There are many different traditions revolving around the Thanksgiving holiday. With many different families and cultures comes many different ideas, traditions, meanings and perspectives. The one thing that remains consistent throughout the cultural and generational differences is food – lots and lots of food. Thanksgiving is focused around food, generally more food then can possibly be eaten in one meal. The more people attending the meal, the more food there is prepared. The more food that is prepared, the more leftovers there are at the end.
Soup and sandwiches are rather common, tasty treats that often involve only the turkey or ham, leaving the rest of the leftovers wondering what their fate will become. Sandwiches can also quickly become boring and dull beyond the day after Thanksgiving refrigerator raid. While the meat has plenty of options, it seems the fate of leftover vegetables and side dishes often involves the filling of an unsuspecting trash can or compost pile. Many of these side dishes, along with the leftover meat, can be easily transformed into new and exciting main course meals. The following recipes are budget friendly ways to keep the unsuspecting side dishes from ending up in the landfill.
Turkey (or Ham, Goose, Duck, etc) Pot Pie
Making pot pies is a simple way to use up those vegetable side dishes and meat. Regardless of the Thanksgiving meat used, pot pies are an excellent way to use a variety of refrigerator leftovers. To make pot pies, select the leftovers to use. This may include any combination of meat, potatoes, yams, cranberries, green bean casserole, stuffing or dressing and gravy. Cut up your leftovers into a large bowl. Add gravy to the mixture for moisture. Line a pie tin with a nine-inch crust, fill with mixture and top with another pie crust. Make slits in the top for ventilation and bake at 350 until golden brown and hot throughout the center. If individual servings are preferred, a muffin tin may be lined with small circles cut from pie crust, filled, and topped then baked in the same manner.
Fried Bread Balls
Fried bread is a wonderful treat, especially when made from leftover stuffing or dressing full of herbs and spices. To make this wonderfully seasoned fried bread, simply roll a spoonful of stuffing into tight balls. Over medium heat, add canola oil to a frying pan and fry bread balls until golden brown. These are wonderful served hot and dipped in cranberry sauce or reheated gravy.
Leftover mashed potatoes, yams or sweet potatoes, squash and cranberry sauce can be combined together, reheated and mashed, for a wonderful new side dish to accompany reheated leftover meat. This is wonderful alone or when used to dip the turkey or fried bread balls. This can also be thickened and shaped into patties. Fry the potato patties in butter or olive oil on both sides until golden brown.
By using the above ideas, along with a little creativity, the fate of all those holiday leftovers can be much more then soup, sandwiches, dog scraps or compost.