Thanksgiving Leftovers


I don’t know about you, but each year the phrase, “we are definitely going to make less food next year” is mentioned after the Thanksgiving meal. Somehow we manage to make EVEN more the following year. Cue the leftovers. My family usually enjoys reheated leftovers until we cannot eat any more of the same thing. This year, I was so tired and full from the original meal, I barely touched the leftovers. That is until I decide to whip up something not reminiscent of the “turkey day” feast.

With a lot of turkey left in the refrigerator, I took a few delicious tips and a recipe from Giada and opted to make a turkey shepherd’s pie. As if that wan’t enough turkey, I paired it with a lighter turkey, apple and goat cheese kale salad with a cranberry balsamic dressing and cornbread croutons (say that five times fast)! The leftovers are incredibly versatile and the perfect blank slate to recreate your Thanksgiving leftovers you thought you were tired of eating.

Turkey, Apple and Goat Cheese Kale Salad

For the dressing

2 tablespoons leftover cranberry relish (I used this recipe)
1-2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt/pepper, to taste

For the salad

4 cups kale, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup leftover turkey breast, chopped
6 slices thinly sliced apple (I used gala)
2 tablespoons walnuts (I used this recipe)

Cornbread croutons

2 cups cornbread, cut into cubes
3 tablespoons butter, melted
salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Begin by blending the leftover cranberry relish with the water, until smooth. Whisk the cranberry mixture with the balsamic vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream and continue to whisk. Season with salt and pepper. Place the chopped kale into a bowl and pour half of the dressing and massage the dressing into the kale. Season with additional salt and pepper. While the kale marinates, place the subbed cornbread on a greased baking sheet. Brush the cornbread with melted butter and lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake the croutons at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Place the kale into the serving bowl of choice. Top the kale with the walnuts, turkey, goat cheese, apple and croutons. Drizzle with more of the cranberry vinaigrette to your liking and enjoy!


Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe is adapted from the “Thankful Shepherd’s Pie” from Giada De Laurentiis


9-inch pie shell (homemade or store-bought)
1 tablespoon butter 
1 small yellow onion, diced 
1 cloves garlic, minced 
Salt/pepper, to taste
1 cup gravy
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature 
3 cups diced turkey 
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup frozen peas 
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley 
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 
2 cups mashed potatoes 
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cook the pie shell until golden, about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium saucepan at medium heat and add the onions and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Season with salt and pepper and cook an additional minute. Add the gravy and whole milk. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the peas, turkey and herbs. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and top with the mashed potatoes (note: it’s important these are at room temperature to make it easier to spread). Spread the potatoes evenly and ensure it meets the edge of the crust. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and cook for 25 minutes, or until nice and golden.

Elizabeth Canas