Jazzing up Thanksgiving Leftovers

Who’s over their Thanksgiving leftovers? Tired of plates of Turkey, stuffing, greens and cranberry sauce? It’s cool, me too, and for the record there has never been a “part 6” of a series that wasn’t tired and at least a little disappointing. The following recipes are versions of Shepard’s Pie that are designed to use my Thanksgiving leftovers. I recommend not doing all of these, pick the leftovers you have the most of for this one and then do something completely different tomorrow night. Also? All of these can be frozen after assembled for about 3 to 4 months, so you can save these for February when you really like turkey again if you’d rather.

Option 1:

  1. Tear or dice cooked turkey (white or dark won’t matter) and place in bottom of medium-sized casserole dish.
  2. Add 1 can drained or 1 small bag frozen mixed veggies (soup mix or diced mix work best) to casserole dish.
  3. Top with enough turkey gravy to coat (about 1 to 2 cups, this is a preference thing) and stir.
  4. Create “top crust” with mashed potatoes. You want this layers to be between 1 1/2 and 3 inches deep, again depending on preference. Also, it’s a crust, do not stir.
  5. Sprinkle paprika and seasoned salt across the top.
  6. Bake in 350 degree oven until peaks of potatoes brown slightly, this will take about 20 minutes.
  7. Make sure dish is hot all the way through and serve!

Option 2:

  1. Repeat steps 1 through 3 from above.
  2. Top with “top crust” of stuffing (or dressing, whatever you call it). This layer should be about 2 to 3 inches thick. Do not stir.
  3. Sprinkle with paprika across the top.
  4. Bake in 350 degree oven until edges of stuffing become browned and crispy, about 20 minutes.
  5. Make sure dish is hot all the way through and serve!

Option 3:

  1. Repeat steps 1 through 3 from option 1.
  2. Crumble cornbread over top, creating a 2 inch minimum topping. (If you have no cornbread but want to try this: mix 1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin mix as directed on the box and pour over “filling”. Bake as directed on box)
  3. Add several (generous or about 2 Tbls) dollops of butter sporadically over the cornbread. Cover dish with lid.
  4. Bake in 350 degree oven until heated through and butter has melted, about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Option 4:

  1. Repeat step 1 from option 1.
  2. Add any leftover veggies (ex: corn off cob, green beans, broccoli, spinach); or few spoonfuls of green bean casserole (now mushy onions and all); or broccoli casserole. whatever you add, stir it all together.
  3. Add about 2 cups (again preference thing here) of shredded cheddar or colby cheese. (If you are using broccoli casserole you should probably go with just one cup).
  4. Top with mashed potatoes, twice-baked potato casserole, or cornbread. (Depending on what you are topping with follow the appropriate instructions above, or just coat top with potato casserole about 2 inches thick).
  5. Bake about 20 minutes in a (you guessed it) 350 degree oven.
  6. Make sure it is heated through and serve!

Option 5: (the veggie-less option for the picky ones in your group)

  1. This works best with leftover ham torn into bits, but turkey and chicken also work. Layer leftover meat in bottom of medium-sized casserole dish.
  2. Add one can (drained) in its own juice chuncked or tidbit pineapple. (if you have leftover crushed or that’s what’s in your pantry, that’s fine, just use about 1/2 of the can (also drained).
  3. Top with leftover sweet potato casserole or any leftover cooked sweet potatoes (including just plain mashed or sliced). Sprinkle crushed pecans on top (if you like).
  4. Heat in microwave until heated through, or oven if you prefer (but put the lid on in the oven).
  5. Serve and enjoy!

So five casseroles to choose from. These use up some leftovers pretty quick (especially if you make one to freeze for later). Obviously all of these are still going to have a fall comfort food feel, so I like to alternate a leftover casserole with something like spaghetti or tacos, just to break things up. I hope these ideas help you jazz up some of your leftovers!

Piña Colada Smoothies

 

 

This time of year I love making things in blenders. Creamy, yummy, cold things in blenders. With Crazy Straws. You can’t have a decent frozen beverage without Crazy Straws. This recipe was an accident. I was trying to come up with a desert/snack smoothie that would be delicious but not full of fat and sugar. Oh, and it was winter so frozen fruits were a requirement. But as soon as RedBird’s and my eyes met over our crazy straws we realized I had made low-fat Piña Coladas! Which we immediately put liquor in as soon as the kiddies went to bed. These are the two versions I can up with, enjoy!

Kiddie Friendly Smoothie:

1 container fat-free/sugar-free vanilla yogurt (those really large containers on the bottom shelf in the dairy case whose ounces I can’t bring to mind right now)

1/2 bag frozen pineapple chunks (in own juice or no sugar added)

1/2 bag frozen mango chunks (same as pineapple)

About 1/4 cup skim milk

 Grown-up-lady Smoothie:

1 container fat-free/sugar-free vanilla yogurt (those really large containers on the bottom shelf in the dairy case whose ounces I can’t bring to mind right now)

1/2 bag frozen pineapple chunks (in own juice or no sugar added)

1/2 bag frozen mango chunks (same as pineapple)

About 1/4 cup Cruzan Pineapple Rum, Coconut Rum, Malibu or Parrot Bay Rum

 

Mix all ingredients in blender. (start on chop & gradually work your way to finest setting)

If mixture to too thick for straw slurping add (small amounts at a time) more rum or milk, depending on which is appropriate.

 Slurp away!

Luau Party Foods

My goodness! Epic blog fail. I realized today when I was cleaning up my OneNote Unfiled Notes folder that I hadn’t posted the rest of GirlChild’s birthday luau food! Sorry all! Below you will find the meal-type food from the party. Enjoy 🙂

Kid-Friendly “SPAM” & Pineapple Skewers:

You may not be aware, but SPAM is hugely popular in Hawaii, Ham is hugely popular in many tropical cultures so a lot of dishes recommended for luaus contain at least one or the other. However, I am against SPAM, I’m not judging you if you are, but canned “meat” that requires quotation marks? *shudder* I’m just too picky for that. I also am not roasting a ham to make skewers for a child’s birthday party, that would be crossing the proverbial line from fun and eccentric, straight into Crazy town. (And I prefer to only visit Crazy town for the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas) So these skewers are much more kiddie (or picky adult) friendly and well, easier.

Cut 1 to 2 packages worth of turkey hot dogs (they are about the same to slightly more than regular hot dogs) into 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch slices. Place them in large sauce pot.

Add your kid’s favorite BBQ sauce. Go with a sweet one, not a spicy one for more universal crowd appeal. (if you are using bottled you will need 1 16oz bottle) You want your bite-sized dogs just coated, not swimming. Turn on stove and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes, some caramelization should be happening and everything will be heated through. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Open 2 large cans of pineapple chunks canned in their own juice, drain into Tupperware. (save juice in fridge, you will need it later)

Now bring in a minion child to help. They’ve been clamoring to help all week and now they can. This is about patterns. Show them how to make one them let ’em go! (Please make sure the hot dogs are cooled and everyone washes hands first)

Taking a regular cooking skewer, alternate hot dog bite and pineapple chunk until there are 3 of each on your skewer. Then place it on the platter. Done! Next!

*You can prepare the hotdogs up to a week before if you refrigerate them, but let them get about room temp before trying to handle them, cold hurts almost as bad as hot does to little fingers. Also, don’t try to assemble skewers before the day of your party, BBQ bleeds into pineapple in the fridge, and trying to fit them all in a Tupperware will kinda drive you nuts. *

Variations:

For littler kids I have done this with no BBQ and by putting 3 of hot dog & 2 of pineapple on cut in half standard skewers. They are less likely to become weapons this way. (not my first beachy themed party)

Mini Sandwiches:

This recipe uses deli meat ham, use whatever you prefer to serve. I used an oven roasted ham. I alternated between 2 cheeses Munster and Cheddar thinly sliced. Both of those are pretty kid friendly, but if you prefer something else, make it yours. I also alternated between Honey-mustard and Dijon-mustard. Just “flag” the Dijon ones with umbrellas so everyone knows which is which.

Gather about 2 packages King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. Cut eat in 1/2 like buns.

Layer ham, cheese and mustard into “buns”.

Arrange on platter and serve!

*These will keep about 12 to 24 hours in the fridge before drying out.*

Pineapple Fruit Salad:

This is a great mini fruit salad. Serving it in the pineapple, instead of a traditional watermelon keeps leftovers to a minimum. After you assemble this and place it with your other party food, store the extra fruit salad in a Tupperware in the fridge for refilling during the party.

Cut open a pineapple about 1 inch to the side of the fronds straight across, this will create a large oval above the fronds when you lay the pineapple on its side. Using a knife (carefully) remove the pineapple from its exterior, leaving a bowl to serve your fruit salad in. Set “bowl” on serving platter and to the side for now. Throw away core.

Cut pineapple into bite sized bits and place in large bowl.

Now the fun part. Pick what fruits (that are tropical) and cut them into similar sized pieces, add them to the bowl and stir. Citrus juice (like pineapple, oranges, etc) help keep fruit from oxidizing (turning brown in the open air). I used cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, mandarin oranges, kiwi, grapes, and strawberries. Yum!

This will keep about a week in your fridge as leftovers.

 

*when you serve this place a few whole strawberries, a slice of kiwi, and a small bunch of grapes on the plate, suddenly it looks really professionally done.*

Visit the Luau party page for all the recipes and posts involved in this party!

Easy Pineapple Chicken

This is a great week night Chicken recipe that totally brighten up leftover sides, we ate the last of our Twisted Cheesy Pasta with this tonight. This is also great as a summer supper, the pineapple is a no brainer and keeps baked chicken from feeling heavy (or dried out).

Place chicken breasts in baking pan. (I used 2 large breasts tonight & the 4 of us without adding to those dreaded leftovers piling up in the hotel fridge)Cut into portion sized pieces. Use fork to poke holes in top of chicken. Preheat oven to 350ᵒ F.

Open can of pineapple chunks. (use in its own juice) Drain 1/2 of juice. Pour the rest of the juice over the chicken along with the pineapple chunks. Sprinkle onion powder over top of everything. Sprinkle Seasoned Salt over top of that, use less seasoned salt than you did onion powder. (Lightly cover everything with seasoning, you may need to adjust this to taste)

Bake until cooked through. This takes less time if you cut the chicken to small portions, ours took about 25 minutes.

Enjoy! 🙂