The Prequel To The Sequel…Thanksgiving Leftovers Ahead of Time

After Thanksgiving next week, millions of Americans will start the Thanksgiving leftover rituals. There will be turkey pot pie, turkey soup, and turkey salad sandwiches.  Some will enjoy turkey tetrazzini, creamed turkey on toast, and open faced turkey sandwiches with gravy.  There could be turkey curry, turkey stir fry, and turkey Panini.   But not in my house.  Not any of it.

A few years ago, I had become so tired and bored of the typical post-Thanksgiving offerings, that I put on my chef hat and got crackin.  The resulting dishes were new, exciting, and unique.  The flavors were still familiar enough, given that they were made with the same leftovers, yet different enough that they didn’t feel like leftovers.  One of them was such a delicious take on the old leftovers, that I have been keeping it under my hat, and sharing it just with my family. And waiting for the day that this secret recipe would make me a gozillionaire.  Obviously, that hasn’t happened,  so  today I am releasing the Kraken…That’s right…I am sharing you with my super-secret, amazing beyond all comprehension, or at least just very good, Thanksgiving Chili Rellenos.  Plus a few other tasty, creative, and some might even say “cute” Thanksgiving leftover recipes.

You’re welcome!

Special Note:  when my recipes call for leftover dressing or stuffing, I am referring to cornbread dressing.  Because I am a Southerner.

If you are not a Southerner (i.e., you live north of the Mason-Dixon line, you’re an ex-pat, a foreigner, etc..), this should not be held against you.  Through no fault of your own, you simply don’t know any better.   You can use whatever dressing is customary in your locale—it may not be the same, but you will get the idea, and your rellenos will still be a tasty diversion from the same ol’ leftovers.

If you are from the South, and you do NOT use cornbread dressing, then I am not sure there is any help for you.  Your mama may not have raised you right or something.  I don’t really know—it is unfathomable to me.  Move along…Nothing to see here, people……

Also, believe it or not, I don’t fry these in oil…I faux fry them in the oven.  I know, I know….A bunch of Southern Grandma’s just rolled over in their graves. But here’s the thing…This faux fry method turns out a result that is exactly the same as the fried version, and actually makes it much simpler to prepare larger batches ahead of time, up until you are ready to bake them.  It’s just collateral damage that they are also healthier.

Thanksgiving Relleno

Thanksgiving Chili Rellenos With Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

Bobby Flay is so jealous of this recipe, his head is spinning….Don’t be a doubter!

8 servings:

  • 8 large poblano pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups leftover cornbread dressing
  • 1 pound chopped leftover turkey
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 t. salt
  • Beaten egg whites (I use carton of Just Whites)
  • 3 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 cups leftover giblet gravy (or other turkey gravy)
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce

Spray peppers with oil, and place in a shallow pan under a broiler.  Broil until half-charred on all sides, turning as necessary.  Remove from heat, and gently place peppers in a paper bag or large zip top bag, and close the top.  Allow to steam for 20 minutes.  Peel the charred skin from the peppers.  Cut one long slit down the side of each pepper, and very gently scoop out the seeds.

In a large bowl, mix together the dressing, turkey, and potatoes.  Carefully stuff each pepper with some of the mixture (actual amount will vary depending on the size of the pepper).  Set aside on a rack over a large baking pan.

Mix the flour and salt together in a shallow dish, such as a pie pan.  Place egg whites in a shallow dish.  Place panko in a shallow dish.  Carefully roll each stuffed pepper in the flour mixture, then in the egg whites, and then in the panko.  Set back on rack over the baking sheet.  Repeat with remainder of peppers and filling.  Spray the peppers liberally with non-stick spray.  Place in a 350* oven, and bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Place the gravy in a large saucepan to heat up, and keep warm.

Turn the peppers over and spray the bottoms with cooking spray.  Return to oven and bake until the second side is also golden.  Remove from oven to rest while you prepare the chipotle cranberry sauce.

Place cranberry sauce and chipotle pepper in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.

To serve:

Place ½ gravy in bottom of individual serving dish. Place one relleno on top.  Drizzle or dollop some of the chipotle cranberry sauce on top.

Thanksgiving Croquettes

I also made this fun little snack with Thanksgiving leftovers…

Turkey, chopped, and mashed potatoes rolled into 2″ balls.  Stuffing formed around those into larger balls.  Roll in Panko, spray with non stick spray.  Bake at 350* about 20 minutes, until golden brown, and heated through.

Serve in a pool of gravy, with homemade cranberry sauce on top.

Cute, and yummy!

Sweet Potato Crab Cakes With Fried Corn and Orange Avocado Cream

Serves 8

  • One pound lump crab meat
  • 4 cups cooked sweet potatoes, prepared any way (cold)
  • Olive oil, to sauté

Roughly mash the sweet potatoes in a large bowl, if they are in large chunks.  Add the crab, and carefully mix, being careful to leave larger bits of crab.  Use an ice cream scoop to portion your Crab Cakes into a large skillet that has been heated with a coating of olive oil over medium heat

Avocado Cream:

  • 1 large ripe Mexican avocado
  • Juice of 2 small fresh oranges (about ¾ cup)
  • Juice of one lime (about ¼ cup, scant)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 T agave syrup
  • 1 t salt

Jalapeno Fried Corn:

(prepare in a separate skillet while you prepare the crab)

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ears fresh corn, cut from the cobs
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoon sugar

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add corn, jalapeno, green onions, salt and pepper.  Sautee for about 10 minutes.  Add sugar and stir well.  Continue to cook until the corn begins to caramelize.  Reduce heat to warm until ready to use.

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21 Comments on “The Prequel To The Sequel…Thanksgiving Leftovers Ahead of Time”

  1. 2012/11/18 at 12:59 pm #

    Damn! Nice!

  2. 2012/11/18 at 1:10 pm #

    I just like turkey: hot, cold, room temperature, in a sandwich or on a plate. Never any turkey “leftovers” in our house, just one meal with multiple seatings. As our family grew (with in-laws and grand-children), my mother just couldn’t keep up; so the helpings to take home disappeared.

    One year I took matters into my own hands and decided to cook a turkey on Black Friday (or, as I like to call it, burp Friday). Since this was a last minute decision, I couldn’t use a frozen turkey; so I went to a local meat market and asked if they had any fresh turkeys. To my delight they did have one, a special order that had never been picked up. It was 28 pounds. I had to use one of those plastic roasting bags, because there was no way it would fit in any of my roasting pans.

    It came out great, giblet gravy and all. Fortunately my wife had one of those seal-a-meal machines.

    By the way, to me stuffing has chestnuts in it.

  3. 2012/11/18 at 3:32 pm #

    Amen to the cornbread thang! I’m almost embarrassed that your unselfish sharing of the chile relleno recipe brought a small tear to my eye! God bless your pea pickin’ heart!

  4. 2012/11/18 at 4:54 pm #

    That’s got to be a first!

  5. carbozombie
    2012/11/18 at 5:08 pm #

    I must make the Thanksgiving Chili Rellenos With Chipotle Cranberry Sauce for my family. I am traveling back to Texas, and they will be a hit, I am sure. THX.

  6. Food Stories
    2012/11/19 at 7:29 am #

    Hope I don’t get struck by lightning or anything … I’m from the south (although living in So Cal, at the moment) and am using rye bread in my dressing this year :-)

  7. 2012/11/19 at 9:58 am #

    Just mourning my lack of poblano chilies. These look sooooo good. You have done the world a great service by sharing. :)

  8. sharron o"connor odle
    2012/11/19 at 10:10 am #

    These recipes for leftovers etc. sound fantastic. got to get cooking today!

  9. 2012/11/20 at 9:19 pm #

    Christine, you justified why I moved south of the Mason-Dixon Line in this one post… FABULOUS recipes. Eat your heart out, Bobby Flay. ;) Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. 2012/11/21 at 11:58 am #

    There will be Thanksgiving Rellenos in the Garbow household this year!

  11. 2012/11/22 at 1:42 am #

    why do you do this to me?!? I’ve only just managed to work out what a graham cracker is and now this – a whole string of new products! I give up. Sounds delicious all the same – yr South African pal

  12. 2012/11/22 at 5:08 pm #

    What a delight to read this post. A WARNING. Don’t read it when you are hungry. It is all so beautifully presented. Bon Appetit. Virginia

  13. Da'Nae
    2012/11/25 at 8:26 pm #

    We loved the Thanksgiving Rellenos!! Already looking forward to tomorrow’s left overs. Thanks for sharing :)

    • 2012/11/26 at 11:53 am #

      Awesome! We ate all of our rellenos, so no leftovers to enjoy….But Christmas is right arond the corner, so more are forthcoming!

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