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Post-holiday help with leftovers

Categories: Hacking Life, Making Time, Uncategorized, cooking, do more with less

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This year was only the second one in nearly two decades in which I did not cook all or most of a ginormous feast for Thanksgiving. The first time was last year, and then I missed it so much that I cooked everything the next day, just so I could have leftovers to munch on. This year, I made two side dishes and didn’t miss cooking the main part much; my brother’s in-laws sent us home from their house with an ample supply of leftovers.

But you may be staring down half a turkey and a quart of cranberry sauce and wondering what to do with it all, let alone the sweet potatoes and the mashed potatoes and the rest of it. Here are some suggestions:

Turkey: Pretty much anything you do with a leftover roasted chicken you can also do with leftover turkey, once you’re tired of making Thanksgiving sandwiches.

Cranberries: Use some good country-style bread (or gather up the leftover rolls, if you have any), cut it into cubes, and toast the oven until they’re a little bit golden. Then use them and the cranberry sauce to make a decadent cranberry bread pudding, like this one from

Sweet potatoes: Scrape off the marshmallows and mash them (if they’re not mashed already), and use them in sweet potato biscuits — this recipe from Adam Ried is lovely. I also mix in 8 ounces of cooked, crumbled sausage and a little sage. They are divine for breakfast.

Green beans: If they’re mushroom-soup-free, saute them with tomatoes and basil; if they’re coated with sauce and fried onions, slice them into thinner strips and add them to a cream-based pasta sauce or brown some crumbled sausage and create a new casserole. (Vegetarian? Skip the bacon, and use them to make a rich frittata.)

Brussels Sprouts: What, your family does make these every year? You should try them, tossed with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and chunks of crispy bacon and then roasted in the oven. If you have any left over after that, shred them and use them, along with potatoes and some chopped turkey or yummy holiday ham, to make a healthy breakfast hash.

Stuffing: Use it to stuff something else, like a roulade, or update a chicken pot pie with leftover turkey meat in a bechamel sauce and a sturdy stuffing crust.

Mashed (regular) potatoes: Shepherd’s pie cries out to be topped with creamy mashed potatoes, which are then broiled to make a slightly stiff crust on top. This recipe from Rachael Ray promises to take only 30 minutes from start to finish, perfect if you’re tired to spending time in the kitchen after the big Thanksgiving meal.

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