I always cook Thanksgiving dinner knowing we’ll have copious leftovers. There are so many ways to prepare leftovers, even the most leftover-hating family member will love them! Many are quick and can be made with pantry staples.
Turkey pot pie is very easy, warm, and filling. It will use up much of your turkey, as well as vegetable side dishes. Simply cut turkey and vegetables and combine with chicken broth or stock. Add some fresh thyme for a fresh herb taste. If you would like to add raw vegetables, sauté first. Thicken with a mixture of equal parts corn starch and water. Place in a casserole dish or use ramekins for individual pies. Top with filo dough (available in the freezer section). Follow the directions on the package. Top with an egg wash and bake until golden brown. To use up some of those mashed potatoes leftovers, replace the dough with dollops of mashed potatoes. Use a piping bag to make shepherd’s pie! Fancy! Bake till potatoes are golden.
Speaking of leftover mashed potatoes, my favorite recipe is fried potato patties. Mix mashed potatoes with flour (a tablespoon or so) along with a beaten egg to make a slightly stiff mixture. Fry in butter with a little canola oil till brown and crispy. To make cheesy patties, add one cup finely shredded cheddar to the mix. For a little more flavor, add half a cup of finely sliced green onions.
Grilled cheese is not often thought of with turkey, but it makes an awesome sandwich. Layer sliced turkey with mild brie cheese and arugula on sourdough bread. Fry in butter till golden and melty- delicious! Change it up by adding tomato instead of arugula. For a sweet and savory taste, add thinly sliced apple. It pairs so well with brie!
Disguise the turkey entirely by breading sliced turkey and fry till golden brown. Sauté sliced mushrooms (white if you like or the small brown baby portabellas for a more intense flavor), add fresh thyme, and a splash of white wine. Reduce and add leftover turkey gravy. Serve over the turkey cutlets for a quick Turkey Milanese. This mushroom gravy is awesome on leftover mashed too!
Make a quick turkey chili. Sauté a half cup of chopped onion and green pepper, along with one chopped and seeded jalapeno. Leave in the seeds if you like it hot! When the vegetables are soft, add one tablespoon each cumin and chili powder. Sauté till spices are fragrant. Add two 15oz cans of chicken stock and one can of chopped tomatoes. Add one 15oz can drained whole kernel corn and three cups chopped turkey. Let simmer for 20 minutes, check seasonings. Add salt and Tabasco to taste.
We all make turkey soup and it’s so easy with boxed broth. Add leftover vegetables, fresh onion, and celery. If you’re ambitious, use your turkey carcass to make a wonderful stock. Add some texture with dumplings. Use Bisquick mix to make a sticky dough (recipe on box). Amp up the flavor with chopped fresh thyme and parsley. Drop the dough by the spoonful onto the hot soup. Cook, following directions. The dumplings will make the soup thick and filling. Serve with a fresh salad and leftover dinner rolls.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO