In my house, leftovers are not a problem. They are encouraged, they are planned for, they are appreciated days after the big meal. I don’t mind eating three more turkey dinners with all the fixings after Nov. 28. I do mind wasting food because I didn’t have a plan for the celery inevitably left in the bag after I made the stuffing.
A couple of stalks of celery, half a butternut squash, an open bag of fresh cranberries, these are the kinds of things I forget about during Thanksgiving cooking. A week later, they’re still there, fading away as I fix my fifth plate of turkey. Here are three ideas for turning those kinds of leftovers into dishes you can eat after Thanksgiving.
Brown Butter Cranberry Muffins
Use up: cranberries, butternut squash, carrots
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
⅔ cup buttermilk (you could also use whole milk)
2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups peeled, grated butternut squash or carrots
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with liners.
Add butter to a large skillet and cook over medium heat until melted. Once melted, keep cooking until butter is very fragrant and starting to brown. Swirl pan constantly. Once butter is lightly browned, remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Let cool slightly.
Whisk eggs, cooled butter, buttermilk, ginger and ⅔ cup light brown sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Mix egg mixture into dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Mix in squash or carrots, cranberries and nut.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling to the brim (about ½ cup batter per muffin). Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons light brown sugar on top.
Bake muffins, rotating pan halfway through, until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit
Turkey Noodle Soup
Use up: celery, carrots, cooked turkey
1 cup (¼-inch-thick) sliced carrot
¾ cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (¼-inch-thick) slices celery
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken broth or stock
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1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 bay leaf
2 cups shredded turkey
2 cups uncooked egg noodles
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add carrot, onion and garlic; saute 5 to 7 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. Add celery, salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add broth and next three ingredients (through bay leaf) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add shredded turkey and egg noodles and discard bay leaf. Cook for another 10 minutes or until egg noodles are tender, then taste. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. Serve.
Source: Adapted from allrecipes.com
Skillet Potato Egg Casserole
Use up: fresh herbs, mashed potatoes, onion
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ jalapeno, finely minced
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 ½ cups cooked mashed potatoes
1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 scallions, roughly chopped
Handful fresh parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Heat butter in a 9- or 10-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once it melts, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often until onion softens slightly. Add jalapeno and bell pepper and cook until all veggies are pretty soft, about 7 minutes.
Add potatoes to skillet and stir to incorporate everything. Spread mixture out so it covers the bottom of the skillet.
Sprinkle shredded cheese on top, then immediately make four little wells in the mashed potatoes for the eggs. Crack eggs into the wells and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place entire skillet in oven and bake until whites of eggs are just set but yolks are still slightly runny, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with scallions and red pepper flakes. Serve.
Serves 2 to 4.
Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times