A Squared: Thanksgiving 2012 Menu: Using Leftovers

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Menu: Using Leftovers

One of the secrets to keeping my sanity during a busy workweek is menu planning.  Each weekend I sit down and plan and write out a menu for dinners for the upcoming week and then we go shopping for the necessary ingredients on Sunday.  This prevents me from impulse grocery shopping (which I have a tendency to do) and also helps us to avoid buying food with no end goal in mind that will inevitably go to waste.  Alex also likes to check out the menu (which I keep on the fridge) so that he can say "Yay!  It's pizza night!" or something of the like.  See?  Saving money, waste, and sanity all at the same time.

When I was planning our menu this past post-Thanksgiving weekend it was hard to see beyond all of the leftovers and random ingredients in our fridge.  I grew up hearing the phrase "waste not, want not" so I decided to get creative and figure out how to repurpose what we already have on hand.  I have included our menu for this week below-- along with where the leftover items originated from and links to some of the recipes we have used.

Dijon Roasted Salmon
Creamy Orzo
Steamed Broccoli and Carrots (leftover from the crudités platter)

Cider-Glazed Chicken (using the leftover cider from the cider-glazed turkey and fresh parsley from the bean dip and stuffing recipes)
Mashed Potatoes for me (leftover from Thanksgiving dinner)
Baked Yukon Gold potato for Alex (from the remaining 2 lbs. we didn't boil and mash)

Bison Fajitas
Cucumber & Tomato Salad
(using leftover red peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes from the crudités platter)

Caramelized Onion & Prosciutto Pizza (leftover prosciutto from the antipasti)
Roasted Broccolini

Sesame-Orange Chicken (using leftover 2% milk, orange juice, chicken broth from mashed potatoes, cranberry compote, and stuffing recipes)
Mixed Greens with Orange Segments (using additional oranges leftover from cranberry compote recipe)
Roasted Garlic Toasts (this is the bread we bought to make leftover turkey sandwiches)

Baked Macaroni & Cheese (using leftover 2% milk from mashed potatoes and crumbs made from leftover appetizer crackers)
Steamed broccoli (leftover from the crudités platter)

And since there are just SO many leftovers hanging around after Thanksgiving, I had some fun with lunches too.  Here are two easy lunch (or dinner) recipes that I created to use up some of those leftovers:

Thanksgiving Stuffed Squash


  • 1 sweet dumpling squash (remember that squash from my mom??)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups leftover Thanksgiving stuffing
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the stem off the squash and then slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds and membranes from the inside.  Carefully slice off a thin piece of the outer skin on each squash half so that each rests flat when laid skinside down.  Drizzle the inside of each squash half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Lay the squash flesh-side down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

After roasting, remove the squash from the pan and set aside until cool enough to handle and turn the oven down to 350 degrees.  Flip the squash halves over and set them back on the baking sheet skin-side down.  Fill the cavity in each half with a generous portion of stuffing and drizzle with chicken broth.  Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes until squash is fork tender and stuffing is slightly browned around the edges.

Turkey Sandwiches with Balsamic Onions, Celery, and Cranberry Mayonnaise 

There isn't much of a "recipe" to speak of here, but it was pretty delicious leftovers sandwich.  You can improvise with whatever you have around, but here is what I used...
  • 2 slices of good quality bakery bread, toasted *I used a roasted garlic ciabatta
  • 1 Tbs. reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. cranberry compote
  • Thinly sliced turkey breast meat
  • 1 celery rib, very thinly sliced crosswise on the diagonal
  • 3 balsamic marinated cippolini onions, sliced in half *I had these leftover from the antipasti apps
In a small bowl, stir mayonnaise and cranberry compote together until combined.  I like to mix 2 parts cranberry compote with 1 part mayonnaise to get a really tangy taste with just a touch of creaminess.

Spread the cranberry mayo on the insides of both slices of bread.  Layer turkey, celery, and onions between both prepared slices of bread and enjoy!

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