Delicious and budget-friendly meals from Thanksgiving Leftovers

We hope everyone enjoyed a great Thanksgiving with friends and family. We’re so happy to have lots of leftovers. We’ll have turkey sandwiches (hot or cold) today for lunch, then I’ll start on the soup, pot pies, and shepherd’s pie. Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, has some great recipes on her blog.

Individual pot pies are easy and tasty!

Individual pot pies are easy and tasty!

It’s a busy time of year, but you don’t have to resort to fast food or pizza if you use small containers like ramekins. Maybe you even know someone who is ill, or caring for someone who is ill who would appreciate receiving your homemade pot pie.

Since I only use fresh vegetables and cook them so they still have a little crunch, I never have to worry about the vegetables becoming mushy and overcooked. Use pie crust or puff pastry or biscuits. If you don’t have enough gravy left over from Thanksgiving, you can easily make delicious gravy from chicken broth in just a few minutes. (Trader Joe’s has turkey broth.) A confession: I did not know how to make mashed potatoes (instant mashed potatoes are disgusting — Jim) or gravy until Jim taught me during our first Thanksgiving 28 years ago. Here’s the gravy recipe From The Joy of Cooking. If you keep cornstarch and broth on hand, you never have to use terrible canned soup in place of delicious gravy again, and you’ll notice there’s no heavy cream and no added fat. Since one of our family members is a vegetarian I’ve been using vegetable broth.

Quick Turkey Gravy
Bring the broth to a simmer. In a small bowl or measuring cup, add 3 tablespoons cornstarch to 1/4 cup cup cold water. Mix to a smooth paste. Whisking constantly, gradually pour the cornstarch/water mixture into the warm broth/stock, then cook for one minute. Season to taste with Sherry, port, rose, madeira or whatever light wine you have on hand (optional). Salt and ground black pepper.

Add the turkey and vegetables to the gravy and then pour the entire mixture into individual ramekins. If you’re using vegetable gravy, then it’s easy to accommodate the vegetarian in your family.

Maybe because I grew up eating hamburger helper and other terrible instant foods, the only dish I make that resembles a casserole is shepherd’s pie. Another great way to use veggies – and if you use ramekins, you can include a meatless one for your vegetarian.

Shepherd’s Pie
Brown ground beef or turkey. Season to taste and drain any fat. Spoon the browned meat into the dishes, layer with whatever vegetable you have on hand. Top with a layer of mashed potatoes. Freeze for later or sprinkle with shredded cheese and heat in the oven.




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