Still struggling with a fridge full of holiday leftovers that are oh-so-delicious but are definitely in need of a menu makeover? Look no further. Here are some tasty ways to tweak what the holidays leave behind.
The days after Thanksgiving would be absolutely meaningless without leftovers, and it might be also one of those occasions when there’s no food going to waste.
GETTING CREATIVE EN LA COCINA
Have you realized that all holiday leftovers, everything—the sides, the stuffing, the desserts, the biscuits, the turkey—everything tastes even better in the days after the fabulous feast?
To me, that’s one of the best part of the holidays. Or at least what I remember to be some of the most delicious bites as a child…when the stress, the rush and everyone was gone; when the flavors had settled and the peace of the day after found me creating my new personal combinations in the solitude of the kitchen. It is pure creativity and deliciousness in action.
EVERYTHING’S A KEEPER
So make more of everything, especially cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, candied yams, and of course, stuffing! Oh, and don’t discard that turkey carcass—it makes a wonderful soup even more so served with leftover biscuits if you didn’t devour them for breakfast with heavenly spreads.
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Here are some quick, stress-free, ideas for holiday leftovers—from turkey paella, enchiladas, turkey noodle soup, and gratin of pasta, turkey and mushrooms, to enjoy every bite of your Thanksgiving meal and relive it all over again.
STACKED ENCHILADAS WITH TURKEY & CHIPOTLE BEANS
2 10-oz cans enchilada sauce (medium-hot)
1 16-oz refried beans
1 T chopped canned chipotle chiles with their sauce
16 corn tortilla
1 C green onions, chopped, divided
Turkey meat, leftovers
1½ C Monterey Jack cheese, grated
½C queso blanco, divided
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Sour cream, optional
- Preheat oven to 200ºF.
- Over medium heat, in a medium skillet, bring sauce to simmer. Reduce heat to low.
- Combine beans and chipotles in a different pan over medium heat. Stir until heated through. Remove from heat.
- Dip 1 tortilla into sauce. Transfer to an ovenproof plate or tray. Spread bean mixture on top. Top with green onions.
- Dip another tortilla, place on top of the other one, spread bean mixture, turkey meat, and green onions.
- Dip another tortilla into sauce, place on top of the other ones and spread turkey and cheese on top.
- Dip a fourth one into sauce, place on top of the rest, sprinkle with queso fresco. Repeat procedure with the remaining tortillas and ingredients.
- Once done, transfer to oven and cook until just heated through.
- Drizzle remaining sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle with diced tomatoes, avocado, chopped cilantro, a splash of lime juice, and a dollop of sour cream on the side.
GRATIN OF PASTA, TURKEY & WILD MUSHROOMS
12 ounces dry pasta (penne, rigattoni, farfalle), cooked
2 T unsalted butter
½ C shallots, sliced
1 lb. mushrooms (shiitake, porcini, baby bella, portobello)
2 T fresh thyme, chopped
2 T fresh tarragon
1 T fresh rosemary
1½ C turkey gravy
1½ C Gruyere cheese, grated, divided
½ C heavy cream
3 C turkey meat, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Butter a ceramic backing dish (13x9x2-inch).
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, melt butter; add shallots and saute for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and herbs. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add pasta, gravy, 1 cup of cheese, and cream to the mushrooms. Stir to blend and combine.Mix in turkey. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Transfer pasta to buttered baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake until sauce is bubbling around edges and tips of pasta are golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from oven, let it cool 5 minutes and serve.
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TURKEY NOODLE SOUP WITH GINGER & JALAPEÑOS
4 ounces rice noodles
6 C homemade turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth, organic
½ C shallots, sliced
6 thick slices fresh ginger
2 T low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 T Sriracha sauce
2 C turkey meat, chopped
Fresh bean sprouts
Fresh cilantro leaves
Jalapeños, thinly sliced
Lime wedges, to squeeze over
- Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with enough boiling water.
- Let stand 5 minutes, and drain.
- In a large pot, combine stock, shallots, ginger, soy sauce, and Sriracha sauce.
- Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover partially, and let simmer for 10 minutes or so.
- Return to boil and add noodles and turkey. Let simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Serve in bowl soups with bean sprouts, cilantro, jalapeños and lime wedges.
Happy Thanksgiving and The Days After!