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!

Advertisements

Pumpkin Soup

This is about the same color as I remember this soup being, I stole this picture because I have never taken a picture of this soup, sorry. I tried this for the first time about two Thanksgivings ago as a way to jazz up some leftover cooked sweet potatoes, but it works just as well with pumpkin. The point is it’s one of those dishes that appears way more fancy than it is. (And a great way to sneak in some veggies for your picky eater)

What You Will Need:

2 Tablespoons butter (or margarine)

1 cup chopped onion

2 celery stalks, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 large garlic clove, chopped

1 large can pumpkin (or what I usually use: 3 sweet potatoes cooked, peeled, cut into large chunks)

1 can (about 16 ounces) low sodium chicken broth (you can use veggie broth if you prefer)

1 can (about 10 ounces) evaporated milk

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups whipping cream (not heavy whipping cream)

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

Large saucepan (with lid)

Blender (unless you are truly gadget gifted and own a food processor, of course my blender lives on the countertop which makes its access easier too, so there’s that…)

What to Do:

In a saucepan cook onion, celery, carrots, garlic, broth, and butter until everything is mushy. (Celery will be clear and you will be able to literally mush the carrots with the spoon you are stirring with against the side of the pan)

Add canned pumpkin (or sweet potatoes) to blender along with cooked veggie mix and evaporated milk. Blend until very smooth, it will be just too thick for a straw. Add nutmeg and maple syrup to blender, blend again.

Dump contents of blender back into saucepan. Turn heat to medium. Drop in Cinnamon stick.

Add whipping cream and stir.

Bring back to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover for 20 minutes.

Remove cinnamon stick and serve!

*This is great as a side/meal starter, but it makes a really festive simple lunch served with plain toasted cinnamon raisin bread.*