Leftover Recipe: Holiday Turkey Casserole

I have to confess that I absolutely LOVE our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  I love cooking them, I love serving them to my family, and I especially love the leftovers.  Creating a new meal from the leftovers is just so much fun!  Everything has already been cooked at some point, so all you’re really doing is re-assembling the foods in a new and different way… how hard can that be?  TurkeyCasserole

Last year, I used the stuffing to create “stuffing waffles”… if you haven’t tried this before, you HAVE to try it.  They were simply incredible!  You can check out my recipe here, which also talks about topping them with turkey gravy.  Serious “yum” factor here.  This year, I decided not to get the waffle iron down, so I came up with this new casserole.  Same sort of “yum” to the flavor… just a whole new twist.

I layered about 2 cups of our Mimi’s Peas Casserole (it’s the same “green bean casserole” that everyone else does… we just use frozen peas instead.  GENIUS!), sprinkled 1 cup of diced turkey on top, then spooned 3/4 cup of leftover gravy just to cover the turkey.  To finish this off, I took scoops of leftover stuffing and put stuffing balls over the entire casserole, then smooshed them down with my fingers to “connect” them as a topping.  Just for extra flavor, I crumbled about 3 slices of bacon over top, but these really weren’t necessary… this casserole was stellar all by itself.

NOTE:  Before you ask where the “wine” is in this recipe, remember that I used wine when I made the stuffing AND the gravy (and it’s in the peas as well), so I didn’t really feel the need to add more, but you’re welcome to add a little to the gravy if you think it’s too thick.  Just use your best judgement.  

Once everything was assembled, I baked the casserole for dinner at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the gravy was visibly bubbling.  This dish was honestly so good that we ate it for two nights in a row… all the flavors of a holiday dinner wrapped up in one meal.  YUM!


Leftover Recipe: Turkey Leftover Braid

This recipe was inspired by a lunch we had with our cousin Ann last month and I’ve been excited about trying it ever since.  I altered things somewhat (is that really a surprise to anyone who knows me??) but it turned out extremely well.

Here’s the basic recipe I used:TurkeyLeftoverBraid

  • 1/2 package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 cups of leftover turkey, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, with tops, diced fine
  • 1 large spoon of dijon mustard
  • 3 large spoons of mayo (I used 2 large spoons of nonfat plain Greek yogurt and 1 spoon of Miracle Whip Light)
  • 1/4 cup James River Cellars Chardonel (could have used Chardonnay but I had Chardonel available)
  • 1/2 package of craisins
  • 3 strips of cooked bacon, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 packages of crescent dough (sheets work best, but rolls work as well)
  1. Mix the turkey salad together and allow the flavors to meld for a bit – you can certainly make it and put it right into the braid, but the flavors intensify if you can let it sit in the fridge a little bit.
  2. On a large sheet pan covered in foil (or sprayed with cooking spray… I just don’t like the mess otherwise), lay out both packages of crescent dough side-to-side so you have a long rectangle of dough.  Smoosh any openings in the dough so everything is flat and uniform.
  3. Spread the turkey mixture evenly down the center of the rectangle of dough.
  4. Make slits along each side, doing your best to keep them at even intervals from each other on each side.
  5. NOTE: Here’s the “fancy” part.  Turn the pan so that the rectangle has a “top” and a “bottom.  Starting from one end, and working down to the other, you’re now going to make a “braid” to keep the salad inside.  Lift the left and right top strips, bring them to together, twist once, and lay them back down.  Continue with all remaining strips until it looks like a braided package in front of you.  Pinch the edges closed and tuck under each end.
  6. Bake braid in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes and then serve with or without a salad.  This meal should serve 4-5 people (or 3 very hungry people who forgot to eat lunch).

You could also add toasted almonds if you want more crunch but we find that the celery gives it just the right bite.  I’ve used this method for a few different meals (especially the Wine Taco Braid post on this blog) so feel free to incorporate any changes or flavors you want.  After all, who knows your family’s tastes better than you!  Have fun!

Leftover Recipe: Stuffing Waffles with Turkey Gravy

I’m always looking for a new and unique way to use leftovers, especially from holiday meals.  We seem to have extras of everything in the fridge, so I find it very exciting when a new idea comes around.  This recipe idea was one that my husband found and it really looked fun.  A new way to use my waffle maker other than just making waffles?  I’m IN!

I started by making the turkey gravy that would go on top of our dinner.  Basically, I reheated the leftover gravy from Thanksgiving and, using James River Cellars Reserve Chardonnay, flour, and chicken stock, I thinned the gravy out to make more and then added chunks of leftover turkey.  Once this was done, I turned my attention to making the waffles.StuffingWaffles&TurkeyGravy

I preheated my waffle iron and then sprayed it with cooking spray before starting.  Using a large cookie/muffin scoop, I put one scoop of cooked stuffing into the center of each quarter of the waffle iron and let it all cook for 7-10 minutes.  Seriously, it was that simple.  I didn’t add anything to the stuffing… it was already moist enough that it toasted up nicely in a short amount of time.  When the waffle was crispy, I turned it onto a plate, topped it with turkey gravy and added a side of homemade cranberry sauce.  It was a really delicious way to enjoy our favorite parts of Thanksgiving in a new and tasty way.

I hope you’ll try this way of making your leftovers into something different instead of just reheating the same meal for a few days in a row.  As yummy as that is, having a new and unique meal that incorporates your leftovers can be really fun.  Honest!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season with lots of leftovers…