Retooling leftovers an annual tradition

  • Article by: BETH DOOLEY , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 21, 2012 - 2:02 PM

Curry and coconut help make a bright and flavorful turkey soup.

Photo: Beth Dooley, Special to the Star Tribune

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Depending on how you slice your turkey, leftovers (like boredom) can be a key to creativity.

Trust me. Those pounds of turkey, dishes of cranberry sauce, your beloved grandmother's stuffing, and creamy mashed potatoes needn't be relegated to sloppy, soggy sandwiches night after night. A little spice and a lot of fresh herbs can turn the odds and ends of a fabulous feast into inspired hoagies, soups, salads and pies.

Much as I love all the preparation required to pull together the Thanksgiving meal, I'm ready for a break. So I like to keep it simple and make it quick. In addition to recipes, here are several ideas for turning some of "this" into delicious "that."

Side Dish Make-over Ideas

If you made three times the amount of your grandmother's beloved (yet fussy) stuffing or whipped enough potatoes to feed the neighborhood, don't despair. Here are a few ideas for side dish makeovers.

Stuffing Coddled Eggs: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the leftover stuffing in a well-buttered baking dish and make several indentations into the stuffing large enough to coddle an egg. Crack an egg into each of the indentations. Sprinkle the eggs with shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. Bake until the eggs are set, about 15 minutes.

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup: Melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a large, heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat and sauté about 1 cup of chopped leeks (white part only) until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in several cups of chicken or vegetable stock, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Whisk in enough leftover mashed potatoes to make a thick soup. Add white wine if you wish and a little extra cream to taste. Season with grated nutmeg, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve garnished with chopped parsley.

Sausage Stuffing Bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, set over medium heat, cook a pound of crumbled sausage until it is no longer pink. Put this into a large bowl and mix in 1 cup of prepared stuffing. Put this into a heavily buttered baking dish and top with shredded Colby cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the mixture is heated through, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Beth Dooley is the author of "The Northern Heartland Kitchen."

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  • Recipes: Curried Turkey and Rice Soup With Coconut

    Wednesday November 21, 2012

    Also: Turkey and Onion Stout Pot Pie; Sweet Potato, Fennel and Walnut Salad; Curry Cranberry Mayo; Ginger-Orange Mayo; Spicy Horseradish Cranberry Spread; Cranberry Maple Vinaigrette.

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