What to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers
It's not too late to try some recipes that will transform your leftovers into brand new dishes.
The best part of the post Thanksgiving feast is the luscious leftovers. The key is to figure out what to do with the turkey, cranberry sauce and sweet and mashed potatoes. We hope the flavors and warmth of Thanksgiving linger just a little bit longer to tide us over until Christmas.
Now that we are done with the classic flavors of the holiday. We long for different herbs and spices, we look to transform the traditional dishes into something different, relying on ethnic dishes or American classics. Putting the sandwich aside; soups, casseroles, entrees, desserts, muffins and pancakes can round out the different uses for the left over foods.
For the turkey left overs one of my favorite choices is Caldo Tlalpeňo. It is a Mexican soup, usually made with chicken, named after the largest borough in the Federal District of Mexico City, Tlalpan. The word Tlalpan is from the indigenous Aztec language, Náhuatl, which means "on the land". I learned to make this version of the soup at The Four Seasons in Mexico City, although there are others.
The backbone of this soup is the stock. You can use your turkey bones to enrich a store bought chicken stock. I also add a bouquet garnis of cilantro stems, crushed garlic, dried chipotle and guajillo peppers. All of the following authentic Mexican ingredients are available at La Morena grocery store in Manchester. The dried and canned chiles, avocados and limes are available at Walmart in Manchester as well.
- 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
- 2 cups green beans (use leftovers if available)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced1 sprig epazote1 onion, finely choppedsalt and pepper to taste
- 2 quarts turkey stock
- 2 – 3 cups boneless, skinless turkey (leftovers), shredded
- limes, quartered
- 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
- 3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 2 zucchinis, diced
- 1 cup panela cheese, cubed
- 2-4 Chipotle chiles in adobo (depending on how spicy you like it), finely diced
Saute garlic and onion in the olive oil until tender. Add turkey stock (with bouquet garnis removed), epazote, tomato puree, carrots and zucchini, simmer for 10 minutes. Add chipotle chiles, left over green beans and shredded turkey to the soup and continue to simmer another 10 minutes until vegetables are tender and the turkey is heated through out.
For a more substantial soup that could be used as an entree, diced potatoes, corn, garbanzos or rice can be added.
Serve the Caldo Tlalpeňo hot with cilantro, avocado, limes, and cheese on the side to garnish to taste.
Cranberries and cranberry sauce are always great baking items. You can make cranberry pancakes, muffins, brownies or cookies. In any of these recipes you can substitute one third to one half of the cranberry sauce for the liquid. My favorite, as a chocolate addict, is cranberry chocolate brownies. The combination of cranberries with their sweet tart flavor and health benefits with chocolate and all of its feel good chemicals along with delicious taste will revive you after your holiday dinner and black Friday shopping.
This is basically a chocolate brownie recipe with your cranberry sauce added. You can find the almond and vanilla extracts at Whole Foods in Town and Country as well as Walmart in Manchester.
Simple recipes can be transformed with a couple of drops of extracts, many varieties available at these local stores. For example if you are allergic to nuts, you can use orange extract and Cointreau liquor to flavor the following brownies.
Chocolate Cranberry Brownies
- 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt1 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped (or any unsalted nuts left from thanksgiving)
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup cranberry sauce (fresh sauce is best but jellied will do the trick)
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a mixer (or by hand) combine melter butter with the cocoa powder, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract until well blended. Whisk chocolate mixture into flour mixture, add cranberry sauce and nuts and mix just until blended.
Coat a 9 x 13 inch brownie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into baking pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool.
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup cranberry sauce (for smooth frosting strain fresh sauce or use jellied sauce)
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
Mix butter, cocoa powder, almond extract, and cranberry sauce well. Add confectioner's sugar and mix until well blended. Frost brownies. Use cranberry juice to thin sauce if necessary.
Your mashed potatoes, turkey and green bean casserole can be used to make a pseudo Shepherd's Pie. Many of your holiday left overs can be transformed into many different things with some imagination.
Hopefully these recipes will tide you over until the next holiday!