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Calendar >  The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal and What to do With Left-over Turkey

The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal and What to do With Left-over Turkey

By   /  November 15, 2022  /  No Comments


TR Robertson -What most people remember about Thanksgiving is the food served on this day. Americans will eat more food on Thanksgiving Day than on any other day of the year. There are many magazines and newspapers running recipes featuring ways to prepare the turkey, best ways to serve dressing or potatoes, what vegetables to have with the meal, best desserts to serve and the list goes on. Most families will serve turkey, some will also serve ham or prime rib as well. Forty-five million turkeys will be sold for Thanksgiving. One new meat that appeared some years back is turducken, a duck stuffed inside a turkey. Frying the turkey in peanut oil also became popular some years ago. One family did not like turkey or the other meat choices, so they served chicken fried steak on Thanksgiving. Some families will have turkey but fix it in more creative ways such as turkey enchiladas or turkey casseroles.

It should be noted that the myth of falling asleep due to the Tryptophan in the turkey is just that, a myth. Tryptophan is also found in poultry, meat, cheese, yogurt, fish, eggs, and milk. Turkeys have less Tryptophan than chicken. The reason folks fall asleep after the meal is due to over-indulging, stuffing yourself to the point of being uncomfortable coupled with the activities of the day and you get tired and fall asleep.

There are many folks who do not like turkey. Their Thanksgiving meal, if they are not vegan, will consist of either prime rib or chicken or ham or even tamales. We prefer turkey in our home so the next part of describing the meal we enjoy will assume turkey is on the table.

The traditional side dishes we have, included with the Thanksgiving meal are sweet corn, peas, squash, green bean casserole with fried onions on top, sweet potatoes or yams, dressing, mashed potatoes, veggies for appetizers, Jell-O (usually red), cranberry sauce or relish, rolls or cornbread and of course turkey gravy. The gravy is important and should be from the drippings and not made from chicken stock. Some families will offer pumpkin soup instead of a salad to go along with the meal. Families across the country have favorite ways of making these selections. My mother-in-law used to make oyster dressing, not my favorite. For me, the dressing must be cornbread, not light bread, and the mashed potatoes cannot have any lumps in them. My brother-in-law insists on real potatoes, peeled, that are hand mashed in the pot, a lot of work. Instant mashed potatoes are popular and quick to make, ensuring no lumps.

I like my yams with walnuts, brown sugar and a few marshmallows and I like my cranberry sauce solid. I also like it when my wife fixes a Waldorf salad: apples with walnuts, grapes, celery, and mayonnaise. This was first served at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City in 1896. I also like the green Watergate Salad she makes, made with marshmallows, pistachio pudding and pistachios, and Cool Whip. She also makes a delicious cranberry relish we give to friends, even though I prefect the jellied kind with my dressing. Dessert is also a special part of Thanksgiving Day. Pies comprise a large part of what families will serve. The selections most often offered are pumpkin, apple, caramel-apple, apple-cranberry, pecan, and sweet potato pie. Pumpkin and Pecan pie recipes began to appear in the early 1900’s in the United States. You will always find whipped cream or Cool Whip offered as well to

slather on the pieces of pie. Another snack generally offered at this time of year is chocolate bark or bark with many different flavors. This comes in peppermint, Nutella, white or chocolate flavors. I make dark chocolate fudge for folks to munch on. Shortbread cookies will also be found at the dessert table.

But what do you do with the left-over turkey and other items after Thanksgiving is over? Below is a list of ideas for whatever amount of turkey and other items you may have left. My favorite is hot turkey sandwiches with dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. I call this a “Truckers Meal”. If you want to try any of the suggested left-over ideas simply Google the name listed, and a variety of recipes will appear for that dish. No shortage of what you can do with the leftovers.

Turkey Tetrazzini                                                                    Turkey Crepes

Turkey Soup with Vegetables or Noodles                              Turkey Pot Pie

Turk Croquettes                                                                      Turkey Roll-ups w/sundried tomato

Turkey Casserole w/stuffing or mashed potatoes                  Turkey Lasagna

Turkey Chili                                                                            Turkey Breakfast Hash

Turkey Sandwiches                                                                Turkey, Ham, Cheese Turnovers

Turkey Calzone                                                                       Turkey Sloppy Joes   

Turkey w/wild Rice Soup                                                       Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Turkey Curry w/rice                                                               Turkey Cranberry Grilled Cheese

Turkey Risotto                                                                        Turkey Cranberry w/Brie and G.C.

Turkey Tortilla Soup                                                              Turkey Pasta Carbonara

Turkey Alfredo Pizza                                                              Turkey Corn Chowder

Turkey Alfredo Pasta                                                              Turkey Posole

Turkey a La King                                                                    Turkey Cranberry Pizza

Turkey Pasta Salad                                                                 Turkey in a Blanket

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash                                                Turkey Florentine Sandwich

Turkey Tacos                                                                          Turkey Pop Tarts

Turkey Enchiladas                                                                  Turkey Ratatouille Skillet

Turkey Quesadilla                                                                   Turkey Broccoli Soup

Turkey Gnocchi Soup                                                             Turkey Pierogis

Turkey Paninis                                                                        Turkey 4 Cheese Pasta Bake

Turkey Biscuit Skillet                                                             Turkey Cran-Apple Skillet

Turkey Cobb Salad                                                                 Turkey Biscuit Stew

Turkey Bake – Southwestern                                                 Turkey a La King w/rice

Turkey Spaghetti Casserole                                                    Turkey Crunch Almond Casserole

Turkey Sandwiches – Hot                                                      Turkey Bundles

Turkey BLT Salad                                                                  Turkey Mexican Roll-ups

Turkey Italian Skillet                                                              Turkey Rice Soup

You can also Google Thanksgiving Pizza and Thanksgiving Lasagna get a great idea of taking a little of everything left over and making a most unusual pizza or lasagna.


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  • Published: 3 weeks ago on November 15, 2022
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  • Last Modified: November 15, 2022 @ 1:05 am
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