Tag Archives: Thanksgiving leftovers

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Pecans

Now, that you’ve picked over the turkey carcass, made sandwiches of mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry, and stuffing, and finished off the last of that pie, there’s just a few things left to polish off from this year’s Thanksgiving feast.  One of these is likely to be the remnants of the sweet potato dish.  For the potluck I went to this year, I was asked to bring along a creation using this vegetable.  I had about a cup of the potatoes that didn’t fit in to the serving platter I was bringing to the party.  So I decided to whip up a batch of Sweet Potato Pancakes using the leftovers.

Cooked Sweet Potatoes

The original batch of sweet potatoes was cooked until completely tender and then mashed with a fork.  I added a few tablespoons of butter and about half a cup of chicken stock to it as well as some Chinese 5-spice powder, ginger, and salt.  As a finishing touch I mixed everything with grated peel of one orange and half an orange worth of juice.  The idea was to make a side dish that was savory with a bit more depth than the usual marshmallow-topped platter that graces holiday tables.  You can use plain mashed sweet potatoes in this recipe, but adding some of these extra flavors works well in the pancakes.

Unadorned pancakes

This experiment worked out to be a tasty, post-Thanksgiving breakfast and was much more fun to try than the Turkey Curry I made last year.  I’m almost tempted to make extra sweet potatoes in the future when I’m preparing them for any dish just so that I can make these pancakes again.  I might also see if I can turn the leftovers into muffins so that I can freeze them and hang on to the flavors of fall for a bit longer.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Syrup & Pecans

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Prep Time:  20 minutes (minus time cooking potatoes)

Serving Size: 4 people (unless they are really hungry)


2 Tbsp. unsalted Butter

1 Egg White

1 whole Egg

1 c. whole Milk

1 cup prepared Sweet Potatoes*

1 1/4 c. all-purpose Flour

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Sugar

Canola oil (for cooking pancakes)

Maple Syrup and Pecan Halves to serve


Melt butter in a heat-proof container.  While the butter is cooling, put egg white and white from whole egg into a bowl.  Set aside the egg yolk.  Whip the egg white until it is frothy.  In a large bowl, mix together milk, egg yolk, and butter. Add sweet potatoes and stir, making sure that there are minimal lumps.

Wet ingredients

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Mix together flower, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Dry ingredients

Take the bowl with the dry ingredients and start to whisk them little by little into the wet ingredients until they are thoroughly combined and there are no lumps.  Add frothed egg white (and any liquid that has separated) and mix everything together until the batter is smooth.

Finished batter

Get a griddle or frying pan nice and hot.  Pour a little canola oil on the griddle, enough to create a thin film on the surface.  With a ladle or spoon, scoop about 2 Tbsp. batter into a mound on the griddle.  Make sure to space the pancakes far enough apart so that they don’t touch.

Pancakes on the griddle

When bubbles appear on the top of the pancakes, check the underside to see if it is cooked and just lightly browned.  I like to let mine get a little extra crispy around the edge, but I am related to people who will eat them only if they are pale as snow.  Flip them over to cook for about a minute or so more on the second side.

Pancakes ready to be flipped over

When the pancakes are cooked through, remove them from the griddle and serve them immediately.  Pour maple syrup on top and sprinkle them with pecans.

Buon appetito!

*Prepared sweet potatoes:  Take one cup of the sweet potatoes, add 1 tsp. orange zest, 1 tsp. orange juice, and 1/2 tsp of mixed spices (Chinese 5-spice powder, pumpkin pie spice or a mix of your favorite spices) OR use whatever leftovers you have from Thanksgiving dinner, minus the marshmallows.

Turkey Curry Salad Sandwich

This morning, my day started in a bit of panic mode.  I was getting ready to attend an all-day training seminar and realized that we were supposed to pack a lunch so that we could also listen to a guest speaker during that time. I’m really not good at bringing my lunch, even when I work fulltime, so I was sort of stumped as to what to do.

Rummaging around in the fridge I happened upon a bit of a surprise.  Shoved into the back of the top shelve was leftover Turkey Curry, from post-Thanksgiving.  Remember when I talked about how turkey was the gift that kept on giving in my family?  I conducted the “smell test,” and it seemed o.k.  (Oh, you know the one: When someone opens up that random jar of stuff in the back of the fridge and asks you to shove your nose in it to see if it smells bad.)  All I needed to figure out was how to recycle it as something to take for lunch today.

From the Pita Chips / Crisps that I made last week, I still had a couple of extra pita pockets.  I also discovered that I had some extra almonds from the Almond Butter Crunch and a jar of Squadrilla Chutney. This made my creative culinary wheels start to kick into motion, even if my morning caffeine hadn’t quite gotten into my system.  What if I created a Turkey Curry Salad Sandwich?

So, I took the leftover turkey curry, which was about a cup, and figured out what I need to do next, based upon another curry salad that I’d eaten ages ago.  I added a dollop* of the chutney, a couple of squirts of mayonnaise, a small handful of almonds, and, then, for some freshness, put in about a tablespoon of chopped cilantro.  What I was looking for was a citrusy, tangy, tart balance to the spiciness of the curry.  The turkey really needed something to perk it up at this point.

When I unwrapped my sandwich a few hours later, I wasn’t disappointed.  This was much more interesting than your usual chicken or turkey salad sandwich.  It had several different flavors going on in every bite, with nothing too overpowering in any one of them.  I don’t usually opt for sandwiches for lunchtime, so it was nice to have something that was flavorful and multi-dimensional.  Best of all, I saved money by not buying something to eat, and I finally got rid of the last of the Thanksgiving turkey.

Buon appetito!

*Kitchen Witch Tip:
I know that not all of my readership is based in the U.S. and that not all measurements are standard.  To assist in using my recipes, I’ve included a Measures / Conversions page on the site.

What to do with leftover Thanksgiving Turkey? Turkey Curry, of course!

Turkey Curry

I can hear it already, the sigh emanating from kitchens around the country.  The fridge door is open and the containers of Thanksgiving leftovers are just sitting there challenging you to figure out what to do with them on the third day after the holiday.  Can you really take eating a plate of turkey and the fixings all over again?  Even my own father made a comment today about how he was on his fifth meal of leftovers, and he is usually the first one to figure out how to make a sandwich with everything.

My folks had several creative solutions to this culinary dilemma when we were growing up. Last week, my sister and I reminisced about a few of their choices.  There was Turkey Leftover Soup.  Mmmm…I can visualize the murky grey-brown broth even now, a few decades later.  Chunks of mashed potato floated on top of it.  Green beans rubbery and chewy provided that extra touch of texture.  Some vague semblance of shredded turkey meat would sometimes appear in the thick depths.  Then, a few weeks (or months!) later, we’d find a leftover container of it in the back of the fridge, fuzzy stuff growing on top of it.

Visualize this, but made with Turkey instead of Tuna

Another leftover treat was Turkey Tettrazini.  Just swap out the tuna in Tuna Tettrazini for cooked turkey and voila!, you have a new post-holiday recipe for your files.  I really do believe in not wasting good food, so I’m only sort of tongue-in-cheek about this.  One of the dishes that I did actually like was one that my mother made using recycled Thanksgiving turkey is Turkey Curry.  It is not a fancy dish, or even a typical Indian-style or Thai curry, but, rather, just basic and simple.

This is a take on my mother’s classic Chicken Curry recipe.  Interestingly enough, I don’t actually think that she had an index card in her files for it, so I had to improvise a bit from what I remember the last time I made it under her watchful eye.  I think I managed to capture the spirit if not the essence of it.  I had a meal similar to this one at Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town Alexandria many years ago, so I don’t think that this version of a curry is that atypical.

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Curry (can also be made with chicken)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 4 portions

2 tsp. Canola Oil
1 small Onion, chopped into small pieces
1 large clove Garlic, minced
3-4 cups shredded cooked Turkey (light and dark meat)
2 tsp. Curry Powder (I used McCormick’s), plus more to taste
1 1/2 c. Chicken or Turkey Stock
1/2 tsp. Salt

To serve:
1 c. cooked Rice (white or brown)
1/4 c. Taisins
1/4 c. chopped Banana
1/4 c. chopped Walnuts
2 chopped hard-boiled Eggs

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat.  Add the onion to the pan and cook for two minutes until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.  Then, add the turkey (or chicken) and curry powder.  Stir to mix everything together well.

Pour in the stock and bring it to a boil.  Turn down the heat and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes, until it is rich and thick.  Add the salt and taste.  Adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Turkey cooking in Curry Sauce

To serve, put 1/4 of the rice in the center of each plate.  Pour 1/4 of the curry mixture on top of the rice.  Garnish each plate with equal parts of the raisins, bananas, walnuts, and eggs.  Optional garnishes could also include dried cranberries or leftover cranberry relish or chutney.  The idea is to have a contrast between the spice of the curry and the sweetness of the additions like the dried fruit or the tenderness of the meat with the crunch of the walnuts.

Turkey Curry served up with all the fixings

Buon appetito!

This entry will also be cross-posted at Blogher.

Cranberry-Orange Relish Stuffed Challah French Toast

Cranberry-Orange Relish-Stuffed Challah French Toast

Finally, after having digested my post-Thanksgiving binge of Food Network programming, I can once again face my stack of holiday food magazines and think about planning some new meals. Having seen an overwhelming number of suggestions and preparations for holiday leftovers, the one that really stood out wasn’t the “101 ways to make last night’s mashed potatoes appetizing again.”  It was, instead, a segment that appeared on Thanksgiving weekend Friday on The Today Show. Tyler Florence was demonstrating to Lester Holt how to make stuffed French Toast using challah and leftover cranberry sauce from a can.

Stuffed French Toast is one of those things that I love to get when I eat brunch out someplace, but which I’ve never gotten around to trying to make at home.  “Enough with the excuses!” I thought, and decided that I would tackle this recipe. The gelled cranberry goo from a can will not enter my house, nor pass through my lips. Instead, I’m more of a cranberry relish person. That is always left over.  In fact, I found a jar of it in my parents’ refrigerator just last weekend that I know was from our holiday meal.  Here’s what I ended up making. In what might be termed an ironic (or just twisted) twist, I decided that serving it with turkey bacon hit just the right spot.

Cranberry-Orange Relish Stuffed Challah French Toast

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serves:(4 people/2 slices per person)

1/2 recipe Cranberry-Orange Relish from bag of Ocean Spray cranberries
1-8 oz. container whipped Cream Cheese
1 loaf day-old Challah Bread
Walnuts or Pecans, as preferred
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Butter or Oil
Maple Syrup or Confectioners’ Sugar

Prepare relish per instructions on the back of the bag. Add chopped nuts, if desired. Mix together relish and cream cheese. The best way to do this is to start with 2 tablespoons cream cheese to every 3 tablespoons of relish, taste, and adjust consistency to your flavor preferences.

Prepping to stuff challah with cream cheese mixture

Slice challah loaf into 1-inch thick pieces. Cut a slit in the center of each slice of challah and continue to cut open, leaving the sides and bottom intact, as though opening a pita pocket. Thickly spread the relish-cream cheese mixture into the opening and press down to close.

Stuffed, un-cooked French Toast
In bowl, beat together eggs, milk and vanilla. Melt butter or heat oil (whichever is your preferred fat) in skillet or on griddle. Dip each side of the stuffed challah into the egg-milk mixture and shake off the excess liquid.  Place liquid-coated challah in skillet or on griddle and cook each side until golden brown. Serve French Toast, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar or drizzled with maple syrup, according to your taste preference.
The finished product!
Buon appetito!