7 Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers! : TreeHugger

We recycle! Here is a holiday post from 2012 ago that’s relevant today. These recipes of Kelly Rossiter’s were prepared for the now defunct websites Parentables and Planet Green, and therefore, unlike most on TreeHugger, are not all vegetarian.

1. Turkey Melts

turkey meltKelly Rossiter/CC BY 2.0

Well, here it is two days after Christmas and I’m looking at a plate of leftover turkey. We had a small turkey this year, so there isn’t that much leftover, but there is still enough for a couple of meals. I’m still feeling a bit lazy, so rather than making some kind of casserole, I took the easy way out and made some turkey melts.

The beauty of this kind of sandwich is that you can add anything to it that you like. If you have some cranberry sauce leftover or some cranberry-ginger relish, you can have a sweeter version. My son’s girlfriend gave me a number of different mustards and spicy condiments that she had made her herself, so I used some of those. I used Gruyere cheese because it is milder than cheddar and doesn’t overpower the flavour of the turkey. You could add some grilled vegetables such as eggplant or red peppers to the mix as well. Use a rustic bread if you can, it will hold up to the ingredients better. I toast the bread first so that they don’t get soggy under the broiler.

4 slices rustic bread, toasted
cranberry sauce or mustard
cooked turkey slices, enough to cover the bread
grilled vegetables (optional)
Gruyere cheese, sliced thinly and enough to cover the bread

Place one slice toast on a baking sheet and spread withcranberry sauce or mustard. Cover the toast with a layer of turkey. Add grilled vegetables, if using. Cover with Gruyere slices. Repeat with a second slice of toast.
Broil the slices of toast until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove from oven, cover with remaining slices of toast, cut and serve immediately.

2. Barley Risotto with Turkey and Mushrooms

barley risottoKelly Rossiter/CC BY 2.0

I test all of the recipes that I share with you on Planet Green, and my husband is the guinea pig I test them on. He is truly a good sport about trying anything, but I feel that perhaps I have been pushing his level of tolerance with the sheer amount of kale, lentils, and swiss chard I’ve been serving lately. A certain level of trepidation had entered his voice the other night when he asked, “What’s for dinner?” When I enthusiastically replied “Barley!” there was that missed beat before he said “Great!”As it turned out, it was great. I didn’t use turkey for this recipe, because my Thanksgiving is long over. I used fresh chicken, which worked perfectly. Feel free to use leftover turkey, fresh turkey or chicken. If you are vegetarian add a few more types of mushrooms, or maybe you have some Tofurky left over from yesterday to toss in.

I think the key to this recipe is the separate cooking of the barley and the poultry and mushrooms. The recipe calls for the turkey and mushrooms to be stirred into the barley at the last minute, but I just spooned them on top. That way, you get the soft chewy texture of the barley on the bottom and the crispy texture of the poultry on the top, and it makes a really nice contrast.

This recipe was really easy, and unlike real risotto doesn’t require constant stirring and attention. I had enough barley left over that the next day, I added more stock and vegetables and had a really nice barley soup for lunch.

4 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil, or a combination
1/2 cup chopped scallions or onion
1 cup pearl barley
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1/2 tsp dried, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh chervil, mint, dill or parsley
3 cups any stock or water, warmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped cooked or raw turkey meat
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, caps only, sliced
chopped parsley leaves for garnish

Put half the butter or oil in a medium to large skillet over medium high heat. When butter is melted or oil is hot, add scallions or onion and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add barley and cook, stirring, for a minute or so, until glossy; add herb, liquid and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
Turn heat down to low, cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until barley is tender (it will not become very soft) and liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, heat remaining butter or oil in skillet over medium high heat; cook turkey, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, then cook mushrooms until crisp in same pan; remove.
Check barley’s progress: Continue to cook, if necessary, adding a tablespoon or two more liquid if all liquid has been absorbed and barley is not yet tender. Stir in turkey and mushrooms and continue to cook until all is hot and combined, then garnish and serve.

This recipe is by Mark Bittman and is from The New York Times, Wednesday, November 21, 2007

3. Turkey Chili

There is something wonderful about the day after Thanksgiving, when you know you don’t have to worry about making dinner, because the refrigerator is bulging with leftovers. For me, the first day is all about having slices of turkey and if I’m lucky, dressing and gravy, along with whatever vegetable leftovers there are.

I’m partial to the white meat, so I eat that first, but once all the slices of breast meat are gone, I start looking for ways to stretch all the small pieces and scraps that are left. Over the years I’ve made casseroles, croquettes, pilafs, anything to disguise the leftovers from my husband, who isn’t a big turkey fan. This year’s entry into the game seemed to go over pretty well. I liked the fact that the flavours were quite different from those you get at the traditional turkey table. For those of you who are vegetarian and didn’t partake in turkey, try this with tofu.

1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
2 bell peppers (any color), cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
2 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 can whole tomatoes in juice (28-ounce)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (19-ounce)
1/2 cup water
2 cups cooked turkey, cut into 1-inch pieces


Cook onion and peppers in oil in a heavy medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Add spices and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice, breaking them up with back of a spoon, then add beans, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer, covered, 15 minutes.
Stir in turkey and let stand, covered, until heated through, 5 minutes.

4. Turkey Noodle Soup

turkey nooodle soupKelly Rossiter/CC BY 2.0

Today is my last Soup of the Week. In fact, today is my last day for regular posts for Planet Green. Many thanks to the readers who have been following my columns over the years since I first wrote Why Cook? on Planet Green in 2007. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ll still be doing my monthly recipe round up and other occasional round ups. I’ll be continuing to write for TreeHugger doing my daily Weekday Vegetarian column, and I hope you’ll join me there.

The stock for this turkey noodle soup was, of course, made with the carcass of the Christmas turkey. I made it exactly the same way as I make chicken stock and let it simmer for a good couple of hours. If you like, you can make this with chicken stock as well, but the turkey stock has a wonderful richness to it. This is a simple, comforting soup which is great to have on a snowy day.

This recipe is from the website Fourth and Fifteenth.

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups cooked turkey, shredded
1 sprig of fresh thyme
8 cups turkey or chicken stock or water
1‑2 cups cooked bow tie pasta
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large soup pan over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion. Cook until onions are translucent, about 7-8 minutes.
Add turkey and thyme, stir to coat. Add stock. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for a couple of hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta about 10 minutes before serving.

5. Roasted Sweet Potato Soup With Maple and Thyme

Sweet Potato SoupKelly Rossiter/CC BY 2.0

Getting ready for my little series celebrating maple syrup I read lots of recipes where just a little bit of maple is used to enhance the flavour of the main ingredient, much in the way that salt is used. One vegetable that really benefits from a little maple is sweet potatoes.

I’ve made lots of soups from sweet potatoes, but I usually season it with cumin or curry powder, but today I added the sweet dimension. I didn’t use much maple syrup at all, but it really made a difference. To give the soup a bit of contrast, I garnished it with cheddar cheese adding a bit of salt to the flavour mix. Roasting the sweet potatoes first with some onions also added to the depth of flavour. It occurred to me afterwards that I could have drizzled a bit of maple syrup over the potatoes before I roasted them and caramelized them a bit, but it was still very good.

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock
1‑2 tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup low fat sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
grated cheddar cheese for garnish

Preheat oven to 400F. Place sweet potatoes and onions in an oven proof pan. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to coat the potatoes. Add salt and pepper and thyme. Roast until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and discard the stems of the thyme sprigs.
Place roasted potatoes and onions in a large pot and add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is at the desired consistency. Add maple syrup and whisk in the sour cream. Heat through, taking care not to let the soup boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated cheese.

6. Sweet Potato Dumplings

This week I was really glad I taught my son Hugh how to cook. He sent me an email saying that he and his girlfriend were trying to figure out what to make for dinner with only a sweet potato and a packet of won ton wrappers as their main ingredients. Both being excellent cooks, they realized that they had to make Chinese dumplings. They were pretty pleased with the results so Hugh said if I was looking for something with a winter ingredient, this might make an interesting post.

He just sent me the bare bones of what they did and I made a batch and they were so fantastic, I couldn’t believe it. This recipe is totally thrown together, so substitute, add, or subtract to your heart’s content. I took Hugh’s advice and fried them, but if you don’t want to use oil, just steam them. I made a dipping sauce of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce a dash of Yuzu juice, which is similar to lemon.

I used one large sweet potato, and I’ve already made 20 dumplings. I think I have enough for at least another 15. Don’t over fill the dumpling or else it will seep out or the dumpling with open up.

1 large sweet potato
1 tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1‑2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
1 package won ton wrappers
vegetable oil for frying

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash of citrus juice (optional)

Peel and chop sweet potato and boil until soft. Mash and set aside.
In a medium skillet heat oil and sautee onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook another minute or 2. Add spices and stir, then add soy sauce and vinegar.Add sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly.

Take a small spoonful of filling and place it in the centre of a won ton wrapper. Dip your finger into a glass of tepid water and wet the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper from corner to corner and pinch the edges to close.

Repeat until the filling is finished.

Heat the oil on high until it is shimmering in the pan. Add the won tons and allow them to cook until golden brown before turning them over, about 3 minutes. When they are cooked on both sides remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Mix dip ingredients in a small bowl and serve along side dumplings.

7. Aloo Kofta – Fried Potato Balls

allooKelly Rossiter/CC BY 2.0

Another totally different flavour profile than regular Thanksgiving fare, these little potato balls were made with white potatoes, but you could probably use sweet potatoes too. This recipe for aloo kofta was a huge hit with my family, and something I’m going to make again. This one is from TreeHugger; you can see it here.

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27 November 2015 | 1:37 pm – Source: treehugger.com


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