You probably snuck down into the kitchen at midnight after Thanksgiving dinner and made yourself a sandwich – come one, you know you did. White bread, mayo, cranberries, turkey, lettuce, toasted or untoasted, you couldn’t help yourself. And the next day the stuffing was awfully tasty, too.
But now it’s day three and there’s still a lot of meat on the turkey carcass – not because it wasn’t good – but because you couldn’t resist making five sides and someone insisted on mashed potatoes as well as sweet and Brussels sprouts, even though you’d already planned (and were not willing to give up) your mother’s green beans with toasted almonds, not to mention three pies and that chocolate cake that someone slipped onto the dessert display (or rather slipped into the oven) and then onto the cake plate because it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a cake, too!!
So, what do you do with the leftover turkey meat. I know the answer, partly because I live in L.A. and it’s the answer to everything leftover (practically.) But also because it’s a complete change of pace and won’t feel like leftovers.
Make turkey tacos and a couple of simple Mexican sides!!
Many of my childhood Turkey Day recollections remain centered on gravy. I know it sounds strange but I loved gravy as a kid. I remember pouring it, in somewhat epic proportions, making a gravy soup of everything on my plate. There never seemed to be enough to go around as the gravy boat made its way around the table; all my family members taking their equal share. Undoubtedly the gravy was also scarce for the upcoming endless week of heated up turkey and stuffing as well.
Now, as an adult, there is only one thing I love more than Thanksgiving dinner…ironically, it’s the leftovers. I welcome the challenge of creating something completely different from what was served the night before, especially because the gravy is still always lacking. Besides making a hearty turkey pot pie, there are a lot more possibilities to Thanksgiving reruns than tired turkey sandwiches and reheated potatoes.
Turning the usual excess of turkey meat into a soup is a great idea, helping to warm all those who ventured to the mall on the day-after. I believe of all the squash out there, butternut is definitely one of my favorites. I love its color and sweet taste. Putting this together with fresh corn kernels and tortillas and then pureeing those, makes for a nicely textured, sweet tasting soup. Your family will not believe this combination came from the turkey served only a day or two before.
Whenever I'm in Hayes Valley around lunchtime, I'm always tempted to stop by Arlequin for a toasted cheddar, pear and bacon sandwich. The bread is crispy and crunchy, the cheese oozes and the sweetness of the pear is offset by the smoky saltiness of the bacon. Taking that sandwich as inspiration I decided to add mustard to my version. I was sure the warm spices including cinnamon, clove and cayenne in the mustard would really be delicious with the pear but I didn't want the intensity of bacon for this sandwich. After experimenting a bit, the combination I settled on was smoked turkey, white cheddar and pear. Smoked turkey is a good sandwich choice, it adds some heft and lean protein, and is healthier than ham or bacon.
One trick to getting this sandwich is right is to layer the ingredients just so. Start with a mustard slathered slice of bread and top it with cheese. The cheese and the mustard will kind of melt together. Put the smoked turkey in the middle and on the top put the pear. By grilling or toasting the sandwich on both sides in a pan you get a warmed through pear and gooey cheese that holds the turkey firmly in the middle. Make sure the cheese has melted before taking it off the heat. The last key is to let the sandwich sit for a few minutes before slicing, if you can!
I'm sure you've already had your fill of Thanksgiving leftovers sandwiches and soups, but have you had Thanksgiving leftovers pizza yet?
No, there's no cranberry sauce or brown gravy on it. That would be weird. But there is roasted butternut squash, leftover turkey, sauteed apples and blue cheese.
Since Jeff said we'll be making this again in December and January, I thought it would be good idea to have another name besides "Thanksgiving Leftovers Pizza."
So feel free to call it Roasted Butternut Squash, Turkey and Apple Pizza with Blue Cheese.
This is a quick and tasty way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey (also works great with a supermarket rotisserie chicken). You can make homemade biscuits, but the ready-made biscuits make the recipe a breeze to put together. You can serve the pot pie right out of the skillet or transfer the mixture to a large pie plate and top with the baked biscuits.
1 package Pillsbury Refrigerated Grands Homestyle Buttermilk Biscuits
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 rib celery, chopped fine
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or leftover turkey stock)
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas or carrot and pea medley (or leftover roasted vegetables)
2-3 cups cooked turkey, shredded or 1 whole rotisserie chicken - skin discarded, meat shredded into large bite-sized pieces
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and Ground black pepper
Chopped scallion greens or parsley, for garnish
Remove biscuits from package, place on baking sheet, and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery thyme and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until incorporated 1-2 minutes.
Stir in vermouth and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth and cream and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in vegetables, turkey, and lemon juice and simmer until vegetables and chicken are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Top with biscuits and and garnish with scallions and serve.
-Recipe courtesy of Cook Like James
Usually on Thanksgiving between 20-25 people come over for dinner. This year we had a smaller group. With 10, we had time to talk and there wasn't quite as much work getting the meal ready. Out of habit, though, we bought the same size turkey we always buy, a 25 pounder. So we assumed we'd have a lot of food left over, enough for several days of sandwiches.
When we looked in the refrigerator on Friday, we were surprised that we had very little cranberry sauce, almost no stuffing, and only enough white meat for a couple of sandwiches. But, happily, we did have a lot of dark meat and almost a gallon of turkey stock we'd made Thanksgiving night.
For our day after Thanksgiving dinner, I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I wanted a good comfort meal. Dumplings with anything is always great, but with richly flavored turkey stew, there's nothing more satisfying.
Sometimes, learning to cook is the best thing a child can do
In our house, the first smell of Thanksgiving was not turkey roasting or pumpkin pie but the bleach-sweet steam of my mother ironing the good tablecloth. I remember it from a time when I was small enough to creep unnoticed beneath the ironing board while she painstakingly transformed an undistinguished hump of wrinkled linen into a curtain of shimmering white. With a curt flick of her wrist, my mother sprinkled each length with water from a yellow, plastic bottle designed for this purpose, and then the iron would sizzle a path just above my head. Soon I was surrounded by a linen tent. The smell sparkled like hot stars.
So my Thanksgiving apprenticeship began.
Discovered, I was set to work folding the napkins, the first task allotted to small children wanting to be holiday helpers. The next year, I was allowed to place them beside each plate. My eyes were not that much higher than the table's surface and it seemed the most glamorous thing I had ever seen, a snowy landscape forested by crystal trees, glittering with silver and dishes of every size.
It started simply enough: the other half felt the need to bake. For me, well, I’m no baker and the urge to do so is akin to washing my car or preparing receipts for tax purposes. I’ll do it but only begrudgingly. But like many things I’m fully prepared to participate in the end result, and in this case it was a pie of monstrous proportions.
I’m not quite sure of his thought process as I wasn’t in the kitchen when he found the recipe, but I know it involved tons of pecans, a spring form pan and the new oven. I was a bit relieved that I wasn’t around as anyone knows to mess with a Texan’s Pecan Pie is clearly not the smartest thing to do (even if said Texan lives in California.) It’s not quite sacrilege — but it’s pretty damn close.
"So this pie I’m baking, I found a recipe online and I’m not sure how it’s going to come out," my big red-headed angel tells me.
"You’re a baker, I’m sure it’ll be just fine," I respond.
"I don’t know about that, it’s kind of a different sort of Pecan Pie."
Different sort of pecan pie. Different sort of pecan pie. DIFFERENT SORT OF PECAN PIE. DIFFERENT SORT OF PECAN PIE! Are you getting that, folks? As those words floated around the kitchen they took their sweet little time worming their way into my brain. A what type of what pie? Did I really hear you correctly? Would you like to grab an enchilada while you’re at it and poke me in the eye? How about hitting me over the head with a rib bone from Tyler, Texas? Come on, I’m all yours, just do it! You already started.
When I decided to move across the country, my parents believed that I would quickly get over my folly of living in the Golden State and return to life in New England. Unfortunately for them, California felt like home the minute I crossed the border and I haven't looked back since. The only time I regret being so far away is at Thanksgiving.
It's all about the food and a fairly simple concept of sharing one's bounty. A day to give thanks for the good things in your life. Everyone eats too much, drinks too much, maybe says things they shouldn't, but in the end it's a holiday of inclusion. Even when I was single, I've never had to celebrate Turkey Day alone. Unlike Christmas, with its unwavering traditions, which usually include immediate family only, on Thanksgiving I've found it's "the more the merrier."
After 20 years, my parents still hope that I will return for a Thanksgiving. That they could travel here, never occurs to them. They know we're not coming, but that doesn't stop them from complaining about it. It's just too expensive and difficult. Every year travel horror stories on the news prove that it's not worth the trouble just to share turkey and cranberry sauce. Over the years, my family has come to indulge us with a Thanksgiving dinner on our early Fall sojourns East. Believe me, it tastes just as good in late October. They pull out all the stops and never fail to include the one item I still sorely miss – my mother's meat stuffing.
Thanksgiving isn't complete without some sort of sweet potato dish. There's the traditional marshmallow-topped sweet potato side dish or the classic dessert of sweet potato pie. Sweet potatoes are almost magical when cooked or baked. Their bright orange flesh turns soft and almost creamy. Roasting them heightens their natural sweetness even more. Many holiday recipes further improve upon the sweetness by adding brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup. With the holiday only one week away, it's time to start planning. I'll be making a few new recipes to add to my repertoire.
Sweet and savory flavors are the basis of many classic Thanksgiving recipes. This side dish strays from the typical in favor of something a bit more gourmet and savory. Roasted sweet potatoes are mashed with butter, cream, and maple syrup and then spread in a gratin dish. The mashed sweet potatoes are then topped with fluffy panko breadcrumbs, fresh sage, and chopped walnuts. It's then drizzled with melted butter and broiled, turning the top golden and crunchy. It's a side dish that's sure to please both sweet potato traditionalists and those looking for a new take on a holiday favorite.
by Susan Salzman
Pumpkin is going to be with us for the next two months and I want to capitalize on all that it has to offer. As I start to plan my Thanksgiving feast, in my head, I take into consideration all the wonderful flavors of the season; pumpkin, chestnuts, sweet potatoes, corn, cranberries, brussel sprouts, citrus, apples, pears, pecans, baby squash,...Read more...
by James Moore
It’s also a nice alternative to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.
Feel free to substitute whole wheat or white wheat flour for the all-purpose.
3/4 cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter;...Read more...
by Cathy Pollak
How to take pumpkin bars to the next level...add caramel frosting and bacon. This sure beats the regular cream cheese frosting we normally use with pumpkin desserts. The bacon adds a smoky, salty and crunchy complement, while the bacon drippings in the pumpkin layer add another subtle smoky taste.
I have come to love bacon in my dessert....Read more...
by Clark Little