Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Truth be told, I like all holidays. Seeing as I love to eat, however, and that’s the primary activity associated with Thanksgiving, it is on the top of the list. I also love watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
As far as the food, I love all the traditional favorites, of course, the star of the show, the turkey, the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce and more. I often make green pea salad as well even though I’m really the only one who eats it and macaroni and cheese, too. And then there’s the pumpkin pie!
While I’m not usually a big fan of leftovers, Thanksgiving is one of the exceptions. I will eat the Thanksgiving leftovers until they are all gone and then I cry for more.
I typically just reheat and eat the leftovers exactly like they were served the first time around, but many people find creative ways to recycle the Thanksgiving leftovers.
Turkey salad, turkey sandwiches and turkey pot pie are common revamps for the leftover turkey meat. Last year I also used the bones to make some homemade turkey stock.
My friend LeDon makes a special sandwich she calls The Ultimate Leftover Gobbler Sandwich.
LeDon says use slices of turkey topped with bacon, swiss or provolone, lettuce and tomato on a whole grain bread with cranberry mayo (3 tbsp. mayonnaise,1 tbsp. cranberry sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper) and it will make the post Thanksgiving blues disappear.
My sorority sister Bee told me about a very unique way to use the Thanksgiving leftovers that her husband created.
“Brian makes Thanksgiving pancakes — he takes all the leftovers and smushes them together and fries them up like pancakes. Then we invite all our friends over to eat them. It’s an annual weekend tradition!” Bee said.
At first I couldn’t quite imagine what that would be like, but the more I thought about it, it sounds pretty amazing. Potato cakes made from leftover mashed potatoes is a favorite dish of mine, so why not make extraordinary potato cakes using some turkey and stuffing mixed up in the potato mixture and then fried. Bee said to use the left over gravy and cranberry sauce as the “syrup” for these Thanksgiving pancakes.
If you are really wanting to spice things and try adding a different flavor to your turkey day remains, my sister Amanda, who hails from New Mexico, recommends Green Chili Turkey Enchiladas. In New Mexico green and red chilies are common ingredients in cooking. I’m not sure that here in North Carolina we can get our hands on the same type of green chilies, but using the canned green chilies might work. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Green Chili Turkey Enchilada Casserole (recipe adapted from food.com)
• 1 lb shredded cooked boneless turkey meat
• 1 can diced green chilies
• 1 can cream of mushroom soup
• 1 can cream of chicken soup
• 2 soup cans of milk (or water)
• 2 dozen corn tortillas
• 2 cups shredded cheese (colby, munster, jack or mixture)
Combined all ingredients except turkey, tortillas and cheese in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
After sauce mixture has simmered for about 5 minutes, begin assembling in a large casserole dish. Add a layer of sauce, a layer of tortillas, a layer of turkey meat, a layer of cheese and repeat. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. After 10 minutes of cooling down, it is ready to be served.
Kitsey Burns Harrison is a reporter for The Yadkin Ripple, here she shares her musings on food, life and love. She can be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.