Thanksgiving — My Favorite Holiday
Over thirty years ago, in September I arrived in Rhode Island as a graduate international student.
I didn’t know anyone and spent the first few months adjusting to a new culture, while trying to make friends in this wonderful new world. The first holiday I got to celebrate was Thanksgiving. That first year I was grateful to be invited to traditional American festivities by a warm and wonderful family in Maine, and discovered that this holiday appeared to center around family and food – ideal, in my mind!!!
Over my subsequent 22-year career at Johnson & Wales University, my husband and I always invited family, friends, and numerous international students to our home for Thanksgiving – it was our way of helping these newcomers to our country learn more about a truly American holiday. We loved the opportunity to share many culture’s foods at our Thanksgiving table, since the students often offered to bring food with them. However, we always served a Thanksgiving meal traditional to my husband’s family and the cultures of Massachusetts and Rhode Island where we lived.
What I have learnt over the last thirty years is that every family seems to have its own traditions of what is served at Thanksgiving – maybe grandma’s pecan pie recipe, or Mom’s stuffing or Dad’s fried turkey. So, I typically encourage people to research those family recipes, and see which ones they want to incorporate on their table. However, each family should also be creating their own traditions – those combinations and additions of each family member’s memories of Thanksgiving. I believe Thanksgiving is a great time to honor traditions, so I won’t provide any recipes for the big turkey day (although feel free to email me if you would like some ideas or suggestions – I have plenty!)
Instead, I know that big traditional meals result in LOTS of leftovers, so here are some ideas on how to change up your leftovers to create unique and different meals.
Some Easy Re-Do’s of Thanksgiving Leftovers
Turkey and Vegetable Leftovers
Chop leftover turkey. Heat the chopped turkey with a few tablespoons of Pesto alla Genovese. Serve over leftover veggies and potato or serve over pasta tossed with some additional tablespoons of the pesto.
Combine a spoonful of your favorite Pepper Jellies with leftover vegetables. Heat gently with a little turkey broth and serve over leftover turkey.
Steam leftover vegetables from a crudité platter, season with salt, pepper and drizzle with Black Truffle oil
Chop leftover turkey. Combine with Chipotle Chili Sauce, or Mango & Chili sauce for a new take on your leftovers
Boil 2 cups of penne pasta according to package directions, combine with 2 cups of chopped leftover turkey, and leftover veggies. Toss together with Sweet Peppa Sauce or Romesco sauce.
Add Oil & Vinegar’s Bruschetta Piccante to left over Mashed Potatoes for a new and fabulous taste
3 cups leftover mashed potatoes, 1 cup panko crumbs or homemade bread crumbs, 1 ½ tablespoons minced rosemary, 1-2 tablespoons flour.
Mix the mashed potatoes, rosemary, and flour till you can form 12 potato cakes with the mixture. Mix the breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon minced parsley and the minced zest of one lemon. Lay out the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Gently press the potato cakes into the panko mixture on both sides of the cakes. Cook in the heated oil in batches (adding oil as needed) and turning once till golden brown and crisp – about 3-4 minutes on each side.
Blend your roasted sweet potatoes in a food processor or use your leftover mashed sweet potatoes to make a soup. In a pan, sauté a couple of cloves of minced garlic, add 3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock, ½ can diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon cumin and simmer 3-5 minutes.
Add the sautéed mixture to the sweet potatoes in the food processor and blend till smooth. Pour the contents of the food processor back into the pan, warm gently, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve topped with roasted salted peanuts, chopped parsley and a sprinkle of paprika
Run leftover bread in a food processor in batches creating crumbs that are uneven in size from powdery to the size of peas. Uniformity is not the goal here. Dry the crumbs on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes in a 200F oven until completely dry but not toasted. Cool and freeze in a resealable bag and use when crumbing chicken, or topping a casserole later this winter.
Categories: Soups & Salads, Snacks & Sides, Thanksgiving Leftovers, Potato Pancakes, Making Breadcrumbs, Sweet Potato Soup, Turkey, Pesto alla Genovese, Black Truffle Oil, Chipotle Chili Sauce, Sweet Peppa Sauce, Bruschetta