Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Take Two- by Karen Rock

There are so many traditions surrounding Thanksgiving. Strangely, my favorite always happens after Gobble-Day. Nope. I’m not talking about a gluttony of shopping on Black Friday, although I never miss that either! I’m talking our family’s “friendly” competition on how to most creatively use Thanksgiving leftovers. Whenever one of us makes a new dish, we’re sure to tout it, looking for the praise, respect and the envy our cooking ingenuity surely deserves. lol. Since I was raised to believe that waste is a crime right up there with Murder One, my relatives and I go to extreme lengths to squeeze out every possible usage of what’s left of the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, rolls, gravy and so on. The more ingredients you can incorporate, the more impressive your recipe. Over the years, my sisters and I have swapped a lot of them, and here are a few of my favorites:

    1. Thanksgiving pot pie. Between two readymade pie crusts, mix the gravy, veggies, turkey and stuffing together. Add chicken broth if needed. This gets rid of a lot of the leftovers and it’s delish.

    2. Turkey soup. Even the turkey bones don’t go to waste! Boil them to get a rich broth and the scraps of meat that are impossible to pluck will fall right off. Win- win! Add the leftover vegetables and turkey along with pasta spirals at the end of cooking. Very filling and bonus points for using the carcass ;)

    3. Potato Pancakes. Cold mashed potatoes make the best potato pancakes when mixed with egg and cheese and shaped into ovals before frying.

    4. Turkey Stuffing Casserole. This will use up your stuffing, turkey, veggies, and turkey broth. Layer the turkey on the bottom with gravy, add veggies then spoon stuffing over it and top with grated cheese. Yum.

    5. Pumpkin Pie Casserole. To use up your excess slices of pumpkin pie, mix in rolled oats, maple syrup and other ingredients with chopped-up pumpkin pie and bake for thirty minutes.

    6. Turkey Tacos. Yes. My Mexican-food obsessed sister thought of these and they are really good. Shred the turkey meat and toss in frying pan with taco seasoning. This also works, though I haven’t tried it, with burritos or enchiladas… no plain turkey sandwiches for this bird!

    7. Cranberry sauce. Yes. Even this gelatinous goop has another role beyond bringing color to the holiday table. It’s actually really good on a peanut butter sandwich, the tartness giving the traditional dish something special. Also, if you mix the cranberry sauce with cream cheese and leftover roasted nuts it makes an amazing cracker or pretzel dip.

    8. Pumpkin Pie Milkshake. Okay. This is out there, but my brother-in-law, Kevin swears it’s amazing. You mix pumpkin pie with ice cream and a little sugar in a blender and top with whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon or nutmeg.

    9. Vegetable Frittata. Everyone in the family will clean up the veggies if you bake them in a frittata. I am a witness!

    10. Stuffing. It’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving and I can waste a spoonful. Use it to stuff mushrooms and top with cheese for a great appetizer.

Who says Thanksgiving gets to be the best meal of the year?! I hope you enjoyed the leftover ideas. Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday season ahead ☺


  1. Wonderful suggestions for Thanksgiving leftovers. I got hungry just reading this post! I'm almost embarrassed to admit it... but I'm intrigued by that Pumpkin Pie Milkshake. :)