Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Post-Thanksgiving Post

(This is a little late in the game, I know. But hey, I have a 6-month-old and I'm generally lazy, so basically we're lucky I'm getting around to this before Christmas.)

Still wondering what to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers? If you still have some lingering around, read on.

My mother, bless her, used to make this "everbody-in-the-pool"-style casserole that I have always hated. (Sorry, Mom, but you know it's true.) So I'm usually on the hunt for fun ways to use up leftover turkey. Here are a couple of my favorite ideas, no real recipes required:

Turkey French Dip Sandwiches

1. Inspired by this recipe from Kelsey's Essentials, I made a riff on the traditional French Dip sandwich.

Directions: If you have leftover drippings, heat them up over low heat with a bay leaf and a few peppercorns. No drippings left? No prob, just use turkey or chicken stock instead. Toss in leftover turkey (thinly sliced breast meat is my favorite, but whatever you have will do) and heat with the broth until warmed through. Give the jus a taste and add salt (or not) to taste. Now grab some rolls or buns and some provalone cheese. (Or gruyere, if you've got it, but who has gruyere just lying around? Not I.) If the mood strikes you, feel free to slap the cheese on the rolls and stick them under the broiler until bubbly. Fill the cheesed-up rolled with warm turkey, and fill a ramekin with the jus (do your best to avoid the peppercorns -- don't ask me how I know). You know what to do from here: dunk, devour, repeat!

Thanksgiving Bundles

It's Thanksgiving dinner all wrapped up in a tidy package!

2. Years ago, my best friend, Angie, told me about her favorite meal made by her mom, "Chicken Bundles". The basic idea was that you combined cooked, cubed chicken with cream cheese and some other stuff, stick it in crescent roll dough and bake it up. If you look around at recipes on Pinterest, you'll probably notice that crescent-roll-enrobed dishes are all over the place. Here's my holiday-themed take.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375ยบ, and get out a sheet pan. Cut leftover turkey into small cubes and grab your leftover stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce, if you like. Release the crescent dough from its cardboard prison and unfurl it. There are typically 8 triangles in each package, but we're going to pinch every two of them together to form 4 rectangles, got it? Good. Layer in your leftovers in whatever order pleases you; I put down some cranberry sauce, then some stuffing, then turkey and a little gravy for moisture. Then gather up the corners of your rectangle and pinch them together, then pinch together the sides to make a tidy little packet (or bundle, if you will) and transfer to the sheet pan we discussed earlier. Stick them in the oven for 15 minutes or so, or until golden brown. While that's going on, heat up more leftover gravy -- it's for on top. Serve up your Thanksgiving Bundles on a bed of leftover mashed potatoes, smothered in gravy. And if you have some, a side of leftover green bean casserole would round things out nicely.

Some other standbys: Turkey Noodle Soup, Turkey Pot Pie, Turkey Tetrazzini, Turkey Sandwiches, etc.

Just don't ask me what to do with your leftover yams, because... yuck.

Happy leftovering!

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