In the past week no less than three different TV cooking shows featured the repurposing of leftovers. I can only conclude people don’t know what to do with the feast remnants in the fridge.
Not being much of a fan of warmed over dinner, I am totally onboard with figuring out how to turn that last cold potato and spoonful of gravy into something worth serving.
Turkey, Dressing and Gravy Turnovers
These leave hot turkey sandwiches in the dust, at least for the elegance factor.
If your gravy was salty on initial serving then don’t add the salt, but you will find that the pastry dulls the flavour of the filling, so you need to bump it up a bit.
Serve one or two of these per person with a crisp salad on the side — no one will miss the french fries because this is so satisfying.
1 box puff pastry (2 squares), thawed in the fridge overnight or according to package instructions
1/2 cup leftover gravy
1/4 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked turkey, diced
1 cup leftover bread stuffing
1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
2 eggs plus 1 tbsp. water, lightly beaten
Roll out each of the puff pastry blocks into a one-foot square and cut into 4 pieces each, for a total of 8 puff pastry squares. Whisk together gravy, salt and pepper then stir in turkey and stuffing and divide among the squares. Top each with a dab of the cranberry sauce. Brush the edges with beaten egg and water mixture and fold over each square to form a triangle. Press firmly to seal and lay on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with a little more of the egg wash. Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown — everything inside is cooked so you just want it hot.
Sausage and Veg Supper
If all the meat disappeared in sandwiches and you’re left with a big bowl of boiled root vegetables, here’s the recipe for you. This amount will feed four but it’s so forgiving you can add whatever you have in the fridge and it will stretch.
Any veg will do, but cabbage is by far the best thing to have left at the end of any meal because it holds up so well to reheating. In fact, I usually cook twice the amount I think will be eaten.
1 lb. kielbasa sausage
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups leftover cooked cabbage or other green vegetables, coarsely chopped
3 cups leftover other cooked vegetables, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cut sausage into one-inch chunks and fry in oil, along with onion, until everything is starting to brown. Drain and discard any fat in the pan. Add green pepper and garlic and cook a couple of minutes, until fragrant but not soft or brown — a little texture on the pepper is good. Add cabbage and other leftover vegetables and cook, stirring, until hot through. Stir in pepper and serve.
Singapore Noodles with Turkey
If you always order the noodles at a Chinese restaurant, this recipe is for you. This dish is easy and delicious, and won’t taste anything like the turkey dinner that made it possible. People can eat an amazing quantity of noodles but this amount should easily serve six. Well, actually it should serve eight, but that’s unlikely.
This would work equally well with rice noodles, but follow the instructions on the package carefully so they don’t go mushy on you.
1 lb. vermicelli pasta
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. hot curry powder
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. hot chili oil (optional)
3 cups diced or shredded cooked turkey
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Prepare vermicelli according to package instructions for al dente. Drain and set aside but reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
Fry onion, carrot and celery in vegetable oil over as high a heat as you can manage until they start to take on a little colour around the edges but aren’t getting soft. Stir in garlic and curry powder and cook, stirring, another minute, until fragrant. Add cooked noodles and stir together with the vegetables until everything is thoroughly and evenly coated in the rich yellow spice. Stir in soy sauce, sesame oil and hot chili oil, if you are using it.
Place turkey in a bowl with 2 tbsp. of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 45 seconds to a minute — depending on your microwave — until steaming hot. Add to vegetable-noodle mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. If mixture is extremely dry, add the rest of the pasta cooking water. Serve with green onions sprinkled on top.
Cynthia Stone is a writer, editor and teacher in St. John’s. Questions may be sent to her c/o The Telegram, P.O. Box 86, St. John’s, NL, A1E 4N1.