Thanksgiving Quesadillas

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Still have leftovers taking up precious space in your fridge? I know my fridge is bursting to the seams since we made a full Thanksgiving dinner for just two of us. So lots of leftovers, and some complaints from the peanut gallery that they need something other than Thanksgiving food.

Enter quesadillas. Now, I am a #1 fan of the Thanksgiving sandwich, and you definitely need to make sure to eat one to several of those in the days after Thanksgiving. But this quesadilla is a nice way to mix up the traditional Thanksgiving flavors to make it feel like you are eating something different. You can also mix and match what you want to put inside the quesadillas for any picky eaters complaining about the leftovers…

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THANKSGIVING QUESADILLAS

INGREDIENTS

Leftover turkey (dark meat reigns supreme here)
Cranberry sauce*
Pepper jack cheese, shredded
Chopped onion
Salsa*
Gravy
Tortillas
Butter

DIRECTIONS

Place desired amounts of turkey, cranberry sauce, pepper jack cheese, onion, and salsa on on tortilla. Season with salt and pepper (especially the turkey).

Heat pan to medium heat. Melt butter and rotate pan to coat. Place tortilla with filling down and top with another tortilla on top. Press down. Cook until golden brown, for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until cheese is melted and tortilla is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Slice quesadilla and top with gravy and additional salsa.

*Use the well gelled sections/whole cranberries from your cranberry sauce. If you use cranberry sauce that is too runny, your tortillas can get soggy. Same for salsa, chunkier salsa works better in this.

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

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Let me preface this whole post by saying I don’t think I have ever had the green bean casserole with the canned green beans and cream of mushroom soup. I have definitely had those french fried onions (#latenightsnacking).

I’ve made homemade green casserole before on the blog, but I was never completely satisfied by it. One of the hardest things when first cooking what how to get sauces to thicken with a roux. I swear that I would follow recipe directly exactly but it would never thicken up as promised (I am looking at you chicken pot pie recipes…).

BUT I was determined. And I wanted to make a casserole completely from scratch to see if I could get those french fried onions to be even better than than those boxed ones.

And finally I feel like I was able to master a homemade version of cream of mushroom! Forgive the darker photo from a winter evening and make this homemade this holiday season!

HOMEMADE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated & Pioneer Woman

For the Casserole:
1 lb green beans, trimmed and chopped
1 lb cremini mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup half and half

For the onions:
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
Oil for frying

DIRECTIONS

Cover sliced onions with buttermilk and refrigerate for an hour.

Heat large pan and add green beans. Cook for 2-3 minutes until sizzling. Add water until beans are just covered and cook for 4-5 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain green beans and cool with cold water (or do water bath if you aren’t feeling as lazy as I was when cooking).

Heat large pan and add butter and mushrooms. Season with salta and pepper and cook until mushrooms have released water, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly stir in chicken stock and half and half. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer while stirring. Simmer until thicken for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer into 8×8 casserole dish (or 9×9 if you want a smaller filling to fried onion ratio.)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oil to 375°F.

In large dish, mix flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Working in batches, drain onions and dip into flour mixture, coating to cover. Fry in oil for 1-3 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain and salt when hot out of the oil. Repeat with remaining batches.

Sprinkle onions on top of casserole. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until bubbling and onions are golden brown.

Thanksgiving Nachos

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Most people know exactly what they are going to make for their Thanksgiving meal. There are the must-haves of turkey, stuffing, and cranberries, and people have their own traditional or family recipes to include too. So why bother sharing more recipes for the day-of when likely 1) you literally can’t add any more dishes because of time, dishes, and space or 2) you have traditions to follow. But if that’s what you need you can look here.

Instead lets focus on leftovers. Now, the main Thanksgiving meal is great and wonderful. But leftovers are really where it’s at. The days after Thanksgiving are full of some of the best turkey sandwiches ever. But let me tempt you to try using your leftovers a new way: on nachos.

If you love to combine all your Thanksgiving food on your plate, this is for you. These nachos do just that but add a crunchy, salty tortilla chip and some salty cheese on top.

Now I do not advocate nachos and no turkey sandwiches, but think about these nachos when you are tired of eating your leftovers the same way day after day.

THANKSGIVING NACHOS
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS:

Tortilla chips
Cojita cheese, crumbled
Turkey, shredded
Cranberry sauce
Stuffing, optional
Gravy, warmed

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350.

Line baking sheet with tortilla chips. Top with turkey, cheese, and stuffing. Cook in oven for 3-8 minutes, until warmed and browned. Drizzle cranberry sauce and gravy on top.

Turkey Sliders with Mustard Poppy Seed Sauce

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Are you still full?

I hope not because you need to start making room in your stomach for all of those left overs you (hopefully) have.  Having leftovers after Thanksgiving is like having another holiday celebration right after- I love them.

I love the classic turkey sandwich with turkey, maybe a little mayo, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.  I will be definitely having a few of those, but I have so many ideas for leftover recipes that I may need to roast another turkey (just FYI mom).

These turkey sliders are a great way to use up your leftover turkey.  I made these back at my Half Christmas celebration in June- they are also great party food for people.  Take your turkey & gravy, stick it on a slider roll, top with a mustard poppy seed sauce, and bake away.  Delicious.

If in the past few weeks it hasn’t been obvious, I love Thanksgiving.  And Christmas as well, so prepare yourself for the next month.  For anyone who sees me in person, there is a 99% chance I will have some baked good to pass along.

TURKEY SLIDERS WITH MUSTARD POPPY SEED SAUCE
Adapted from Perfecting the Pairing

INGREDIENTS

12 Hawaiian dinner rolls
Shredded turkey
Gravy, optional
Salt and pepper
Provolone cheese, sliced
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Slice rolls in half.  Combine turkey and gravy if desired.  Season with salt and pepper.  Divide turkey filling between bottom buns.  Top with provolone cheese and transfer to rimmed baking pan.  Place top bun on top.

In a small bowl mix together melted butter, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.  Pour and brush sauce on top of rolls.  Sprinkle poppy seeds on top.  Bake until cheese is melted and turkey is warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Makes 12 sliders.

Pear and Fig Stuffing

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Here we are again with our old pal stuffing.  I love stuffing so much, I just wish it was a little prettier to look at.

Are you all ready for the big day this week? I am literally counting down the minutes- nay seconds- until I am on my plane back to Houston.  Back to my family, a big kitchen with lots of counter space, and lots of good food.  My stretchy pants are poised and ready to go into action this Thursday.

If you are still planning your Thanksgiving meal (or if you love to eat stuffing any time of the year), this is a unique but delicious recipe for stuffing.  Not your traditional stuffing fare that typically has mushrooms, celery, or sausage.  Instead, you get sweet pears, chewy figs, and salty cheese.  And it was divine.  I made this late at night for dinner the next day, and I physically could not stop myself from eating little pieces at midnight.

By the way, using Hawaiian rolls for stuffing is an idea that I wish I had thought of years ago.  Especially in this recipe, you will love it.  It tastes even better at in the hours from 12 AM – 1 AM.  Thanksgiving late night snack anyone?

PEAR AND FIG STUFFING
Adapted from Fake Food Free

INGREDIENTS

2-3 tablespoons butter
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 pears, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dried sage
8 cups torn bread (like Hawaiian rolls)
3/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cubed Asadero cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan.

In a large skillet, melt better.  Cook red onion until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Add pear, salt, pepper, and sage.  Cook until pear is tender, about 5-7 minutes.

In a bowl, stir together bread, pear mixture, and figs.  Stir in chicken broth until you reach your desired stuffing consistency.  Stir in egg.  Spread in prepared baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle cheese on top.  Cook until cheese is melted, about 5-10 minutes.

Turkey Gravy & Mom’s Stuffing

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Yep, here we go again with some more stuffing. And I got one more coming for you before T-Day.  But today you get a bonus with your stuffing: some gravy.

This stuffing is mom’s traditional Thanksgiving stuffing- we have had it every Thanksgiving I can remember.  Mom always makes two versionS: dry stuffing and wet stuffing.  You see, our family is firmly divided between stuffing texture.  We have some who prefer stuffing to be pretty “wet” or “moist” (such appetizing words right there), and we have others who want it dry as the dessert and crunchy.

I am an intermediary, as I like both types.  So in my role as a diplomat, I always help myself to both kinds.  However, I tend to lean a little more toward the wet side.  <- What a wonderful sentence there.

My new favorite take on Mom’s stuffing is to make my own turkey stock, using Alton Brown’s method.  So, today we are going to talk about getting all up in our turkey bird’s business and use his giblets and other body parts to make us a good turkey stock.

Wetness, giblets, and turkey parts. Yum.  This post if filled with such delicious ways of discussing food.

TURKEY STOCK
Slightly Adapted from Alton Brown

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 turkey neck (and backbone if available)
1 set of giblets
1 red onion, quartered
1 medium carrot, quartered (optional)
2-3 celery stalk tops
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

DIRECTIONS

Heat canola oil in a stockpot over medium heat until shimmering. Add neck (and backbone if available) and sauté 5-6 minutes, until browned. Add giblets, onion, carrot, celery, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 4-5 minutes. Add water, bay leaf, and black peppercorns.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 1-1 ½ hours until stock has reduced.

Strain stock and discard solids. Reserve giblets if desired.

For Stuffing: Use this turkey stock instead of normal chicken stock to make your stuffing.  My mom’s recipe can be found here.  And it is delcious

For Gravy: Use in place of normal stock.  Here is Alton Brown’s recipe.

Apple Stuffing

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Last Thanksgiving, we went a little stuffing crazy. According to official psychologist-in-training expertise.  Which, to me, is a perfectly acceptable form of going crazy along with pie crazy, cheese crazy, Diet Coke crazy, and cranberry crazy.

So last Thanksgiving we had a lot of stuffing: 3 types (And I tried lobbying for a fourth).  First, we had our traditional stuffing both “dry” and “wet” due to differing personal preferences, and we tried out this new apple stuffing. This apple stuffing turned out well: rich tasting due to adding an egg, and the apples added a little bite and sweetness.

This year’s Thanksgiving menu is still in it’s draft phase, and I have had dreams of so many different types of stuffing to try.  Oyster, sausage, fig, pear, sourdough, naan- there are some many possibilities with this bread dish.  I think we definitely need a full week long Thanksgiving celebration with at least one full day dedicated to only eating stuffing.

I highly recommend making lots of stuffing this Thanksgiving- that way you have plenty leftover.  There is nothing better than stuffing on a sandwich.  Bread on bread is always the way to go.

Yeah, if you couldn’t tell, I really love stuffing.

APPLE STUFFING
Slightly Adapted from Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS

3-4 tablespoon butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 apples, chopped (peeled if desired)
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
8 cups bread cubes
1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth
1 egg

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan.

In a large skillet, melt butter. Add leeks and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add apple and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 6-9 minutes. Season with sage and rosemary. In a large bowl, stir bread cubes and apple leek mixture together. Pour in chicken broth until desired stuffing consistency is reached. Stir in egg.

Spread mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Sweet Potato Rolls: Secret Recipe Club

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Bread is a wonderful thing.  Especially when it’s all warm and had a little dab of melted butter on top.

If it were possible, I would like to spend my life curled up inside a warm roll with lots of butter.  That would be my nirvana right there.

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Lisa’s blog The Authentic Suburban Gourmet.  She had so many great recipes to choose from, but I knew I wanted something wonderfully appropriate for the fall season since Texas is finally getting some of the cooler temperatures outside.  When i came across her pumpkin rolls, I was hooked.  Since I am still a pumpkin newbie, I decided to sub in some sweet potatoes.

These rolls were wonderful.  Soft and tender and just a little bit sweet.  Perfect plain, warm, cooled, with butter, with apple butter, or if you’re daring cinnamon sugar & butter (breakfast of champions right there).  They would be perfect for- dare I say it- Thanksgiving!  I have already started menu planning our Thanksgiving meal (only because I enjoy doing so), but if you are a normal human being and focus on one holiday at a time, you can bookmark these babies for next month.

Leftover turkey sandwiches on sweet potato rolls?  I may need to roast a second turkey just to make sure I can get enough leftovers.

SWEET POTATO ROLLS
Slightly Adapted from Authentic Suburban Gourmet

INGREDIENTS

1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sweet potato puree
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

DIRECTIONS

Combine yeast, water, and a pinch of sugar. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.

Place milk in saucepan over medium heat.  Heat, stirring constantly, until scalded (little bubbles will begin to form on the side).  Stir in sweet potato puree, sugar, butter, and salt.  Stir until combined.  Remove from heat and stir in yeast mixture.   Add flour and stir together until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in oiled bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  Punch down bread and divide dough into 12 – 18 pieces.  Roll into balls.  Place dough in oiled 9×13 pan.  Cover and lit rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes.

Makes 12-18 rolls.

Make sure to check out what everyone else made for SRC this month!