Tips for making the most from your leftover Thanksgiving feast

Simon and Dora Posey in the kitchen with their grandmother, Cindy Praytor, helping to cook up something good using Uncle Scott Praytor’s fresh from the farm eggs.

All the work and preparation that goes into shopping, baking, roasting and cleaning up after your Thanksgiving meal results in leftovers. What to do with them:

First, if you have a food bank or a church or local mission that feeds needy families in your area, they would surely appreciate anything you have to offer. Check with them before ever tossing good food into the wastebasket.

Next, if you’ve seen the movie, ‘The Christmas Story’ in which the family dinner gets eaten by a pack of neighborhood dogs, then you will remember the list of things that Ralphie’s family looked forward to after Thanksgiving: turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey gravy, turkey hash, Turkey a la King and gallons of turkey soup!

Well, those are dishes that we can all have with a little ingenuity and effort, and leftover turkey, of course!  

First order of importance at our house - turkey sandwiches, using really good bread, like the Monk’s Bread or if you don’t have access to that, you might try Lewis Deli Sesame Rolls or other good quality rolls, which have been lightly buttered on both sides and toasted in the oven until golden brown, then layer: mayo and/or mustard as desired, lettuce, tomato, cheese slices and turkey, salt/pepper optional. Or serve open-faced chopped turkey on toasted rolls with warm turkey gravy, topped with shredded cheese if desired. 

Turkey soups vary from family to family and region to region. Most call for, of course, leftover turkey, to which any drippings or gravy can be added. Use any leftover raw veggies, like carrots, English peas, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery and onions, even your creamed potatoes can go in your soup for added hardiness. If you have saved your turkey skeleton, cover with water (about two quarts). Boil it for a while to get out all of the flavor, then discard, making sure to remove all bones. If you didn’t save the turkey carcass or your chicken broth, you can use a couple of chicken bouillon cubes to add more flavor to your soup, just remember that you won’t need to add additional salt because bouillon cubes are heavy on sodium. You can also add spices to your taste, including poultry seasoning, thyme, garlic and pepper. Boil until veggies are tender and soup has thickened.  Serve with leftover rolls or crackers.  

 

Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder is another way to utilize leftover turkey and will warm you up if the weather turns cold! 

Here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup chopped onions 

1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped, divided 

2-3 Tbsp. butter or margarine 

4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed 

2-3 cups shredded cooked turkey 

1 can (14.75 oz.) cream-style corn 

2 cups chicken broth (fat-free is fine)

1 cup milk 

Cracked black pepper and salt to taste

Optional, chopped green onions, Pepper Jack Cheese

Sauté onions and half the red pepper in butter in a saucepan on medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add to soup pot.

Add cream cheese, cook on low heat 3 to 4 minutes or until melted, stirring constantly to keep from sticking. Stir in turkey, corn, broth and milk. 

Cook 5 min. or until soup is heated through, stirring occasionally. Garnish with chopped green onions, remaining bell pepper, Pepper Jack Cheese and/or black pepper. Serve with hot cornbread or crackers. 

 

Barbecue Turkey

Shred leftover turkey into small pieces. Place in a Dutch oven with the following ingredients:

2 cups catsup 

1 tablespoon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons Coca Cola

Garlic and onion salt to taste

If you have an excessive amount of turkey, double recipe for sauce.

Toss turkey with sauce in Dutch oven, then cook at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, tossing twice during cooking process. 

Serve on hamburger buns with slaw and chips. 

 

Turkey Pot Pie

Even a novice cook can prepare this dish with success! 

Roll out two Pillsbury pie crusts on a floured surface.

In a saucepan with your turkey pieces (approximately 2 cups)  

Add the following:

One large can of cream of chicken soup

Half stick of butter

One can of English peas, drained 

One can diced carrots, drained, or leftover carrots, diced

Two small potatoes, diced

One small onion, finely chopped 

(If you don’t have these in your pantry, one large can of Veg-All will substitute very well)

Add spices to taste: garlic, salt, pepper, poultry seasonings, chicken bouillon cube.

Stir and cook over low heat until soup and butter are melted and blended. 

Place bottom of first crust in a deep dish pie plate.

Carefully pour ingredients from saucepan into crust, stopping when it is ¾ full. 

Top with remaining crust, crimping edges and pricking in the center with the tines of a fork to let steam escape. 

Set pie plate on an aluminum or parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Bake at 350 deg. for 50 minutes or until golden brown. (After 20 minutes cover edges of crust with strips of aluminum foil or pie crust shields)

Cindy Praytor of Moulton, has a great method for making her chicken broth richer and more flavorful. 

She saves her bones and skin after de-boning her boiled chicken. “I put those together with the leafy tops of leftover celery and chop up some onions and add to the chicken scraps, then I put them in an oven-safe, covered dish and pop them in the oven at 500 for about thirty minutes, this gets the fat out of the skin and gets it slightly crispy.” 

After removing from oven, Cindy adds four cups of hot water and returns the dish to the oven, now set on 350 degrees, for an additional 2 hours. 

“Now just remove from oven and let it get cold, and skim the fat from the broth,” Cindy instructed. 

At this point, Cindy says you can freeze the broth, adding it to the broth she saved from boiling the chicken or use it in various dishes, like chicken and dumplings or chicken pot pie and of course, dressing. It freezes very well and comes in handy when you want to have a richer, more flavorful broth.

You can also add more celery and onions and some poultry seasoning to make it even richer, especially for soups and stews. 

We at The Moulton Advertiser hope you have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and hopefully you can use some of these tips to stretch your Thanksgiving meal into even more great holiday dishes! 

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