Return of the Bird.” You can slap together boring sandwiches. Or, if it was a really huge hen and you’re desperate, you can wrap portions in foil and slip them into guests’ bags as they leave.
Better yet, you can get creative.
Here’s a selection of “what to do with the leftovers” ideas and recipes from the News-Register staff. Try one or several this weekend — you can’t spend every minute shopping, after all.
Gilroy Turkey-Garlic Enchiladas
From Jennifer Bladine, print edition proofreader and accounting department clerk. Inspired by a recipe from the “Garlic Capital of the World,” Gilroy, Calif.
Notice there are no precise amounts, so if you live or die by the measuring spoon, probably this is not for you.
4 cups leftover turkey, coarsely chopped; dark meat is generally better and moister
2 heads of roasted garlic (cut tops from garlic bulbs, place on heavy duty foil, sprinkle lightly with oil, salt and pepper, tightly close foil and roast at 350’ for one hour. Remove, let cool slightly, and squish the individual cloves free of the papery husks)
3 cups Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup black olives (the kind kids wear on their fingertips), coarsely chopped
1 28 ounce can enchilada sauce, red or green, hot or mild
8 large flour tortillas (this makes a difference — flour simply works better and doesn’t dry out like the corn variety)
Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce onto bottom of 13x9 pan.
Mix turkey, garlic, cheese and olives. (Optional: add a half-cup of sour cream) Soften the flour tortillas in the microwave or, alternately, in warmed sauce (but this is messy). Roll each tortilla around the filling and place, seam side down, in pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
Cover pan with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes.
From Marna Porath, editorial assistant, and her husband, Robert:
After the turkey meat is removed, put the carcass into a big pot to make turkey stock, which then becomes a wonderful soup with potatoes, carrots, turkey meat, celery, onions, seasonings and any other soup ingredients on hand. This year, we’ll try adding tomatillos. Easy to make, easy to eat!
From Racheal Winter, features editor. Inspired by a recipe for chicken tetrazzini in the April 2007 edition of Everyday Food magazine.
Coarse salt and black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, divided
10 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
10 ounces linguine
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1/2 package frozen peas, thawed and drained
Preheat oven to 400. In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until tender and browned. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour; cook, whisking, for about a minute. Whisking constantly, add milk, broth and wine. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer, and add 1 cup Parmesan and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
Break pasta in half and cook to al dente in a separate pot; drain and return to pot. Add sauce, turkey, peas and mushrooms. Toss well to combine.
Turn into a shallow 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves four.
Notes: This dish is very Parmesan-y. If you’re not a huge fan, cheddar, gruyere or Monterey Jack can be substituted for some of it. Spaghetti can be substituted for the linguine.
Uses for Leftover Pumpkin
From Nicole Montesano, reporter and Greens & Beans columnist.
Pumpkin spice nog
Sweet, smooth, creamy and spicy.
2 cups pumpkin puree
3 cups soy or dairy milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Beat together pumpkin, sugar, vanilla and spices. Slowly stir in milk, then beat mixture thoroughly.
Alternative single-serving recipe: Combine 1 cup milk or unsweetened soy milk, 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, dashes of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon, honey or stevia to taste; whip thoroughly, then strain and serve sprinkled with nutmeg.
Cream of Pumpkin Soup
A bit sweet, a bit spicy, a bit savory and entirely lovely. Serves four.
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup half and half
2 cups peeled, seeded and diced pumpkin
1 cup diced onion
1/2-1 cup diced celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon mace
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Toasted slivered almonds for garnish
Saute onions and garlic gently in butter and oil until golden brown. Add pumpkin and celery and cook about 5-10 minutes longer, stirring often.
Add stock, spices and salt. Bring soup to a boil, lower heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.
Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Put soup through a food mill, or puree in a blender until soup is creamy.
Return to heat and warm soup through, stirring in half and half. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve hot, garnished with toasted slivered almonds.
Repackaging and repurposing
From Nathalie Hardy, reporter and Raising the Hardy Boys columnist.
For her small children, she repurposes leftovers into muffin tins to send to school for lunches and snacks.
Easy Turkey Dressing Scramble
From Tammy Cook, sales associate, and her mother, Leonette Galligher: “A great dish for the day after Thanksgiving!”
Preheat oven to 325.
1 to 1.5 pounds of leftover turkey meat
2 cups milk
3 cups leftover stuffing
Cut turkey into pieces or cubes or grind it. Put turkey in the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan. Mix together eggs and milk-pour over turkey meat. Place stuffing atop the egg and turkey mixture, pressing down so it’s covered partially.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. Poke middle with a toothpick to confirm cooked in center. Garnish with leftover cranberry sauce or turkey gravy.
Note: The recipe also can be cut in half for a smaller family. Additionally, if you are out of stuffing, you can replace with croutons, or for Atkins dieters, leave out the stuffing and croutons. Versatile recipe and kids enjoy it, too.
From Holly Goodman, Oregon Wine Press sales manager.
We make potato pancakes the next day, of course — mashed potatoes combined with an egg or two, salt, pepper, some garlic salt and onion. Mix together and form into pancake rounds and fry on top of the stove. Serve with leftover turkey gravy.
Also from Holly:
Sometimes we will make turkey soup. Chunk turkey into bite-sized pieces, chop some onion and celery, and potatoes (if you didn’t mash all the potatoes, chunk them up into bite-sized pieces). Sauté onion and celery in a saucepan, add chicken broth and water (I use a large box of broth and add water to get the amount of soup I think I will need for the crowd). When warm, add the turkey and potatoes, cook for a bit, and, just before serving, add egg noodles.
Lo-Cal Turkey Sandwich
From Jeb Bladine, News-Register publisher.
Take two giant slices of dill pickle. Place sliced white turkey in-between.
From Starla Pointer, reporter and Stopping By columnist.
Makes use of leftover turkey, vegetables and gravy, lightening it up with plenty of additional vegetables. Amounts are approximate; feel free to add more fresh vegetables.
1 to 2 cups leftover turkey, cubed or shredded; leftover plain cooked vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts or broccoli
1 large onion, halved, then sliced thinly
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 to 2 carrots, sliced
2 to 3 ribs celery, sliced
Other fresh vegetables, such as cauliflower florets or asparagus pieces or sliced zucchini
About 1 cup broth shaken in a tightly-lidded jar with 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (or omit cornstarch and use 1 cup leftover gravy thinned with a little water)
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce or teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 garlic clove
Chopped water chestnuts (optional)
Cooked rice (or leftover mashed potatoes, or even stuffing)
Cut up all vegetables separately, prepare turkey, chop ginger and garlic and prepare broth mixture before starting to cook.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in heavy skillet on medium-high. Add onions; stir and cook quickly until translucent. Remove to large bowl and cover loosely with a piece of foil to keep warm. Repeat separately with carrots, peppers, celery and other vegetables, cooking each until tender-crisp. Add a few drops oil as necessary.
After all fresh vegetables have been cooked, reduce heat to medium and add a few drops of oil to skillet. Stir in ginger and garlic a moment until they become fragrant. Shake broth mixture and pour into skillet, add soy sauce, and stir until mixture begins to thicken slightly (or add leftover gravy to the ginger and garlic and warm).
Add turkey and water chestnuts, if you’re using them, to the sauce mixture. Cook 2 or 3 minutes, until heated through. Pour over stir-fried vegetables in the bowl. Add your leftover veggies and toss everything together. The hot food should warm up the leftover vegetables without overcooking them. Serve alone or over cooked rice (or leftover potatoes or stuffing).
Using up turkey, potatoes
From Eleanor Williams, accounting clerk
Mashed Potato and Turkey Frittata for two
3 large eggs
6 tabespoons mashed potatoes
1 cup cooked turkey meat, diced
2/3 cup cooked vegetables (if you happen to have some), chopped
1/2 cup of your favorite cheese, grated
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet slightly above medium heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and potatoes. Pour this evenly into the skillet.
When the eggs are nearly half set, toss the turkey (and veggies if you have them) on top evenly. Cover and simmer until the egg is fully set.
Sprinkle cheese on top and then cook one more minute until the cheese melts. Remove from heat and let sit for about one minute.
Cut in wedges to serve.
Also from Eleanor:
Quick Leftover Turkey Soup
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 cans (14-1/2 oz. each) chicken broth
2 cups water
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1/2 cup bite-size dried pasta
Heat oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in broth, water and dressing mix. Bring to boil. Add turkey and pasta; cover. Lower heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
Leftover Potato Pancakes
From Randy Sollars, continuous improvement analyst at Oregon Lithoprint.
First of all, the mashed potatoes should have been made with a couple of carrots, or more depending on your taste. They add a wonderfully light sweetness and a festive fall color to the holiday table.
To make the pancakes, add beaten eggs to the leftover spuds along with some grated cheese — Colby-Jack and cheddar are my favorites. The number of eggs is, of course, dependent on the quantity of potatoes. The consistency should be like a very thick pancake batter. Fry them up like small pancakes using medium to low heat until cooked through.
I love them best with a large amount of butter and some salt and pepper. I wonder what they would taste like with some leftover cranberry sauce?