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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Thanksgiving Dinner Remix

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Editor’s note: We welcome  Chef A'Donna Fuller to our blog today as she writes about how to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers. Let’s face it, some foods just taste better the next day. Foods like pasta, soups, and meaty stews taste better after the flavors have a chance to develop.

But what about those Thanksgiving Day leftovers? I am not sure about you, but my family ALWAYS cooks way too much and there are always tons of leftovers. If you are like me and get tired of just warming up Thanksgiving dinner all week ‘as-is’ - OR – what about those boring turkey sandwiches year after year?

I am going to show you some quick and easy ideas to liven up those Thanksgiving leftovers, including desserts! I think these are especially perfect if you are hosting family/friends for a few days after Thanksgiving and you don’t want to serve them the same thing day after day. Above all, you know what the best news is? You probably have most of the items in your pantry already to pull it altogether!

First let’s look at a traditional Thanksgiving menu:

Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Roasted Turkey
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Sauteed Green Beans
  • Collard Greens
  • Macaroni & Cheese - Chef’s note * try the recipe for the mac and cheese in the Cooking Matters curriculum. It’s low in fat and yet still cheesy and creamy
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Dressing
  • Corn
  •  Cranberry Sauce
  • Pumpkin Pie/Sweet Potato Pie
  • Pound Cake

Thanksgiving Dinner Remastered -  You can do a web search for these recipes or use some of your favorites!

  • Roasted Turkey – Turkey Stromboli and Tortilla Soup
  • Mashed Potatoes –Potato Cakes
  • Sautéed French Green Beans – Baked Green Bean Fries *its important to note, this recipe will only work with sautéed or steamed green beans that still have some ‘snap’ to them. Here is a good visual – if you can ‘smash’ them with little to no pressure in between your fingers, they won’t work for this recipe
  • Collard Greens – Collard Pesto
  • Macaroni & Cheese – Broccoli & Cheese Bake
  • Dressing/Stuffing – Stuffed Chicken Breast w/ Caramelized Onions
  • Corn – Corn Fritters
  • Cranberry Sauce-Cranberry Aioli
  • Pound Cake/Sweet Potato Pie or Pumpkin Pie – Pumpkin Cake Pops

Bonus Recipe*

Pumpkin Cake Pops

  • 1 cup of pound cake  (prepared)
  • 1 cup of pumpkin pie OR sweet potato pie w/ or w/o the crust (prepared)
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (optional)
  • 2 cups of white chocolate (melted)

Mix all ingredients until it is the consistency of soft cookie dough – adding more pumpkin pie filling as needed.  Form round balls about 1½ inches in diameter and place on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer until they are firm enough to work with (about 30 minutes).Dip the firm round balls in the white chocolate to completely cover.  Use a fork to rotate and release the excess chocolate.

Place dipped cake balls on a cookie sheet lined w/ parchment paper and set in the refrigerator until the chocolate gets hard.

Optional: Once you dip the cake balls in chocolate, garnish w/ a pecan or a sprinkle of brown sugar

Don’t worry if you don’t get to all the recipes in one week. Simply freeze the leftovers and repurpose them at another time with these imaginative ideas

Of course, these are just my ideas – let your imagination run wild and give new life to those leftovers.

 Happy Thanksgiving!