Tag Archives: Turkey

More Leftovers, More Creativity

An 18.5 pound turkey for 8 people will leave you with a lot of leftovers. So much, in fact, that my fiancé has had a turkey sandwich for lunch every day so far this week, and we’ve had turkey incorporated in each dinner as well. I like turkey, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t mind not eating it again for awhile.

Even though my fiancé would be happy with just heating up a Thanksgiving leftovers plate night after night, that just won’t cut it for me. Sure, I love mashed potatoes and stuffing and all that good stuff, but for me, it needs to be jazzed up after 3+ days of consumption. So, I decided to make what I’m calling Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole on Tuesday, and Turkey Noodle Soup on Wednesday. Since everything was already prepared it was a matter of assembling the ingredients and warming them up – score!

The Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole was pretty awesome. I usually don’t like when my food gets really combined on my plate, but for whatever reason, I encourage the comingling of flavors on my plate during Thanksgiving. This casserole did just that; it was a big blob of deliciousness and let’s be honest, your food doesn’t always have to be pretty. Of course the ingredients you use and the measurements will depend on what you have available and what you want to use, so you can simply use the recipe below as a guide! I’d be interested to hear the combinations anyone else comes up with.

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

Ingredients:
Sliced Turkey
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Turnips (or other Thanksgiving sides)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a 9×9 greased baking dish, layer stuffing, turkey, turnips, mashed potatoes, and cheddar cheese.
3. Continue to do so until you’ve used what you have left, or however much you want to use.
4. Bake about 20 – 25 minutes, until all layers are warmed and cheese is melted.

I had planned on making a few different things throughout the week, but due to the plethora of Turkey, it wasn’t until Thursday that we actually ate something that wasn’t completely turkey based, but instead was simply an addition. On Wednesday, though, as I mentioned we had Turkey Noodle Soup. The inspiration came from The Runner’s Kitchen, who posted her own version of the soup earlier in the week. Aside from the leftover turkey, I simply added some diced celery and onion, and the only pasta that would seemingly work, spaghetti (that I broke in half) into chicken broth. I’ve been making quite a few soups lately, and they all start with either a chicken or vegetable broth base. They’ve all been super flavorful, and really easy (I’m talking 10 or less ingredients that you simply throw in the pot and wait about 30 minutes).

So if you still have turkey left over, even after making a quesadilla, a casserole, and having it for lunch, try this soup to finish it off!

Turkey Noodle Soup

Ingredients:
½ box noodle pasta (any will do – egg noodle, spaghetti, fettuccine)
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup water
1 cup sliced and shredded turkey
½ yellow onion
2 celery stalks
1/2 cup corn

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Salt
Pepper
Red pepper flakes

Directions:
1. Bring separate pot of water to a boil, cook pasta about 5 minutes (it’ll finish cooking in the soup)
2. While pasta is cooking, chop onion and celery, and sauté till almost translucent (about 5 minutes)
3. Warm chicken broth over medium heat in large pot, adding pasta, celery and onion, followed by turkey and seasonings (salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, etc.). Heat for about 20 minutes, enjoy with some crackers!

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Our Second Thanksgiving

This was the second year in a row that my fiancé and I decided to host Thanksgiving for both our families. We figured it was the easiest way to make sure we could see everyone, and also avoid the whole traveling thing. Plus, since I like cooking, I certainly don’t mind! Last year I enlisted the help of my mom to prepare the turkey and stuffing the day before. This year, though, I decided to be a big girl and do it all on my own.

Our menu was as follows:
– Bruschetta
– Cheese & crackers
– Shrimp Cocktail
– Turkey
– Stuffing with sausage, onion, and celery
– Broccoli casserole
– Cornbread
– Mashed Potatoes
– Mashed Turnips
– Corn
– Cranberry sauce
– Pumpkin Pie
– Apple Pie

Our original plan was to have everyone over around 2pm, with a 3pm eat time. Well, I underestimated the time Ralph (what we named our Turkey – last year it was Charlie) took to cook, so we didn’t eat until about 4:30/5pm. Since we had plenty to munch on and a plethora of beers and wine to chose from, no one seemed to mind. Everything was absolutely delicious, but without the help of both my mom and my fiancé’s mom, it would have been much more stressful.

On Wednesday night we took the time to clean and prepare Ralph, and also make the stuffing. Our turkey was 18.5lbs, so in order to make the stuffing with some left over, I did the following:

Semi-homemade Stuffing
– enough to fill an 18+ lb turkey –

Ingredients:
2 bags Arnold’s herb seasoned cubed dry stuffing

1 onion
3 stalks of celery
1 roll of pork sausage
water (according to Arnold package)
butter (according to Arnold package)

Directions:
1. Chop onions and celery, sautée until almost translucent with about 1 tbsp of butter. Then add sausage, cook until browned.
2. Slowly add stuffing mix, butter, and water, combining along the way until moist and all combined (about 15-20 minutes).
3. If making day-of, once cooled, stuff turkey. If making ahead of time, set in refrigerator until cooled, then stuff accordingly.

I also made the broccoli casserole ahead of time, with the exception of the crust. This recipe actually came from a co-worker who made it during our company Thanksgiving a week earlier. It was so simple and delicious, I thought it would be a nice trade for the typical green bean casserole (though I love that as well). It isn’t the healthiest, but boy is it good.

Broccoli Casserole
– Serves 8-10 –

Ingredients:
1 package Velveta
4 boxes of frozen chopped broccoli (or 2 bags)
40 Salteen crackers (non-salted)
1 stick of butter

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Cook broccoli according to package, saving water when done.
4. Melt 3/4 stick of butter (reserve remaining 1/4 stick for topping)
5. In sauce pot, melt cheese with already melted butter, adding 1/2 cup of leftover broccoli water. Stir constantly until melted.
6. Pour cheese mixture over broccoli, mixing well, add to greased casserole dish.
7. Crumble crackers, melt remaining butter in small sauce pan, adding crumbled crackers. Sauté until butter has coated crackers – be sure not to burn. Sprinkle on top of casserole.
8. Bake 30 minutes, let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday morning involved last minute cleaning, and general preparations. We had to make sure the cheese and crackers (with Hormel pepperoni!) was out, our Magic Hat, Dogfish Head, and Saranac beers were cool, and our Cupcake Vineyards wine was ready to go.

My fiancé’s mom was kind enough to make us her amazing bruschetta (it has huge chunks of tomato and garlic – yum!). She also prepared a huge shrimp cocktail, corn, made delicious corn bread, and gave us the ingredients for making mashed potatoes. My mom took care of her favorites – mashed turnips and delicious cranberry sauce. She also made an apple and pumpkin pie, which at quick glance looked store-bought! We certainly ate well on Thursday, that’s for sure.

Friday evening was Thanksgiving round 2 at my parent’s house. Any year that my family doesn’t have Thanksgiving at home, my mom insists on making her own turkey with all the fixings so she can have leftovers herself. So, we headed over to assist in the devouring of their “measly” 12 pound turkey. After having a Thanksgiving dinner two days in a row, I was unsure how I’d manage to finish the 5 mile Turkey Trot I was signed up for on Saturday.

While it was beautiful outside when looking out the window, gusty winds and a cool temperature made standing around pre-race no fun. Since the race started at 11am, I was thankful the sun was shining. However, I didn’t hand over my jacket until the last possible moment. Unlike your typical Turkey Trots, this particular race was a 5-miler in my hometown that both starts and ends at a nearby park. Once we got started I didn’t mind the cold, but there were points where the wind was blowing directly in my face, making it difficult to breathe. I’ve found that the hardest part about cold weather running, for me, is breathing through all the mucus (gross, I know). I spent a decent part of this race trying to prevent myself from choking. At any rate, I finished in 39:40, a solid 7:56 minute/mile pace (fastest race pace ever!) and was 6th in my age group, 43rd woman, and 206 overall! There were a total of 843 runners. My wonderful fiancé came in 3rd in his age group, 46th man, and 53rd overall. A friend of mine from high school also ran, who is super fast (hello 3:08 marathon!) and was the 2nd female overall, and of course the winner of our age group! Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with bagels, and had Thai for dinner – an overall successful day!

I think it’s safe to say my mini-four day vacation was a complete success. We finished everything off on Sunday with another chilly 8-miler, and some leftover turkey and cheese quesadillas. I’m looking forward to whipping up some interesting recipes with the leftovers throughout the week!

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Turkey Pumpkin Chili

After watching the NYC Marathon on Sunday I was inspired to head out for 5 miles of my own (after all it was World Run Day!). Somehow, I’ve managed to drop my per-mile pace each run I’ve been on post-injury. I suppose my two month break was like an extended taper. If that’s the case, I’ll take it!

For dinner, I decided to make this Turkey Pumpkin Chili recipe from Whole Foods. I think, if I remember correctly, I found it on The Runner’s Kitchen blog, but I can’t be sure. At any rate, it was absolutely delicious. I substituted the jalapeño for habaneros, since the grocery store’s jalapeños were rather wimpy. This of course kicked up the heat a lot, and it was well worth it. Aside from that substitution and an additional tablespoon of chili powder, I followed the rest of the recipe exactly.

There’s really no other way to describe this recipe aside from YUM. It was the perfect consistency. Often times I find that chili is either too soupy, or too thick – this was right in the middle. There was a nice amount of heat, and the beans and puree pumpkin really added a great consistency. Plus, I’d like to think adding the 99% fat-free ground turkey made it healthier than your average chili recipe! Since it serves 6, there’s plenty left for me to enjoy throughout the week.

Turkey Pumpkin Chili
– Serves 6 –

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (more or less depending on your heat preference!)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground white or dark meat turkey
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 cup water
1-2 tablespoon chili powder (I used 2)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned.
2. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

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