Monday, November 28, 2011

Lefting Over: T-Day Ramblings

What do you do with your holiday leftovers? Be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or any other day you have turkey and stuffing and lots and lots of other food? We (my family) usually have a TON of leftover turkey, and just like in everyday life, I'm always the one to take home leftovers. This year, however, we had Thanksgiving at my mom's house and we had a ton of family there for a couple days, so in addition to actual Thanksgiving dinner, everyone was snacking on leftovers and lunching on leftovers. Which left not so much left over by the time I was venturing home. Usually we make turkey soup (and apparently I'm the only one in my family that cares to do this), but this year *someone* threw out the turkey carcass so it couldn't be soup-de-fied. (Side eye to you, Mom.) So this year we had a couple new leftover ideas I thought I'd share with you fine people.

The first was the basic turkey sandwich, but my mom mixed up pieces of turkey with gravy so we had hot open-faced sandwiches (including mashed potatoes and stuffing). I also highly recommend dabbing a little cranberry sauce on top. Trust me, it's good.

Next up was the Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie. I found an idea for this online a week before Thanksgiving, and I must say it's a new favorite. This is my first try at any kind of shepherd's pie because *someone* never gave me their delicious shepherd's pie recipe (Sorry, MIL, but you have to get side eye too on this! Lol.). This uses all kinds of leftovers! I layered peas, cut up sweet potatoes, turkey/gravy mixture, stuffing, then topped with mashed potatoes. Tim told me it wouldn't be shepherd's pie without cheese on top, so I added some swiss I had in the freezer, too (and, ok, I'll admit I had to cook up some peas to add because we didn't have any leftover veggies). Popped it in the oven on 350 degrees for 30 minutes (or until cheese starts to brown). YUM.

As good as that was, I have to say this next one was my favorite:
Sweet Potato Pierogies

This was my first shot at pierogi (pierogies is apparently NOT the plural form, FYI), and I have to say, it wasn’t pretty, but it WAS delicious, so whatever. I’m not up for a food plating contest or anything. I was sitting around my house yesterday trying to figure out what to do with the 4 sweet potatoes we had left. I was going to just have mashed sweet potatoes on the side of some frozen pierogies, but Tim was like “That’s too much potato, can we add some chicken to it?” The last part of that question I ignored, because what you probably don’t realize is that what he wants me to do is pull grilled chicken out of the freezer, dice it up, and just mix it in with the potatoes. Not like he wants me to roast up some delicious chicken or anything.

Anyway, I focused on the “too much potato” part, because, yeah, it was true. And then I went to one of my FAVORITE websites, and typed in sweet potatoes. This website is so cool because there are spots to type in what you crave, what you have, and even to connect your grocery rewards card to the website so it can see what you bought and figure something out for dinner that way. So I typed sweet potatoes into the "I have" area and one of the first recipes to pop up was this one, which is what I adapted for our dinner last night. And let me tell you – YUM times 10!

The recipe even made so many that we’ll at least get one more dinner out of it (I froze the remainder before boiling them). I also obviously had more than two sweet potatoes, so now have at least another batch of pierogi filling that I need to figure out what to do with. Do I wait until I make more pierogi or is there something else I can do with it? I can’t quite figure it out. Other than just sticking a spoon in and eating it. Which I may or may not have done last night. Sweet potatoes + cream cheese = heaven. In case you were wondering.

Last, but not least, I made pumpkin muffins. I’ve done this the past few years, but I feel like it needs to be included with the rest of the leftovers. Does anyone ever use a whole can of pumpkin for pumpkin pie?? I never do! Why don’t they make smaller cans or something? To be fair, maybe it’s because I make pumpkin cheesecake every year, so maybe it uses less pumpkin? I don’t know, I haven’t made a straight up pumpkin pie in years because the cheesecake is just.that.good. Anyway, I even made two pies this year and still didn’t finish the can, then made pumpkin muffins and STILL didn’t finish the can, so I froze the rest. Maybe I’ll figure out something to make with it in my spare time. You know, like, when I’m actually home on a weekend or something. Oh wait, that’s right, I’m not... until 2012.

I also finally perfected the onion chop! As in, the right way to chop an onion. I had read how to do it on a blog, but it was written by someone like me who says things like “cut it down the middle but not down the middle, you know what I mean” and I totally didn’t know what she meant.

So I saw the method in a magazine, with pictures, and finally figured it out. Basically you chop off the end that’s not the root, then make slices into the onion going towards the root, but not cutting all the way through, so it stays intact, then turn the onion back on its’ side and slice down. Ouila, chopped onion! Easy. (Surely I can't be the only one who never knew this before??)

Anyone got any other unique leftover recipes? I have a "leftover" section in one of my recipe folders that could use some filling.



  1. Oooo, shepherds pie good idea! Never had sweet potato perogie, but love pumpkin perogies, will have to try it out.

  2. whoa - pumpkin pierogies?? that could be a use for my STILL leftover pumpkin... although we may get pierogied out.