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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and for those of you who didn’t celebrate, I hope you still had lots of good food. I am sorry I am just getting around to my Thanksgiving Day post, I can see that the blogosphere is already into the Winter Holiday mode. But between traveling and the terrible cold I picked up, I have not been up to my regular blogging schedule. But I think now things should get back to normal soon.

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Thanksgiving really is a food lover’s holiday which is why it is one of my favorite holidays. I also love the sentiment behind it, it is not a day to give out lots of presents, and I feel that it is the least “Hallmark-y” of the holidays. It is essentially a day to give thanks for the many blessings in one’s life and to spend good times and good food with family and friends. Something many of us need to do every so often, especially this year. Despite the negativity that surrounds the invention of this American holiday (I’ll skip the whole Pilgrim and Indian Story), I like what it has come to represent for my family.

We spent Thanksgiving with my Dad and Stepmom this year in Annapolis, MD at their home and it was truly awesome. We had about 12 of us there, including two adorable little girls, and of course it was all about the holiday favorites – Turkey (both roasted and smoked), stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, gravy and a Baltimore, MD traditional dish, sauerkraut and fresh kielbasa. This was certainly a departure from the Thanksgiving meals of my childhood which consisted of all of the above (minus the kraut and kielbasa) plus Italian wedding soup, Ravioli and my Nana’s famous sausage stuffing. But the meal was great and it was really nice to spend time getting to know my stepmom’s family. There was also a cocktail hour which included my dad’s bloody mary’s or gin and tonics served with MD crab dip, a cheese plate and a sweet and spicy dip over cream cheese served with crackers. Pretty good spread. :)

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So on Thanksgiving, I didn’t do too much cooking, just helped wherever help was needed. BUT, the next day was my big day. My dad and stepmom arranged for 10 of their friends (including my biggest fan, their longtime friend, Gloria – in the above photo) to come over and enjoy a Leftover Queen, Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner.

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I thought this was a fantastic idea and so Friday morning, after taking stock of the leftovers from the night before and what was in their kitchen pantry and fridge, I set to work on a menu. We ended up having a Southwest inspired salad with smoked turkey and honey-lime dressing, potato croquettes with marinara sauce, mini turkey sandwiches with turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy, as well as sauteed green beans with almonds and shallots. There was also leftover kraut and kielbasa and plain ‘ol roasted turkey as well. With the obligatory pumpkin pie for dessert!

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We all had a great time and I even learned another term for Leftovers, from Gloria, “Mustgoes”. She said she learned it from a friend of hers and usually when she asks people if they have ever had “mustgoes” they don’t know what she is talking about! ;)

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At the end of the night we had an impromptu Scotch tasting. Roberto and I are both big fans of single malts and we brought a bottle for my dad. But it turns out he prefers bourbon. However, my stepmom who is a wine distributor also carries a few selective single malts and there were a few people there who also enjoy single malts, so we had a good time talking about the various types and distilleries and trying a few varieties.

So thanks Dad and Kayzie for coming up with this great day after Thanksgiving celebration. It was a lot of fun and I think is a great tradition!

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Southwest Turkey Salad:

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INGREDIENTS:
1 package of organic romaine hearts, washed, dried and chopped
1/2 can of organic sweet corn
2 fresh avocados
1 pint of grape tomatoes
leftover turkey cut into slices

Dressing: for the base I used a mango lime dressing they had in their fridge. To it I added juice from 1 lime, a TBS of honey, 1/2 of a fresh jalapeño, salt and pepper and a sprinkle of cumin.

Potato Croquettes

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INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup light olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
Leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg
2 TBS capers, chopped
salt and pepper
2 TBS fresh rosemary
1/2 cup bread crumbs

METHOD:

In a small skillet sautee the garlic and onion in about 2 TBS of olive oil. In a mixing bowl mix together mashed potatoes, egg, capers and salt and pepper and fresh rosemary. Add in the onion and garlic and 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and stir to combine.

Mold croquettes and roll in bread crumbs. In a large skillet heat the rest of the oil and sautee croquettes until browned on both sides. I did this all ahead and then put them in the oven on a cookie sheet about 15 minutes before dinner so they were nice and hot.

Marinara Sauce

INGREDIENTS:
2 TBS olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a small onion
1 small can of diced tomatoes with basil
1 can of organic tomato paste
salt and pepper
dried oregano
splash of balsamic vinegar

METHOD:
In a saucepan, sautee the onions and garlic in 2 TBS olive oil. Once soft, add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the salt, pepper and dash of oregano and balsamic vinegar. Stir and let simmer for about an hour. Serve with croquettes.