We Love Leftovers

Photo courtesy of
‘Turkey cupcake tutorial’
courtesy of ‘kristdin_a’

The turkey is still brining, the potatoes aren’t even peeled and the pies are still cooling, and I’m already thinking about what to do with the leftovers.  Of course, there’s the traditional turkey fixings sandwich, which requires putting every item from the meal between two slices of bread and then prying your mouth open like a boa constrictor and jamming it in there. And however much I love me a leftover sammie, there’s only so much our palates can tolerate, so it’s high time we look into other creative options for the food exploding out of the fridge.

Let’s start with potatoes. These tubers are perhaps the most versatile leftover you have at your disposal. If you’re left with boiled or roasted potatoes, they make the perfect based for Alton Brown’s breakfast hash, or some potatoes au-gratin or the crispy topping of a pot pie.  If you have some whole potatoes left over of the yam variety, then I suggest using them in this simple sweet potato casserole. And should you have an ample portion of mashed potatoes, add some bacon, onions, chives, or if you like seafood some cooked white fish, and mold them into 3″ potato cakes. Pan fry the cakes until they have a golden, crispy exterior on both sides, and garnish with sour cream, applesauce or whatever accompaniment your palate desires.

Now let’s talk turkey. Of course, you’re not just throwing away the leftover turkey carcass without using it to fill your freezer full of delicious stock for winter soups, gravies, etc. Should you need some stock making guidance, the Splendid Table has a fantastic, simple recipe for Turkey Broth.

Should after a few rounds of reliving the Thanksgiving turkey, you want to reawaken your taste buds, try the spiciness of this Turkey Chili.

Or perhaps, should you not have a significant amount of bird leftover, then this turkey broccoli casserole will bring some savory, cheesy goodness to your belly.

Moving on to dessert. One of the best reuses I’ve seen is greendogwine.com‘s use of the pies and crumbles as flavor-enhancers for morning oatmeal. The end of November marks the beginning of the oatmeal season, and by using these leftover desserts to sweeten this healthy, heart-safe dish we can get both our figures back in line AND relive the holiday flavors.

For those who cannot forgo eating turkey sandwich after turkey sandwich, then I’d suggest putting a spin on the classic by replacing your bread with pumpkin muffins, which you can either make from scratch or with a premade mix found at your local Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc.  An additional route could be using pumpernickel bread, brie cheese and butter to make gourmet grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches. Of course, to be eaten with a side of cranberry sauce.

Really, using your leftovers comes down to what you have remaining and how much time you wish to spend in the kitchen. Should you be tired of cooking, then go with what’s simple and easy, and should you be tired of Thanksgiving flavors, then spend an extra few minutes on the burner.

Rebecca Johnson

A born and bred New Yorker, Rebecca made the big trip “down south” to DC in 2006 and hasn’t looked back. She spends her days strategizing/planning/ideating how interactive products can help her clients and change the world. In her free time, she explores DC’s ever expanding bar, restaurant and small business scene, plays a crap ton of soccer, attends concerts that contribute to her sleep deprivation and embarks on local adventures. Read why Rebecca loves DC or follow her on twitter.

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