Whether your Thanksgiving is a traditional bird-and-stuffing feast-acular or more of an alternative Torfurky affair, chances are, there will be leftovers.
The editors of OnMilwaukee.com are not necessarily creative geniuses in the kitchen, but they have a thought or two regarding what they plan to do with their excess holiday food this weekend.
I'm not cooking the Thanksgiving meal. That's up to my sister, in the far south suburbs of Chicago. But she always makes up a sizable care package of turkey, stuffing and the usuals. There are a few extras that you don't find on traditional T-day tables: sauerkraut, sausage and mashed rutabaga. It's enough to give me a second holiday meal Friday, usually reheated in the microwave and eaten in front of TV, watching an old movie. Ahhh, tradition.
Now if only I can snare the turkey carcass and make soup on Friday. That's the best.
One of the things I'm most consistently thankful for on Turkey Day is that the responsibility of making dinner has never fallen on me. All of my parties inevitably end with a gross over-estimation in the food department, which in this case would leave me with turkey salad sandwiches until March. In recent years, my mother has taken up the family's chef hat and gotten the food quota pretty well managed. When there are leftovers, she skips the dreaded week of "Thanksgiving Dinner, Revisited" and shreds the leftover meat into the turkey equivalent of chicken noodle soup. Let me be clear when I say this is the best soup ever. I think I might love it more than actual Thanksgiving dinner; that is, when she doesn't overdo it on the cloves (sorry, Mom).
This year, I am having a super low-key Thanksgiving and going with friends to the Indian food buffet at Maharaja, 1550 N. Farwell Ave. It has been my experience that restaurant staff frowns on customers taking Tupperware containers of buffet food items home, so I, most likely, will not have any leftovers after my Thanksgiving feast. I might rummage through the OnMilwaukee.com staff fridge next week and sample my coworkers’ leftover post-Turkey Day delights.
We try to be very diligent about eating our leftovers, though I admit we toss more food than I wish we did. But after Thanksgiving, we are usually set for lunch and dinner for a few more days and if we remember to freeze some, then we can make them last even longer. We'll make sandwiches with the turkey, reheat all the dishes for more modest recreations of the Thanksgiving day feast and sometimes I'll shred some leftover turkey and mix in a bowl with leftover sweet potatoes and leftover stuffing. Use about a 3-2-1 ratio of those ingredients, but it ain't rocket science. Mix in one beaten egg and add salt and pepper to taste. Form the mixture into patties and roll them in breadcrumbs. Heat some olive oil on medium in a skillet and cook until golden brown and heated through, just a few minutes per side. Scarf them down because they're better this way than they were on Thanksgiving day.
It's not that inventive, but my course of action with leftovers? Eat them. Until they're gone. I don't get fancy, unless you consider heating up turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes in the microwave to be fancy. With two different dinners to work with (thanks, parents and in-laws), it turns into several days of free, albeit slightly repetitive, delicious meals.
Since I'm taking a flyer on this year's Thanksgiving festivities (thanks, winter bug), my leftover routine will be slightly altered. Usually though, I'll do the traditional Thanksgiving leftover routine: full plate meal on Friday (or, uh, Thursday night ...), turkey sandwiches on rye toast Saturday, throw the big chunks in a pot and whip up some turkey soup on Sunday. But my favorite, by far, comes a few days after Thanksgiving has passed.
Usually by Monday or so, my collection of leftovers has dwindled down to a small assortment of a little of everything; turkey, stuffing, mixed veggies and mashed potatoes. I'll mix all those things up, toss them in the skillet with some beef broth and an egg, heat them up, plop the mashed potatoes on top and slather the whole mess in gravy and I've got a tasty meal fit only for a bachelor. The perfect dish for a lazy night of football or whatever else is on the tube.