Unconventional Thanksgiving leftovers

photo-242We celebrated Thanksgiving with just the 5 of us. I’d been shopping at Costco, though, so we had a lot of food, including a 15 lb turkey. That might have been fine if all of us had been around to eat the leftovers. But on Friday my husband took the older two kids out to Arizona for a family wedding. My 3-year-old was not much help on anything except rolls. So after a few meals of straight-up turkey + stuffing + mashed potatoes, I have been trying out new ideas.

The photo up top is of a cranberry sauce Greek yogurt parfait. It makes an excellent snack or dessert, especially when blended with granola.

Then I decided to try a southwestern turkey salad for dinner one night. It’s turkey cooked with corn and photo-243peppers (and mushrooms, since I had them) and served with avocado on a bed of greens (chipotle dressing would touch this up nicely, but I was out so served it with Caesar — not bad).

I’m kind of hunting around for a mashed potato option. I found a recipe online for potato rolls made with leftover mashed potatoes, but given all the Christmas cookies my daughter and I made this weekend, I’m not sure I need more carb-y stuff.

If you cooked, how are you progressing on the Thanksgiving leftovers? Any ideas for turkey or mashed photo-244potatoes I should try?

In other news: The Federalist runs an interview with Cook’s Illustrated founder Christopher Kimball. He makes many interesting points on cooking — namely, it’s more a science than an art, and there are best ways to do things if you don’t want disasters. People who are “good” at cooking have a lot of experience, much like Jerry Garcia practiced music for 2 hours a day. Second, he’s got interesting thoughts on media. Publications that survive will likely have a “newsletter” type model. They are profoundly worthwhile to a specific group of people who are willing to pay for that differentiated content. Advertising dollars-seeking-eyeballs is basically dead as a model. Note to readers: This interview is pretty apolitical, but if you’re not into right-wing politics, you might want to skip the rest of the website.

10 thoughts on “Unconventional Thanksgiving leftovers

  1. I always try to make extra mashed potatoes so I can make shepherd’s pie with the leftovers. (I sometimes make a vegetarian version that’s lentil-based. It’s the source of a family joke: “What do you put in a vegetarian shepherd’s pie?” “Why, vegetarian shepherds, of course.”) Colcannon is another easy and tasty option.

    Tomorrow I think I am going to make Nigella Lawson’s Bang Bang Turkey with some of our turkey leftovers: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/121-bang-bang-turkey. Will the kids eat it? Who can say?

  2. Haha–we’ve always eaten plain yoghurt with cranberry sauce for breakfast in my family! You can also fry small cakes of leftover mashed potatoes to make hashbrowns for breakfast (tastes best fried in bacon grease–I always keep an empty soup can in the fridge to fill with grease I pour off the pan after frying bacon, so I can flavor anything with bacon even if I don’t have or don’t want to use any actual bacon). You can also make vegetarian shepherd’s pie by combining mushroom duxelles (chop ordinary mushrooms very finely and saute in olive oil till all or most of the moisture cooks out of them) with cooked barley (rather than using lentils) for the “meat”, which I much prefer, as mushroom duxelles have a meatier flavor than lentils, and cooked barley is closer to the texture of ground meat than lentils are. You can use leftover turkey for anything you’d normally do with leftover chicken: turkey soup (turkey vegetable soup, turkey noodle soup, turkey rice soup); turkey curry (leftover cranberry sauce can go with it instead of chutney); turkey tacos/enchiladas/burritos; turkey pot pie; turkey (as opposed to chicken) salad (also delicious if you add some curry powder or chipotle powder to the mayo to vary the flavor profile) sandwiches (no doubt you’re already making turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches or just plain sliced turkey sandwiches, either cold or hot and open-faced if you also have leftover gray). You can also thin out/add to leftover gravy as needed to make a stew of leftover turkey with carrots and pearl onions served over egg noodles or with dumplings on top. If you have leftover stuffing too, you can fry it up with some leftover turkey and an onion to make turkey hash, which goes great with leftover cranberry sauce.

  3. Here is my recipe for vegan shepherd’s pie:


    1 c. uncooked barley
    6 lg. white potatoes, peeled and quartered
    1 parsnip, peeled and diced
    3 lg. leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
    1 lg. clove garlic, crushed
    2 packets sliced mushrooms, very finely chopped
    hearty red wine or madeira
    olive oil
    freshly ground pepper and/or freshly grated nutmeg
    salt to taste

    1) Bring 3 c. water & 1 c. barley to boil; cover & simmer 50-60 min. or till water is absorbed & barley is al dente. Fluff with fork, cover, & set aside.
    2) Boil potatoes till soft enough to mash with water, olive oil, salt & pepper (or nutmeg) to taste.
    3) Saute leeks, parsnip, & garlic in olive oil till translucent/tender.
    4) Add mushrooms & stir 15-20 min. till all liquid gone & mushrooms are dark & dry (not browned).
    5) Combine mushroom mixture & cooked barley in bottom of greased casserole dish with red wine (to taste & to moisten mixture thoroughly).
    6) Layer mashed potatoes on top and press into pattern with tines of fork.
    7) Broil till browned on top.
    8) Serve with Worcestershire sauce and/or harissa. Serves 6-8.

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