© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Beyond Sandwiches


It is now the day after and unless your Thanksgiving dishes were completely consumed by family and friends - maybe even licked clean - you've likely got some leftovers in the fridge and possibly a little holiday hangover when it comes to eating the exact same meal again. Katie Workman got us through a pre T-day crunch earlier this week. She's the author of the "Mom 100" cookbook and the creator of the "Mom 100" blog. We're going to ask her for some ideas on what do to with the leftovers. Hey there, Katie.

KATIE WORKMAN: Hi, how are you?

CORNISH: So first of all, how'd your meal turn out yesterday? When we talked on Monday, you said it was going to be a potluck.

WORKMAN: Yep. And it was and it was really good. It was fun. It's always those moments where everyone's coming and saying things like, you know, this has to cook at 325 for 27 minutes and you're going, um-hum, yeah. It's going to go in that hot oven and it will come out when it's hot.

CORNISH: Well, let's talk about leftovers. First, the bird. What do you usually do with the carcass?

WORKMAN: It's the world's simplest stock. You take off the majority of the meat and then it just goes into a pot. I usually cover it with broth. I start with chicken broth and then it becomes just a very, very rich broth, you know, more of a stock after you've cooked the carcass for an hour to two hours in it. Throw in some carrots, throw in some onions and you can definitely use water if you don't have broth and you just will have a slightly less rich stock in the end.

But I love to sort of have the broth already have flavor in it.

CORNISH: And that's what you do with the carcass. What about all that meat you spent all that time picking through with your fingers and throwing into a Tupperware - what do you do with it?

WORKMAN: Obviously, you know, there's a certain amount of sandwiches that everyone's willing to eat, but I usually make, at some point, a turkey shepherd's pie over the course of the weekend because you can use the leftover peas. You can use the leftover turkey, just make kind of a very basic white sauce. You saute some onions in butter, add a little flour, then you add some wine and broth and let it thicken from the flour.

And then you just throw in your peas, throw in some carrots, throw in the turkey, you know, fill a pie plate with this mixture and then pile the mashed potatoes right on top and put it in the oven. That is turkey shepherd's pie.

CORNISH: That is still pretty involved. What if you are lazier than that?

WORKMAN: Yes. And believe me, I am. One of the sort of good cheats is I do sort of a pulled pork, but with turkey. So you just shred the turkey meat, get a bottle of jarred barbeque sauce and toss the turkey with the barbeque sauce. Add a few more splashes of white wine vinegar and you can make sandwiches or just have it - a heaping bowl full.

CORNISH: Oh, my gosh. That actually sounds pretty good.

WORKMAN: Yeah, so that's super easy. Or you shred the turkey meat and you can just add some taco seasoning to it. You can use an envelope or you can just add, you know, cumin and chili powder. Saute it up with a little water so the spices distribute themselves evenly and then you can put out all the fixings and have turkey taco night.

CORNISH: All right. Let's tackle the sides 'cause I find that this is usually where you have more leftovers, like people basically steal all your turkey, take all the good stuff and you're just left with, I don't know what, a ton of brussel sprouts. What do you do with this stuff?

WORKMAN: Well, for raw brussel sprouts, actually, if you shred those up really finely, they make a really wonderful addition to salads. It's kind of like raw kale, you know. It's a very nice flavor and great texture. And for the mashed potatoes or the mashed sweet potatoes, you know, the mashed potatoes you can blend those up with an egg and make little mashed potato patties. You can just fry them up and make little mashed potato cakes.

And butternut squash, carrots, those kinds of roasted vegetables, if you just puree them and then add some chicken broth, you have a beautiful butternut squash soup right there and you don't have to do very much to it in terms of seasoning.

CORNISH: I take it this is the marshmallow-free variety we're talking about in terms of repurposing.

WORKMAN: You know, marshmallow in your soup never hurt anybody.

CORNISH: All right. Now...

WORKMAN: It's a crouton.

CORNISH: That's a marshmallow.

WORKMAN: Exactly.

CORNISH: Katie, lastly, any thoughts on, you know, just how to get the most out of your Thanksgiving Day leftovers? I mean, is there any particular thing in your house that wins people over in the days after?

WORKMAN: Well, pie for breakfast is the answer, always. And it was funny, my older son said to me when I was leaving to come for the interview, he said, Mom, you're not going to have anybody do anything with the pie, right? You're just going to let people eat their pie. I said, yes. Well, everyone can just eat their pie.

CORNISH: Okay. That's Katie Workman, author of the "Mom 100" cookbook and creator of the "Mom 100" blog. Katie, thanks for joining us.

WORKMAN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!