What To Do With All Those Leftovers!?!

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November 30, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

Our Thanksgiving dinner with Chris’ firm was an interesting one. The British interpretation of our most excessive food filled holiday is not quite on par with what I’m used to. One year, apparently the organizer asked that the caterers be sure to include pumpkin pie. They ended up with cubed pieces of pumpkin in a pastry shell. Hmmm…

So for our dinner Thursday, my expectations were low. The passed appetizers were almost entirely of the Asian variety, veggie spring rolls, duck and cashew wontons, etc. While for the most part they were not offensive, they made me feel like we were in the final scene of A Christmas Story, where the neighbors dogs got into their house and ate the turkey so the family had to go out for Chinese food.

And I guess they didn’t want to pick sides on the sausage or bacon stuffing debate so they just kept it plain and topped the entire meal with bacon wrapped sausages. Sure.

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I was excited for the “Sticky Toffee Pecan Pudding” hopeful that it would be a delicious merger of the British sticky toffee pudding and our pie. In the end it was not. It was just a slice of pecan pie. And the sad part was that they offered a choice of that or pumpkin pie. Isn’t the point of Thanksgiving that you don’t have choices? You just say yes to all the options?

But if you did not have a fancy plated (aka limited portion) Thanksgiving dinner, you are probably thinking, “What the hell am I going to do with all these leftovers?” Don’t worry, I realize there are only so many turkey sandwiches you can handle. I have some great tips for transforming your favorite dishes into something new and exciting.

If you have mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts, bonus if their is bacon in your Brussels, I love turning these into potato cakes and serving them with grilled sausages. I of course went on a hunt for Kielbasa sausages, which is what I have served with these cakes in the past. But no dice. Instead I found whole grain mustard and onion sausages which worked but the texture was a bit weird. Oh well.

Leftover Mashed Potato and Brussels Sprout Cakes with Grilled Sausage: A Broad Cooking

No recipe required, just mix up small pieces of Brussels sprouts with mashed potatoes and form them into cakes. Then pan fry them in a few tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan.

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I used our spinach gratin as a stuffing for chicken breasts. I was FaceTime-ing with a friend just before Thanksgiving while she was making a Kale and Pancetta Gratin. I suggested that kale would also be an amazing filling. Plus you could easily prepare the chicken breasts, then freeze them to use for a quick dinner when things get hectic over the holidays.

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I served them over leftover sweet potatoes and a quick lemon butter pan sauce.

Chicken Stuffed w/ Spinach Gratin over Sweet Potatoes & a Lemon Butter Sauce - a great way to  use up Thanksgiving leftovers: A Broad Cooking

Since I didn’t make the Campbell’s green bean casser-ific casserole this year, I used my leftover green beans and turkey to make a creamy wild rice version.

Leftover Turkey & Green Bean Casserole: A Broad Cooking

Toss diced turkey, rice, and green beans with a creamy cheesy sauce for a comforting warm dinner.

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It bakes up to a beautiful golden brown and totally transforms your leftovers into something new but just as comforting as the original Thanksgiving meal.

Leftover Turkey & Green Bean Casserole: A Broad Cooking

Leftover Green Bean & Turkey Casserole

Serves 4

2 cups leftover green beans and mushrooms

2 cups chopped turkey

2 cups cooked wild rice pilaf

2 Tbs butter

2 Tbs flour

2 cups milk

2 cups shredded gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

In a large bowl, mix together the green beans, turkey, and wild rice. Set aside.

In a saucepot, melt butter. Whisk in flour and stir for 1 minute. Add milk, ½ cup at a time, whisking out any clumps. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, until thickened. Turn off the heat and melt in 1½ cups of the shredded cheese.

Pour sauce into the bowl with the turkey mixture. Mix and pour into a greased casserole dish. Top with the remaining ½ cup of gruyere.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbly.

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