Thankful for Leftovers Special

After the feast of feasts, the refrigerator is filled with Thanksgiving leftovers. If you didn’t do it yesterday, it’s time to make turkey stock. You’ll also want to organize the rest of the leftovers. If you have room in the freezer, you won’t have to cook for a week, maybe two.

Now, you’re asking … what the heck do I do with it all? Here are a few suggestions:

There is everyone’s favorite … soup:

My Favorite Spicy Chicken (or Turkey) Noodle Soup

Curried Thai Soup with Noodles, Turkey & Vegetables

Turkey Noodle Soup with Spinach

Not feeling soupy? How about:

Leftover Turkey Stir Fry

Black Friday Enchiladas (Turkey & Black Beans Enchiladas)

Cheesy Gratin with Thanksgiving Leftovers

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Bake

Poverty Casserole (Swap out the sausage with leftover turkey.)

Pumpkin Chili with Turkey & Black Beans (Replace the ground turkey with bite sized pieces of leftover turkey.)

If you love roasted vegetables, there’s a chance you made too many. Regardless of the mix – butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, beets or whatever … you can –

Whirl them into soup – use my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe as a guide. Or pile them onto crostini and top with Goat Cheese & Balsamic Reduction. Try them in salad of Kale and Radicchio.

Any and all your roasted veggies will be delicious with Ravioli and Brown Butter, layered in Lasagna or stirred into Risotto.

Have a great weekend! Bon appétit!

For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!!

How are you spending the long holiday weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! target=”_blank”>Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2017

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Thankful for Leftovers Special

ThanksAhh the day after Thanksgiving. Nothing to do but put your feet up, make the turkey stock and … either go for a walk or let out all your pants. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not a Black Friday shopper!) There is so much food in the refrigerator; you won’t need to make dinner for a week, maybe two.

The only question is what to do with all that leftover food … 

… well, here are a few thoughts …

There is everyone’s favorite … soup:

My Favorite Spicy Chicken (or Turkey) Noodle Soup

Curried Thai Soup with Noodles, Turkey & Vegetables

Turkey Noodle Soup with Spinach

Not feeling soupy? How about:

Leftover Turkey Stir Fry

Black Friday Enchiladas (Turkey & Black Beans Enchiladas)

Cheesy Gratin with Thanksgiving Leftovers

Pumpkin Chili with Turkey & Black Beans (Replace the ground turkey with bite sized pieces of leftover turkey.)

If you love roasted vegetables, there’s a chance you made too many. Whether you’ve got roasted butternut squash, carrots, parsnips or a mix, they’re delicious in many, many ways. Enjoy your gently reheated, roasted vegetables in a variety of interesting concoctions:

As an appetizer, try them on Crostini with Goat Cheese & Balsamic Reduction

On a salad of Mixed Greens with Dried Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds and Parmigiano-Reggiano or Arugula with Goat Cheese Salad and Toasted Walnuts.

Go Italian, pull out the pasta machine and have some fun with Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter. Alternatively, you can buy your raviolis and enjoy Ravioli with Roasted Butternut Squash & Browned Butter. Need a few more options, what about  Butternut Squash Lasagna or Squash Risotto?

If all fails, whirl them into soup. Regardless of the veggies, you can probably use my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup as a guide.

slippers_02Need more … alright, here are a few more suggestions.

Have a great weekend! Bon appétit!

For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!!

How are you spending the long holiday weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2016

Something to Talk about this Thanksgiving & Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter

thanksgiving_proclamation_1863_02Woooo-eee! When President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he missed two important consequences. The first is the five Thursday Novembers. Fast forward several decades and the big department stores were none too happy to delay the start of the holiday shopping season. It took a bit of lobbying but FDR eventually re-proclaimed Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November. The second consequence is that, every other year our harvest feast comes right on the heels of an election. Sometimes those elections are calm, even uneventful while others are anything but.

I think we’d all agree that this year’s election was nothing short of prickly. On top of that, the election was held on the last possible date and Thanksgiving is on the early side this year. If it feels like you just voted, you’re right. It was only two weeks ago. Given that nerves may be a little frayed, what will you talk about around the Thanksgiving table? Will you avoid politics or jump in feet first?

It all depends on your friends and family. Some people love nothing better than a raucous political argument. They live for the day when Uncle George arrives with his absurd, antiquated views. Or when that hippie cousin stops by with all her balderdash. With any luck, George and the hippie share that enthusiasm for a raging argument. It’s what some families do. However, if disagreements make you break out in hives, you’ll need some alternative topics of conversation.

Of course, many families are all in agreement. Their ballots match both up and down the ticket. If that’s you and yours and your candidate won, then you’re somewhere between satisfied and ecstatic. After a few high fives, you’ll want to get on to more important things. After all, nothing stops a conversation faster than cheerful agreement.

On the other hand, you might all be in agreement but also in despair. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to lay off the political talk. Save it for Black Friday or a dismal, rainy afternoon during the January Thaw. For now, it’s time to be thankful and take a break from the angst and sorrow.

So then, whether it is fear of fisticuffs, campaign fatigue or whatever, let’s lay off the politics for a day, maybe two. Are you good with that? Assuming your answer is yes; will your friends and family be able to keep up a conversation? It’s not an unreasonable question. If you’re worried that your Thanksgiving feast will be eaten in resounding silence, well then, let’s give ’em somethin’ to talk about.

Thanksgiving is a good time to count our blessings, look to the future and focus on the issues that matter. You know, important stuff like whether the Patriots will make it to the Super Bowl. Once you agree they will, you can move on to debate the virtues of online dating and Coke versus Pepsi. Be sure to save some time to puzzle out if it is El Niño or La Niña that brings all the snow. From there you can discuss alien abduction – truth or fiction, consider if the 1969 moon landing was faked and figure out if there is a heaven for dogs. And what about cats? Artistic types will want to debate where creativity comes from and if shyness is a condition or a choice. And what about those boisterous extroverts?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and bon appétit!

Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter
A delicious way to use up any Thanksgiving leftovers. If you don’t have any leftover squash, well, it’s worth making a new batch! Enjoy!nye_making_ravioli
Serves 4

Butternut Squash Filling
About 1 1/2 cups leftover Roasted & Mashed Butternut Squash, at room temperature
1/2 cup mascarpone or cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Pasta Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Putting it all together
1 large egg
6 tablespoons butter
About 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts or walnuts, toasted
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Make the filling: Put the leftover squash, mascarpone and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a bowl and stir to combine. (Any extra filling makes a great bruschetta topping.)

Make the pasta dough: Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and beat on medium speed to combine. Continue beating while adding the eggs, 1 at a time. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and continue to mix until the dough forms a ball.

Dust your work surface with flour. Knead and fold the dough until elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes.

Put the remaining olive oil in a bowl. Roll the dough in the oil until evenly coated. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into 2 pieces. Dust your work surface and the dough with flour. Flatten the dough into rectangles and roll them through a pasta machine 3 or 4 times on the widest setting. Reduce the setting and continue to crank the dough through the machine, 3 or 4 times at each setting until each piece is about 1/8-inch thick.

Putting it all together: Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash.

Dust your work surface and one side of each pasta sheet with flour. Using a large cookie cutter, make 2 1/2 – 3-inch circles.

Brush one side of half of the circles with egg wash and add a dollop of filling. Top with the remaining pasta circles and gently press together. Crimp the edges with a fork to tightly seal. Let them sit uncovered for 30 minutes to dry slightly. (The ravioli can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated until ready to cook.)

butternut_squash_ravioli_02Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the ravioli and cook for 3 minutes or until they float to the top. Don’t overcrowd the pot.

While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, cook the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until golden brown.

Using a large strainer, transfer the ravioli to a platter or individual plates, drizzle with browned butter, sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped nuts and serve.

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One Year Ago – Thanksgiving Leftovers
Two Years Ago – Cranberry Clafoutis
Three Years Ago – Black Friday Enchiladas (Enchiladas with Turkey & Black Beans)
Four Years Ago – Snowy Pecan Balls
Five Years Ago – Chocolate Truffles
SIx Years Ago – Smoked Salmon Mousse
Seven Years Ago – Roasted Beans
Eight Years Ago – Winter Soup with Pasta, Beans & Greens

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What will you talk about around the Thanksgiving table this year? Feel free to share.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2016

A Different Kind of Black Friday & Thanksgiving Leftovers

(Looking for a menu and for Thanksgiving dinner … I’ve got three fabulous menus with links to all the recipes.)

shopping_kitchen_storeSome people flock to the stores on the day after Thanksgiving. Not me; Black Friday is a day to relax and putter. It starts with a cup of coffee and emptying the dishwasher. Next comes the grand sorting of the leftovers. I’m sure Martha would be horrified. I imagine she has everything wrapped up in her well-organized refrigerator before she heads to bed on Thanksgiving night.

But I’m not Martha. After all the cooking and company, when it’s over on Thursday evening, I throw a cover on it and put it out on the porch. As far as I’m concerned, the screened-in porch is among the world’s greatest inventions. In the summer, it’s perfect for mosquito-free evenings. When cool weather hits, it’s an extra refrigerator. If it looks like the temperature will dip below freezing, I jam the leftovers into coolers. When I run out of coolers, I cover whatever’s left with old beach towels and quilts and hope for the best.

Dishwasher empty and a second cup in hand, it’s time to make turkey stock.
1 turkey carcass
4 quarts water
1 large onion, quartered
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pick any large pieces of meat from the turkey carcass to use for sandwiches or Tetrazzini. Put the bones, vegetables, bay leaf and thyme in a large soup pot, season with salt and pepper and add the water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, skimming the foam as it collects on the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3-4 hours.

Remove the bones and vegetables from the pot and discard. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Cool, skim any excess fat and make soup immediately and/or refrigerate or freeze for another day. Makes about 3 quarts.

While the stock simmers, I figure out what to do with the rest of the leftovers. I’m happy to share my thoughts. If we play our cards right, we won’t have to do much cooking for at least a week.

First, there is the turkey. You can start with everyone’s favorite sandwich, piled a mile high with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. For a bit of a change, swap out the stuffing for a nice piece of cheese and pop it in a pan for Grilled Cheese and Turkey. Don’t forget the cranberry sauce or …

… your sandwiches will be even better with Cranberry Chutney.
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon or to taste cayenne
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup leftover cranberry sauce
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dry red wine
3-4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion, carrot, ginger and spices, season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more.

Stir in the cranberry sauce, apple, raisins, wine and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chutney reaches a jam consistency, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Not just sandwiches; top warm brie with a dab of chutney for a lovely hors d’œuvre.

For quick and easy Turkey Tetrazzini, sauté some onions, mushrooms and baby spinach and toss with bite-sized pieces of turkey. Boil up a few handfuls of spaghetti (one to two ounces per person), toss it with the turkey, vegetables and a cheesy white sauce and pour into a casserole. Smooth the top and sprinkle the top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and golden.

Cheesy White Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
1 cup grated fontina cheese

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and herbs, season with salt and pepper and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg and fontina cheese and whisk until smooth. Makes about 2 cups.

Unless you prefer turkey potpie or shepherd’s pie. You probably have some leftover roasted vegetables. I always overdo it on the veggies; what about you? Toss those vegetables with some turkey and a little gravy and throw it all in a casserole dish. Top with puff pastry and call it potpie. Top it with mashed potatoes and call it shepherd’s pie. Then again, maybe the turkey is destined for a big pot of chili. If that is the case, then …

… those roasted veggies will be perfect in a cozy soup. Throw them in the blender with your delicious, freshly made turkey stock and give it a whirl up. Add just a touch of cream and you have a lovely lunch or light supper.

But what about the spuds? They’ll be delicious in Cheesy Mashed Potato Cakes.
2 cups cold mashed potatoes
1/4 cup each grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheeses
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sour cream

Combine the mashed potatoes and cheeses and pat into 8 (1/2-inch thick) patties. Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with the salt and pepper. Lightly coat the potato patties with flour.

Heat the oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place the potato cakes in the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, turning once, until heated through and golden, about 10 minutes per side. Serve immediately with a small dollop of sour cream.

Potato Cakes are delicious for brunch or as a side with salmon or steak. You’ll probably be ready for a piece of fish or beef by Saturday night.

Have a delicious Thanksgiving and holiday weekend! Bon appétit!

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One Year Ago – Cranberry Clafoutis
Two Years Ago – Black Friday Enchiladas (Enchiladas with Turkey & Black Beans)
Three Years Ago – Snowy Pecan Balls
Four Years Ago – Chocolate Truffles
Five Years Ago – Smoked Salmon Mousse
Six Years Ago – Roasted Beans
Seven Years Ago – Winter Soup with Pasta, Beans & Greens
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What about you? What are your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye,

The Thanksgiving Feast & Penne Gratin with Leftover Turkey

When we were really little, my grandmothers hosted Thanksgiving, trading off every other year. Eventually a broken hip and other ailments got the best of them. For a year or two they took us all out to a noisy, over-crowded restaurant. It didn’t take long for my mother to declare that SHE would now be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. No one argued.

Since my grandparents didn’t like to drive after dark, the feast was mandated to start at the stroke of one. To meet this deadline, my parents were up and in the kitchen early, stuffing the turkey before the dawn. Snuggled under the covers, I could hear them having what could have been misconstrued as an argument.  Within the family, we considered it to be nothing more than an enthusiastic discussion.

And what critical question could possibly merit so much predawn attention? Without fail, year in and year out, they engaged in an intensive debate on how long to cook the bird. In those days, my dad spent almost zero time in the kitchen but was surprisingly opinionated on this matter. Eventually they came to some kind of agreement, gave the turkey a kiss and pushed him into the oven.

Hours later the topic was revisited when they poked and prodded and opined if the bird was done. This second debate was even more interesting because at least one of my two grandmothers was more than apt, ready and able to pipe in with an opinion.

Eventually some kind of consensus was reached. Beautiful and golden brown, Tom Turkey was pulled from the oven. At that point, the activity in the already busy kitchen was turned up a notch.  After everyone had given the requisite oooh or awww, my dad went to work carving the bird. My mother and grandmothers bustled around at top speed getting everything else ready and on the table.  In short order, the sideboard groaned under the weight of the huge turkey and all the fixin’s.

Ours was a traditional New England feast and the menu remained more or less unchanged for decades. As in 1621, the vegetables were hardy and local. A salad never graced our Thanksgiving Day table but the spread always included a huge mound of mashed potatoes, a big pot of butternut squash and a bubbling casserole of creamed onions. Lots of gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, two kinds of stuffing and Nana Nye’s Cape Cod turnip completed the meal. Nana insisted and the rest of the adults seemed to agree that Cape Cod turnip was something special. I thought it tasted like bitter baby food. But then again I thought the squash tasted like bland, slightly sweet baby food. The meal ended with a trio of pies, apple, pumpkin and pecan, served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. No one ever felt the need for change; it just seemed right to have the same menu year in and year out.

My mother happily retired as Thanksgiving’s head cook several years ago. I now have that honor. Mom is more than delighted to peel a few potatoes but otherwise stay out of the fray. In spite of a few grumbles, I have made a change or two to the menu. (Blame it on all those years I lived in Europe!) The meal is a little simpler now. We make do with one stuffing instead of two. The squash is no longer boiled and mashed but roasted for soup. I’ve switched out the onions and turnip for broccoli and a salad. My sister-in-law Jennifer and her three girls bake beautiful apple and pumpkin pies. And my dad. Some things never change. He leads the annual Thanksgiving Day debate on how long to cook the bird.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. Enjoy!

Bon appétit!

 Roasted Butternut Squash
Roasting squash is a delicious alternative to the boiled and mashed dish of my childhood. It is great on Turkey Day and wonderful in leftovers so make a little extra. Enjoy!
Serves 6-8 with leftovers

2 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds each), peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place squash in large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast for about 15 minutes. Add the onions, toss to combine and continue roasting, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned about 45 minutes total.

Cheesy Gratin with Thanksgiving Leftovers
Use the leftover squash in salads, soups or baked in a cheesy gratin.Serves 6-8

12-16 ounces dried penne pasta
1 pound baby spinach
About 2 cups leftover turkey cut into bite-sized pieces*
About 2 cups leftover roasted butternut squash
4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more to butter the baking dish
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pinch nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Butter a large baking dish.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, less 1 minute.  Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Combine the spinach with the hot pasta; let the spinach wilt. Add the turkey and squash and combine.

Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour, herbs, paprika and nutmeg and whisk for 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Add about 2/3 of the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the sauce to the pasta, toss to combine and transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheeses. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the gratin is piping hot and golden brown.

* You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to make this dish. You can substitute the turkey with chicken or chicken or turkey sausage. Then again, a vegetarian gratin is also yummy.

Feel free to make a comment; I’d love to hear from you. Just click on COMMENTS below.

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© Susan W. Nye, 2009