So the guests are gone, the house is clean and the only evidence left of a Thanksgiving feast is the leftovers packed high in your fridge. Ah, what to do about them turkey leftovers!
Have no fear dear reader because we happen to be in the same boat. But unlike most households where leftovers are a bi-product of Turkey Day, in our household, we cooked a 20lb turkey for the sole purpose of having “leftovers”.
This is the first post of a multi-part series on how to transform turkey leftovers into a grand encore performance.
If you think some of these recipes are brain dead, you are spot on. If a leftover recipe takes more than 10 minutes of prep time, then it doesn’t deserve the name “leftover”.
One of the keys to having great leftover meals is making sure you properly store the leftovers. Freeze anything you don’t think you can use in 5 days in meal-sized portions so that you can slowly defrost parts of the leftovers as you get through the stuff remaining in the fridge.
– Turkey: I like to mix portions of the white and dark meat into individual serving sizes (think a deck of cards) and wrap them up in foil. For those who have cooked foil wrapped food on a campfire during childhood, you will recall that when you wrap it, make sure that all seams are crimped securely and as much air is removed as possible. This allows anyone to remove a couple of these packets from the fridge, defrost and either microwave or stick in a toaster oven. If your turkey was a little dry, stick a teaspoon of gravy in the packet as well.
– Gravy: For any extra gravy, I like to portion it out into 4-day supply freezer bag packets. That way you can slowly defrost or stick in hot water, pour out the ice cube and nuke it. Some people like to use an ice cube tray and freeze it that way…an option if you really want to portion things out that granular.
– Stuffing: I prefer not to freeze stuff and since I didn’t stuff a turkey, I only made enough to last for the next couple of days before I can make a fresh batch.
– Mashed potatoes: Ditto.
Classic Open Face Turkey Sandwich
Great comfort food, can be easily eaten in front of a football game.
Ingredients: 1 pack of turkey leftover, 1/2 cup of gravy (more/less based on preference), 1 hamburger bun, 1/2 cup of stuffing, salt, pepper
Options: Cranberry sauce, frozen peas
Serving Size: 1
Assume all the ingredients is coming from the fridge.
Toast the hamburger bun until golden brown. You can also use regular slices of bread but I find the thicker, fluffier hamburger bun tastes better. I also like to use the type with sesame seeds on it.
Get a medium-size, microwaveable bowl and put in the stuffing, layer in the turkey and pour the gravy (or scoop depending on how thick you’ve made your gravy…I like the thick stuff). Cover and nuke for 4 minutes on high. Let stand for 1 minute.
Put the hamburger buns open-faced on a large platter. Put a tablespoon of gravy on each bun and then spoon on the stuffing, then turkey, then pour remaining gravy on.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on for taste. Add any “options” you may have wanted. Serve.
Dressed Up Variation – “I Still Love Turkey” Turkey Pie
Instead of hamburger bun, use ready made pie crusts in a large pie plate or individual ramekins. Bake until golden brown, use pie weights to hold the crust down. Prepare other ingredients as noted above. Spoon into the pie crust. Dress up with fresh cranberries.
The inspiration behind this variation is from the movie “Waitress” which I just saw yesterday.