Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are known for traditional family meals, typically revolving around a large roasted turkey and a table full of side dishes. The leftovers are nearly as coveted as the main meal, but several days of refrigerated turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole can get old to even the most hardcore holiday meal enthusiast. The trick to managing the leftovers is to mix it up some. Here are some ideas that will leave your family thankful that Thanksgiving leftovers are gone.
A nice homemade turkey soup is a great option for getting rid of the last bit of the leftover bird. The trick to making a delicious soup is the quality of the stock. At Thanksgiving, you have all the makings of a great stock if you plan in advance to keep the leftover turkey carcass. Although you won't be eating the soup for a few days, do yourself a favor and make the stock after your turkey is picked clean. Cut the carcass into large pieces and put it into a pot with about 12 cups of water. Cut a couple of carrots, one celery stalk and a medium sized onion into large pieces, and add them along with some black pepper. Then, bring it to a low boil and keep it there for about two hours, making sure that it doesn't foam over. Once it's finished, strain the stock into another pot. If you're not ready to make your soup, you can freeze the stock until you need it. If it's soup time, add some diced carrots, onion and celery along with some shredded turkey. For the spice, you can use salt and pepper, sage, thyme and poultry seasoning. About 3 to 4ounces of egg noodles is all that's left to make a deliciously disguised turkey soup.
Turkey Pot Pie
This comfort food is a great option for holiday leftovers, and you can incorporate the extra turkey stock that you didn't use in the soup. First, take 3 cups of stock and heat it in a sauce pan over medium heat. Vigorously whisk in flour just a little bit a time, making sure that it doesn't clump, until you have a nice, thick gravy-like consistency. Once your thick soup base is ready, add in shredded turkey, diced carrots, celery and onion and green peas. Let this cook over a low burner until it's nice and hot. Add your spices: thyme, dill, salt, pepper and sage. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius) and spoon the pot pie mix into your pie crust. If you want to save time, you can buy a ready-made pie crust and a can of oven-bake biscuits to save you some time. Cover the pie with your biscuit halves, slightly overlapping them and pressing them into the edges of the crust. Beat one egg and brush the top of the biscuits before putting it into the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the outer shell is a nice, shiny golden brown, and enjoy.
If the microwave is more your speed for post-holiday cooking, how about some turkey nachos? Just load a plate full of tortilla chips, shredded cheese and turkey, and toss it in the microwave until the cheese is melted and the turkey is warm. Add some lettuce, tomatoes or even a little leftover cranberry sauce instead of the usual salsa for a Thanksgiving nachos extravaganza. You can also grind up that turkey and add it to spaghetti sauce, or mix it with eggs and a little cheese for a delicious breakfast casserole.