Lovely Leftovers, or Still Thankful

One of the joys of preparing a family holiday meal is having leftovers.  OK, I know not everyone enjoys putting them away and then figuring out what to do with them.  And I do have a husband who does not complain about eating leftovers.   I really do like Thanksgiving leftovers, and thought it might be fun to look at some before pictures and then talk about how the remains were revisited. Some of the “leavings” went home with guests, but here’s how we took care of ours.

First, the bird!  I am the first to admit, the turkey was in the roaster a bit too long.  This was my first time using an electric turkey roaster but it won’t be the last.  No basting, shorter cooking time, and even though it was falling off the bone the meat was tender and moist. I rubbed it with olive oil and a Texas salt rub that had plenty of cayenne and paprika and stuffed it with slices of orange, Meyer lemon and fresh bay leaves, rosemary, and basil straight out of the garden.  I glazed the turkey with pomegranate jelly.  Honestly, there was not alot leftover.  We had enough for turkey sandwiches.  But usually I make turkey tetrazinni and turkey noodle soup.  Any that remains after a couple of days gets chopped up and stored in Ziploc bags in the freezer.  This can be used in just about any chicken recipe.

Fruit salad with cooked dressing is one dish we included this year that I remember my Mother always putting on the table for holiday meals. Our cornbread dressing is another.  In the 40’s and 50’s we never had turkey or pumpkin pie.  We had baked chicken and cornbread dressing and sweet potato pie.  We had alot of this leftover because the recipe makes alot and since it competes for dessert as a sweet, I think people “saved for dessert.”  That is OK, because I love it.  We have eaten it as a side with sandwiches but my favorite way of eating this leftover is for breakfast!  I will include this recipe.  The dressing is delicious drizzled over fresh fruit.  I included the cherries and marshmallows because that is the way Mother made it, but I prefer to omit them.

Our sons and their wives are good cooks, so we are fortunate to have their great contributions to our family gatherings.  My son Ben made our mac and cheese, green beans amandine, and the cranberry sauce, which he tells me he cooked by adding honey and some garam masala to fresh cranberries.  This was tasty spread on toast to make a bacon and egg breakfast sandwich.  The last 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce got whirled in the blender with Greek yogurt and orange juice to make a cranberry smoothie.  Son Sean made a beautiful berry pie and his wife, Teion, made Paula Deen’s pumpkin pie. And although we didn’t get to taste, son Jeremy made campfire turkey and dressing which they called from their camping spot to say turned out great.

Fruit Salad with Cooked Dressing   (just like Opal made it)

8 or 10 oranges, peeled, sectioned, each section cut into bite size

2 cans pineapple chunks, drained

1 jar Maraschino cherries, drained

1 cup of miniature marshmallows

1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

Toss with cooked dressing and whipped cream and let set in refrigerator to chill.

Cooked Dressing

2 Tablespoons vinegar

4 Tablespoons sugar

2  whole eggs

2 Tablespoons butter

Combine and cook, stirring, until thick.  Cool before adding to fruit.

Williamsburg Pecan Bars

In 1984, I traveled with friends to Colonial Williamsburg.  We loved the living history lessons at every turn and enjoyed stopping by its inns and taverns for meals. The cookbook I purchased there has remained one of my favorites for nearly 30 years not only because it reminds me of travels and tastes of the past, but also for recipes that have become keepers for our family like  Christiana Campbells’ Tavern Spoon Bread, Chowning’s Brunswick Stew, Mrs. Randolph’s Frozen Lemonade, and Williamsburg Inn Pecan Bars.

Williamsburg Inn Pecan Bars

 The Williamsburg Cookbook, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1975

 3/4 cup butter

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

rind of one lemon

 Grease and flour two 9X9X2 inch pans.*   Cream butter and sugar; add eggs and lemon rind and beat well.  Sift together flour and baking powder; add to creamed mixture and beat well.  Chill dough until firm.  Press the dough in the bottom of the pans.  The dough will be about 1/8 inch thick.  Prick all over with a fork.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in a  375 degree oven until the dough looks half done.  Remove and follow instructions for Pecan Topping.

*  I make this in one larger pan.

Pecan Topping

 1 cup butter

1 cup honey

1 cup light brown sugar,packed

1/4 cup whipping cream

3 cups pecan, chopped


Put butter, sugar and honey  in a deep, heavy saucepan; boil and stir constantly for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat. Cool slighty and add cream and pecans, mix well.  Spread the topping evenly over the surface of the partially baked sugar dough with a buttered wooded spoon or flexible spatula. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  Cool and cut into 1 x 2 inch bars.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce

12 slices cinnamon-raisin bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)

the newer caramel apple or pumpkin swirl breads work well, too!

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2/3  cup  Pecan halves, or chopped if you prefer

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Place bread cubes in greased 13×9-inch baking dish.

Beat eggs, milk, pumpkin, brown sugar and vanilla with wire whisk or electric mixer until blended. Pour evenly over bread; sprinkle with pecans.

BAKE 45 min. or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm topped with Salted Caramel Sauce.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/2 cup Half-and-half
  • Pinch Of  Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Mix butter, brown sugar, half & half, and salt in  a small heavy pan over medium low heat. Cook, stirring,until mixture thickens. . Add vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Remove from heat,cool slightly, and pour sauce into a jar. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.  This is wonderful on ice cream, apple slices, pound cake, or drizzled on plain cheese cake!  Can be reheated in microwave and served in a small pitcher for guests to pour their own.

Meyer Lemon, Olive ,Rosemary, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Our Meyer Lemon tree’s branches are so heavily laden with lemons that some are bent to the ground.  I love going out to check the ripening fruit as it changes from lime green, mottles with yellow, turns yellow all over as if it is saying “Wait, wait, not yet.”  The right time for harvesting is when the lemons turn egg yolk yellow blushed with orange.  Since this variety is sweeter and thinner skinned than other varieties of lemons, there are many ways to use them.  I have a list from the LA Times that lists 100 ways to use Meyers which I previously posted as a link during last year’s harvesting.

I have used a number of those suggestions.  This week I tried one more:  pzza topped with Meyer Lemons, green olives,  rosemary, and goat cheese.  The recipe is all in the title!

1 12 inch thin pizza crust

2 Tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1 Meyer lemon, washed and patted dry,very  thinly sliced

Green olives, sliced

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place crust on round pizza pan or baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil.  Add goat cheese crumbled evenly over the top. Remove any seeds from lemon slices and scatter them over the goat cheese.  Add olive slices and sprinkle with rosemary.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is browned and cheese is melting. The lemon slices will caramelize slightly.  Variations:  Add chopped artichoke hearts, a small amount of additional cheese such as provolone or mozzarella, or pine nuts.