Archive for: leftovers
Thanksgiving is a holiday where they are typically a lot of leftovers. One of my favorite things to make is a big sandwich with leftover turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, and that will usually be my lunch on the day after the big dinner. But sandwiches can get a little boring after a while (and sometimes there are a *lot* of leftovers!), so sometimes I want a recipe that doesn’t come sandwiched between two slices of bread that still lets me use up some leftovers. This Turkey Cobb Salad is a good option.
My Turkey Cobb Salad starts with a bowl of romaine lettuce dressed with a little bit of vinaigrette. It is topped with turkey (of course), tomatoes, cucumbers, a hard boiled egg, bacon, blue cheese, cheddar cheese and avocado. All of the elements of the salad are arranged around the outside of the bowl, which gives it a really nice look before it is served. Once you’re ready to eat, the salad should be tossed so that you get some of almost every element in every bite. It has tons of flavor and the salty bacon, creamy avodavo, savory cheese and moist turkey all go together incredibly well.
The amounts given below are approximate, as I like to “eyeball” salads based on how much of each ingredient I have on hand and you should, too. I’ll usually fry up 2-3 slices of bacon for the salad, but will make more if I have more mouths to feed. I’ve had some cobb salads where the lettuce is so finely chopped that it is almost shredded. I like mine cut a little bigger than that, but feel free to chop the lettuce however you’d like. The salad will be a nice contrast to heavy Thanksgiving dinner no matter how it is presented. And best of all, you can size this recipe up to serve a big crowd or down to serve just one.
These Turkey Enchiladas with Pumpkin Chipotle Sauce are a great way to put leftover Thanksgiving turkey to good use, but they’re just as good any time of the year. The easy-to-make enchiladas have a turkey filling and are covered with a homemade sauce that uses pumpkin puree and chipotle peppers for a spicy-sweet finish.
When preparing the enchiladas, I start with the sauce. I use canned pumpkin puree, tomato paste, a little garlic and minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I like my enchiladas to be on the spicy side, so I tend to add a little extra pepper to my sauce when I’m making it. Feel free to add a little more (or a little less) as needed when you’re making your sauce. Once the sauce is prepared, fill up slightly warmed corn tortillas with your shredded turkey and cover with the sauce before baking. I typically add a very small handful of cheese to my filling, but I put most of it on top of the dish so that it makes a nice golden topping.
I bake this dish as a casserole, placing my filled corn tortillas in a large baking dish and covering them with sauce. It is an easy way to prepare them, but I find that it also allows me to get an extra few servings out of the dish, which is always a plus if you either have a big crowd to serve or simply like leftovers. I primarily use mozzarella cheese, and I also add some fresh cohita cheese (there are actually many brands of slightly salty fresh Mexican cheeses that you can use in place of the cohita, in case you can’t find it) because it lends a nice saltiness to the mozzarella layer.
If you don’t have leftover turkey on hand, know that this recipe works very well with roasted chicken. It is easy enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner if you’re starting with a roast chicken from the supermarket, too.
I always have cranberry sauce leftover after Thanksgiving. I usually make a batch or two of homemade sauce, and I often buy a jar or two just in case I need some more. It’s not that I think that anyone is going to gorge themselves on cranberry sauce at dinner and I’ll run out, I just like to have the leftover sauce around for other things. For instance, you can’t serve a plate of reheated turkey and stuffing without a little cranberry on the side, can you? But there are many other great ways to use up that sauce, so if you’re like me and still have a half of a container sitting in the fridge, try one of these:
- Cranberry Swirl Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. These easy to make pumpkin bars have cranberry sauce swirled throughout to give them extra moistness and lend a sweet-tart taste to the spicy cake bars. It’s a great overall contrast and a nice new way to enjoy the cranberry sauce.
- Turkey Cranberry and Brie Panini. Although it is also a good way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, this toasted sandwich is so delicious that you might crack open a jar of cranberry sauce just to make it. The brie is rich and creamy, and the cranberries are the perfect contrast to that flavor.
- Cranberry Sauce Cobbler. Add a little bit of cranberry sauce to your favorite cobbler recipe – whether it is cherry, apple, pear or Blackberry Cranberry Sauce Cobbler – to mix things up a bit. There are so many other fruits that go well with cranberries and fruit cobbler recipes are very forgiving about the exact quantity of fruit that goes into their fillings. Try adding a half cup of cranberry sauce to start with, bringing in color and flavor!
- Cranberry Swirl Bread. No recipe needed for this idea, because you start with whatever your favorite muffin or quick bread recipe is. Make your regular banana bread loaf (or try mine) and instead of pouring all of the batter into a loaf pan, pour half in and then add a layer of cranberry sauce before adding the rest of the batter. This will give you a great swirl that is tasty with banana breads, ginger breads and all kinds of coffee cake.
- Cranberry Barbecue Sauce. Again, this is a recipe where that sweet-tart flavor can really shine. I usually make this cranberry barbecue sauce with fresh cranberries, but you can start with the sauce instead of using fresh berries and sugar (which just makes more sauce!) and create a very flavorful, seasonal base for a homemade barbecue sauce that is tasty on just about anything.
Whether you’re working with freshly roasted, leftover-from-Thanksgiving turkey or simply sliced turkey meat from your neighborhood deli counter, there is no better use for it than being put into a turkey club sandwich. A club sandwich consists of layers of bread, tomatoes, lettuce, bacon and turkey, with a little bit of mayonnaise to hold it all together. It’s a great combination and a very impressive sandwich the way it’s usually served: with three layers stretching far above the plate.
Although club sandwiches are most often associated with delis and diners, they are great sandwiches to make at home. The components are all things that we often have in our kitchens already (you keep bacon on hand, don’t you?). Freshly roasted, sliced turkey is going to make the very best sandwich so the day after Thanksgiving is the perfect day to make one. That said, go for good quality deli meat and you can still make this delicious sandwich any day of the year.
There aren’t any tricks to making this sandwich perfectly as long as you use good quality ingredients and fresh, crispy toast. The only thing you can do to improve on that is to try and get your bacon as flat and crispy as possible, so it fits into the sandwich easily and adds crunchy contrast as well as flavor. Get thicker bacon if you can get it. Starting your bacon in a cold pan will help keep it relatively flat while you cook it, and in just a few minutes you’ll have perfect bacon for your perfect turkey club.
Does anyone besides me have leftover turkey around the house today?
Thanksgiving is one holiday where people look forward to leftovers just as much as they do to the actual dinner. There is always a ton of food to work with (especially if your family is anything like mine and tends to overcook for the original meal) and there are lots of things you can do with those leftovers for a whole weekend of variety.
My favorite thing to make with leftover turkey, as I’ve mentioned before, is a good sandwich. Sandwiches just seem like so much less effort than anything really cooked, like soup or a similar dish that requires lots of prep, and are incredibly satisfying. This particular sandwich is a good one, too. It’s a combination of turkey, cranberry sauce and brie, toasted until it is a hot and melty panini sandwich. The cranberry sauce (or cranberry jelly) adds tartness and a lot of moisture to the sandwich, while the creamy brie holds it all together. It is absolutely idea for leftover chicken or turkey, but will work just as well with deli-sliced turkey on a non-holiday basis.
If you don’t have a panini maker or are simply want something a tiny bit quicker than a hot sandwich, you can easily use this combination for a regular sandwich. Just soften the brie at room temperature to make it easier to slice and layer everything on your favorite sandwich bread and eat it that way. It won’t have the same meltiness as the panini, but as you can see from the photo below, it still looks plenty tempting.