Turn your turkey day feast into tasty second eats

If your home is like most, the end of the Thanksgiving holiday begets yet another long holiday feast called the Eating of the Leftovers. So what can you do with the leftover carved turkey, bowls of stuffing, cranberry salad, cooked carrots and more? With a few items you probably have stocked in your pantry, leftovers can magically return to the table as delicious encores from a memorable meal. And with a little planning, those Thanksgiving leftovers can go a long way toward pleasing your family’s taste buds again this holiday season.


Thanksgiving Hand Pies

(as seen in the photo at the beginning of this post)

Two 14.1-ounce packages store-bought pie crusts
Flour for dusting
1/2 cup sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup stuffing
1/3 cup roasted turkey, diced to 1/4 inch
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
1 large egg
1 tablespoon whole milk
Gravy for dipping

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out pie crusts on a lightly floured surface to remove any creases in the prepared dough. Cut out rounds of dough with a 4- to 5-inch round cutter and transfer them to the baking sheet. Gather and reroll the scraps, if necessary; you will need an even number of dough cutouts for a top and bottom crust.

Spread 1 teaspoon sweet potato in an even layer over half of each round, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edge. Top each with 2 teaspoons stuffing, 2 teaspoons diced turkey and 1 teaspoon cranberry sauce. Repeat this for as many hand pies as you wish to make.

Whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash around the edges of each dough round. Lay a piece of dough on top of each filled round and press the edge together with a fork to seal.

Brush the top of each hand pie with the remaining egg wash. Make 3 small slits with a paring knife on the top of each pie to let the steam escape. Bake until the dough is cooked through and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve with warm gravy on the side for dipping.

Milanese-style Turkey

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 jar mushroom gravy
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups dry breadcrumbs
Canola oil
Turkey breast, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
Two packages of prepared long-grain rice, optional

For salad:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 ounces arugula
Crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese (or any cheese left over from the holiday cheese plate)

Heat the 2 tableespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown and liquid has evaporated. Add 1 cup of turkey gravy, thyme and enough wine just to dilute slightly. Cook until heated through. Keep warm over low heat.

Place the flour on a large plate and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together the eggs and 1 tablespoon of water in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1/4 cup of canola oil in a medium saute pan for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Dredge the sliced turkey breast in the flour, tap off excess then dip in the egg wash letting any excess drip off, then dredge in the breadcrumbs.

Place the turkey in the oil and cook until just golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Heat long-grain rice as directed on package; set aside.

For salad: Whisk together the vinegar, molasses, mustard and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until combined. Add the arugula to the bowl and toss to coat; season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Spoon some of the mushroom gravy on four large plates, then place a serving of hot rice over the gravy. Top with two pieces of the turkey. Place a serving of the arugula salad beside the turkey, sprinkle with cheese, drizzle with dressing and serve.

Carrot-Cranberry Muffins

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup pureed cooked carrots
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups dried cranberries or craisins, rehydrated in warm water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-serving, regular-sized 1/2-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together.
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter on medium speed until lightened. With the speed on low, slowly add the sugar. Increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating and scraping down the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula. Add the carrot puree and orange zest and beat until well combined. With the mixer set on low, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined; do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a rubber spatula, gently fold the cranberries into the batter until evenly distributed.

Evenly divide the batter among the lined muffin cups and sprinkle a little sugar over the top of each. Bake in the center of the oven until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from the pan and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Waldorf Turkey Salad

2 cups cooked turkey, shredded
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 crisp apple, such as Gala or Macintosh, cored and chopped (peeling left on)
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
Lettuce of choice, optional garnish

In a large bowl, gently toss the turkey, celery, apple, grapes and pecans until combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, honey, salt and garlic until combined. Add the dressing mixture to the turkey, season with additional salt and pepper, if desired, and toss gently to evenly coat.

To serve, lay lettuce over the serving platter, top with the dressed turkey salad and serve immediately.

Easy Turkey Pitas

1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cups leftover turkey, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced or thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, cut into small pieces
Toasted walnuts, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Pita bread halves
Fresh romaine lettuce

In a medium-sized bowl, combine honey, cranberry sauce and yogurt. Add turkey, onion, celery and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper to preference. Spoon mixture into pita halves lined with lettuce, additional onion slices and tomato, if desired.

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