Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipe Roundup

a suburban greenmom needs to deal with the fridge...

In the past few days I have come across an embarrassment of riches where Thanksgiving leftover recipes are please indulge me as I create a post putting them all in the same place! (And check out Lisa's post of a few days ago, she's also got great ideas!)

By now the Thanksgiving goodies in the fridge are getting to that "fish or use for bait" point--if they aren't eaten soon, they won't be fit for eating much longer. And at the same time, "Thanksgiving Dinner Redux" is beginning to lose its charm. So, short of just freezing them all (which is an excellent option, by the way--sliced cooked turkey frozen on a cookie sheet or something and then transferred to a container is something easy to pull out and thaw for tacos or tetrazzini or whatever), here are some interesting ideas:

There are the easy expected standards like turkey tetrazzini, turkey chili, and shepherd's pie...there are a gajillion recipes for each, and you'll doubtless find your favorite if you don't already have one. And there's really no need for recipes for things like turkey quesadillas or tacos, right?

Potato soup is also a really lovely way to use mashed potatoes--there are any number of recipes to follow, but basically you add broth or milk to mashed potatoes, heat, and stir. Add grated cheese if you want. Barely even needs a recipe, honestly! Neither does the idea of taking a good dollop of whatever candied sweet potato recipe you use (my cranberry-sweet potato bake was amazing like this!) and stirring it into your morning oatmeal. Yummm!

And we assume that you will probably plop your turkey carcass into a large slow cooker or stockpot and turn it into a lovely rich turkey stock that you can use for all kinds of soup, potato and otherwise, throughout the winter. And if you're not onto the secret already--toss a little leftover gravy into your turkey stock either before you freeze it or just as you're turning it into soup--it gives it a lovely rich depth. (Especially if, like me, you basted your turkey with port wine!)

Okay, this is a new one for me: Potato Turkey Balls, in which you encase some chopped up turkey in a ball of mashed potatoes, coat in breadcrumbs, and bake. How cool is that? It's part of an assortment of kid-friendly recipes from lil' Martha Stewart's list is pretty long, but most of them seem to involve cooked turkey plus a whole bunch of other ingredients. (These would be ones I'd use my frozen cooked turkey in!) TreeHugger's list is short but smart--especially the idea of a frittata; I could throw the leftover green beans and some potatoes into that as well as the turkey. ) My own family has a predilection for dark meat, so we rarely have any leftover, but if your family is the reverse, you might try pulled turkey sandwiches...these look delicious. It might work with a mixture of light and dark meat, but white meat alone won't quite do it, I suspect.

The New York Times has a "Radical Rethinking" of Thanksgiving leftovers, neatly listed by which ingredient they are recycling, that actually looks pretty fabulous--if we had any stuffing leftover, I'd've been happy to try one of their recipes for it. (Although, when you think of it, a recipe for "savory bread pudding" out of leftover stuffing? Isn't stuffing itself basically savory bread pudding, but without the egg?) Best of all, these "recipes" aren't even really recipes--most are a couple of sentences just sort of telling you what to do.

Anyone find any other good sites we should link to here? I'd love to remember this post next year maybe the day before Thanksgiving, so I'm not scrambling as the leftovers get questionable!
--Jenn the Greenmom


Green Bean said...

Wow! Who knew there were so many different ideas out there for using up leftovers. We don't usually do turkey and only get it if we go over to my MILs because I'm a vegetarian but we do have some other leftovers. Love the frittata idea. Now, if only my hens were laying . . .

Chile said...

I used to always make soup with Thanksgiving leftovers (when I ate meat), using broth made from the turkey carcass, onion, celery, carrots, leftover steamed green beans, leftover mashed potatoes (to thicken), and noodles. Of course, leftover turkey went in as well. It was not unreasonable to stir leftover cranberry sauce in for a hint of sweetness and even use re-heated leftover cornbread stuffing on top in place of crackers.

Another idea for leftover mashed potatoes is making samosas.

robbie @ going green mama said...

We finally polished off the last of the turkey, made fried rice with it. The kids loved it.

The key for us? Don't go overboard on turkey size or side dishes, and you won't be dreading turkey for days!

Jenn the Greenmom said...

Robbie, but that's half the fun! (Overnight I just cooked the last of the turkey in barbecue sauce in the crockpot, and now we have pulled turkey...)

Elizabeth said...

Not a speck left at our house. Only cranberry sauce, which my husband will just keep eating until it is gone. Stuffing is the favorite. I had made 5 bread pans of it for the day itself and then last night I made 4 more pans due to whining, and an apple pie. But everything else gone and just a memory.

The pie was easy as I discovered freezing unbaked pies this fall so my youngest daughter and I took our bushel of apples and made pie after pie, wrapped in freezer paper, then sealed in ziplocs. Takes 1 1/2 hours to bake and are just perfect, you would never know the difference.


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