And other things I learned the hard way.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Homedid Thanksgiving!

(Cure for the Common Turkey Reprise)

I know I know...

it's not technically Christmas. But I view Thanksgiving as the official start of the holiday festivities. You give your house that really deep clean before the out of town company shows up. Your supermarket puts all their baking needs on sale so you stock up.

And you have a dead bird thawing in your sink.

Our ancestors would be so proud.

So last year after the massive turkey landed into my oven I posted a collection of ideas for your leftover meat on my Facebook.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of these recipes they are making a comeback here today!
PLUS a few new ones.


So lets get cracking!

For all of these turkey recipes, we are going to assume a few things. Namely that you have cooked and carved as much as possible off of your bird. It'll look something like...

Woof. That's tasty looking :)

So then you take your carcass and using your bare hands, strip EVERY BIT of meat/fat/skin off that thing as possible.

I'm not showing you a picture of that. That's gross.

And separate all that mess into two piles/dishes:
1.) Bones, cartilage, fat and skin
2.) Edible meat - put this into two separate bags. One pound into your fridge. The rest into pound portions in your freezer for later.

Once you have done that:

Turkey Soup

Todd actually said that this soup tastes like something his grandmother would make. And shit, that's an endorsement if I ever heard it!

Ingredients: turkey carcass, stockpot, 1 or 2 boxes o'chicken broth, water, two whole onion, 4/5 stalks celery, 4/5 carrots, 4/5 cloves garlic, EVOO, wine, assorted spices (salt, pepper, bay leaves, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary), egg noodles or dumpling of your choice.

Now, be warned, this DOES take quite a bit of time. You've been warned. But it's so totally worth it.

Place your carcass in the stockpot. Chances are you are going to have to snap some bones to get it to fit, that's fine. Just jam it in there. Also if you have the neck or giblets, add them too. Toss any fat/skin/cartilage from the carcass harvest in as well.

2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, one onion - rough chop all this into big pieces - toss into the pot.

Smash 2/3 cloves of garlic, don't even bother chopping - toss into pot.

(what we are doing is making stock first things first, so don't worry, the pretty stuff comes later)

Add two whole boxes of chicken broth. Don't get fancy or expensive, the 99 cent box is exactly what I used. Add enough water to cover the bones completely. (If you don't have broth, honestly you can use all water, but I think this gives more flavor.)

Season to taste. I don't use measurements, but I do use a pretty heavy hand on the spices. Stock is just the base for later, so what you put in now is roundabout how it will taste when you're done. I, personally, go for salt and pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon of crushed bay leaves and general shakes of rosemary, thyme and a slightly heavier dollop of parsley.

Bring this pot of goodness to a boil, partially cover and simmer for 1. 5 hours. But keep an eye on it, if any foam forms, scoop it off with a spoon and throw it away. You don't want it.

After the boiling, let the soup sit there a bit and cool off some. When the pot is workable, pull out the bones with metal tongs and toss them in the trash. You are officially done with them. Take your pasta colander and put it inside/over top another big pot you have. You are going to drain out the big pieces of veggies (see why we didn't mince them?) and just get a pot of nothing but liquid.

Presto! You just made home-did stock.

While it is sitting in that 2nd pot, give it a taste. It may have thickened while boiling with the lid on. If you think it's too strong or too thick, add some water. Up to 2 cups is pretty safe. But not too much, we still want some fatty-flavor.

Put your stockpot BACK on the stove and add 2/3 tablespoons of EVOO. We're going to SWEAT our veggies. So turn the heat on LOW.

(mir poux bitchez!!)
2/3 diced celery stalks, 2/3 diced carrots, one half diced onion, 2/3 minced garlic

Toss the veggies into the warmed pot. WE DO NOT WANT TO FRY THESE! Sweating them is like getting them to well...sweat their flavors into the oil. Roundabout 10 minutes on low. Keep stirring.

To this add about 1/4 cup wine. It's a holiday, chances are you will have some leftover. Literally any kind you have will work. And bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes, this will make a quick and dirty wine reduction. Keep stirring.

Once it smells DELICIOUS, and trust me it will - grab the stock you just made and pour it in carefully.

Take that turkey out of the fridge that we harvested off the carcass earlier and dump it all in.

Bring it all to a boil and simmer partially covered for about 4 hours. Keep an eye out for that foam again, scoop any off and throw it away.

BOOM! Home-did soup.

Boil up some eggs noodles and when you get ready to serve just put them in the bowl first and ladle in your soup. It's flavorful and hearty. Extra stuffing? Yeah, you can put that in the soup too. OH TRUST ME. Store the noodles separately, else they will get soggy in the soup. And it freezes AMAZINGLY.

BBQ Pulled Turkey in a Crock pot

Ingredients: 24 oz bottle of pepsi or coke, 1 TBS red pepper flakes, 2 minced gloves of garlic, 1 TBS liquid smoke, 1 TBS onion flakes, about 1 pound of leftover turkey (no chopping needed).

Toss it all into the crock pot at the same time.


Cook on low 4/5 hours until your house smells delicious.

Serve on hamburger rolls with BBQ sauce.

How freaking simple? And it will be so tender you can shred it with a fork. My tip? Freeze half of it when you clean up the left overs the first night. Because yeah, it freezes awesome too.

Turkey Casserole

Ingredients: about 1 pound of leftover turkey diced to bite size, 1 pound of cooked macaroni, 1 can of cream of something soup, 1 cup of milk or sour cream, 2 or3 hand fulls of cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs.

Mix turkey, soup, sour cream and 1 or 2 hand fulls of cheese together in a square casserole dish. Add cooked noodles until evenly coated.

Top with 1 or 2 more hand fulls of cheese and breadcrumbs evenly on top.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes (since the turkey is already cooked, you just want to get it hot).


Quick AND tasty. though doesn't freeze too well, but DAMN is it good the next day for lunch with a small salad. Not sure what more you could ask for.

Except maybe...

Chex Mix is the thing about chex mix. It's REALLY forgiving and open to interpretation. You can find the recipe on EVERY box of the stuff. We have a few different kinds on hand usually. For this particular batch I used three cups each of rice, wheat and life cereal. Then one and a half cup of pretzels. And one cup each of oatmeal squares and honey nut chex. But there is a TON of cereal you can swap in and out. I see no need not to try cheerios or golden grahams :)

Then in a microwavable bowl I melt down an entire stick of butter and about 4 or 5 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce. When you have a liquid, I add garlic and onion power and season salt to the mix (mostly to preference or taste) and pour it over the whole big bowl of cereal.

Mix well.

Pop the bowl into the microwave for six minutes, stirring every two.

Spread it out on paper towels to dry/cool and sprinkle with a few shakes more of season salt.

The reason I like adding things like Life and Oatmeal squares is they are sweetened with brown sugar which add a nice little flavor depth to the mix. It's sweet, salty and savory at the same time.

**Added Sunday after the Thanks**
Mashed Potato Dumplings

So last year I decided to freeze my mashed potato left overs. BIG mistake. They didn't freeze well AT ALL.

This year I really wanted to do something better.

While making soup yesterday I remembered this idea I'd seen on a blog TWO Thanksgivings ago.

Ingredients: 1 cup mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup flour, 1 egg and salt and pepper to taste.

Now, I didn't follow that step by step, I admit. I used three cups potatoes, 1 1/2 flour gradually and two eggs. I patted the "dough" out onto my HEAVILY (it's REALLY sticky) floured counter and sliced it into about 1.5 inch or so squares.

Boiled for about 10 minutes (in the soup).


My soup, with these dumplings...I'm ready for a food coma all over again.

I created something tonight.

I'm calling it "Thanksgiving Redux Soup"

This is the basic soup recipe from up top. I also added in my left over gravy. OH YES.

I boiled the dumplings in the soup as I reheated it.

And I scooped leftover stuffing into the bowl before spooning in the soup.

It's all the benefit of a huge turkey dinner, just in one bowl of soup.

Holy shit my friends. So good I feel like I need a food coma.

And that's a wrap folks!

I hope these give you a leg up (or turkey thigh) with what to do with all your leftovers.

But tell me, what are some of your best go-to ideas for all the leftovers? Potato pancakes? Stuffing pudding? Lemmie know!

(and just fyi as I come up with more recipes I will add them and re-post this entry)


  1. Yay! LOVED these turkey recipes, so glad to see them making another appearance here!!! I'm debating pulling out a Paula Deen inspired recipe that is a turkey Shepherd's Pie with a Mashed Sweet Potato crust, we'll see how much of the leftovers are still hanging around tomorrow :)

  2. I've got two more coming! Cranberry crumble and mashed potato dumplings :)

  3. I tried out a new recipe for pear cranberry pie this thanksgiving which was very tasty and stupid easy, in case anyone is interested :)