We spend so much time thinking about the holiday meal that we’re sometimes in shock when we realize folks have to eat over the weekend, too. At most gatherings, there are usually plenty of leftovers and no one seems to mind turkey sandwiches and some of the side dishes. After a day or two, you might want to consider revamping the leftover turkey into something else.
I love the comforting flavors of creamed chicken or turkey. Combined with carrots, celery and onions in a rich creamy sauce, it just seems to remind me of home. My mother made chicken or turkey pie, with plenty of flakey homemade crust on top, but it has the same flavor profile. Creamed Chicken on Corn Meal Waffles adds a twist by serving the creamy chicken over crisp cornmeal waffles. Delicious! Of course, your leftover turkey may be substituted for the chicken.
If you are more in the mood for stew, Turkey and Smoked Sausage Stew with Cornmeal Sage Dumplings is a delicious answer. The same celery, carrots and onion perfectly complement the turkey. The addition of smoked sausage creates hearty depth of flavor. An easy-to-make drop dumpling, seasoned with sage, creates a heartwarming stew your family will love.
What are your favorite post-Thanksgiving leftover meals?
In my opinion, there should not be a single Thanksgiving meal without pie. We’ve talked about whether pumpkin pie is Southern or not. In my experience, it has not been traditional in the South, but it seems to be more prevalent all the time.
If you would like to have a pumpkin pie with a Southern flair, I have just the recipe for you! Pumpkin Chess Pie is basically the classic with some pumpkin and spices in the filling. The mild pumpkin flavor is delicious! Many people would agree, it’s the pie crust that takes a homemade pie to next level. If that’s not your forte, you will love the Press N’ Bake Cream Cheese Crust. With a mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and flour together and press into the pie pan. Delicious! Of course, feel free to make traditional crust, if you prefer.
No Southern Thanksgiving meal would be complete without a beautiful Pecan Pie, and the Martha White® Pecan Pie is the perfect one. The filling used in both these pies is amazingly easy to stir-up. A flaky, slightly salty homemade pie crust perfectly complements the sweet filling. Alice Jarman’s perfect pie crust method is included with the recipe. A wonderful Southern baker, Alice started the Martha White® Test Kitchen in 1952. She left a legacy of wonderful recipes – many included in our collection today. Alice, we are thankful for you!
When preparing your Thanksgiving dinner, do you make extra so there is enough to eat the next day? I did an informal survey at the office asking about favorite ways to eat Thanksgiving leftovers. Here are some great ideas for you to use as inspiration.
- Potato cakes made with the leftover mashed potatoes for breakfast
- Turkey pies made by favorite family recipe.
- Southern Indiana traditional homemade noodles with turkey
- The classic Kentucky Hot Brown open-face sandwich – leftover turkey, combined with ham and topped with cheese sauce – and other variations on that theme
- Sandwiches – everything from straightforward basic cold turkey to turkey on whole grain bread with butter, cheese and lettuce to a hot open-face turkey sandwich with gravy…and a piece of pecan pie!
- Oh, and I loved this response: Leftovers?
Another way to incorporate leftover turkey is in a soup or stew which is always a favorite. Give the Turkey and Smoked Sausage Stew with Cornmeal Sage Dumplings recipe a try. It’s a punched up version of the classic Chicken and Dumplings. A little smoked sausage adds flavor to the stew that’s complemented with easy-to-make cornmeal sage dumplings.
Many people say Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday – and for good reason! Thanksgiving is a day devoted to family and friends coming together to give thanks for their blessings and share their love.
The fact that Thanksgiving usually includes a delicious meal makes it even more enjoyable. In addition to food, the excitement of football, the story-telling and reminiscing with family and friends, blends all these elements together to help create a very special day in our lives.
Thanksgiving is replete with family traditions. Not only the food, but the way we give thanks can be traditional. Many families hold hands around the table while each person expresses gratitude for the blessings in their lives. Others provide paper place mats for guests to write or draw something for which they are thankful. Additionally, I love the idea of playing or singing a favorite song of Thanksgiving around the table.
A friend recently told me she asks the guests around her table to write their expressions of gratitude on a slip of paper or a card. After sharing their sentiments with all guests, the notes are put together in a canning jar in an effort to preserve and enjoy later. Put the jar on a shelf or mantle as a reminder of our blessings. You could also put the sentiments in a scrapbook year after year.
There are so many ways to keep memories alive and enjoy the times we get to share with our loved ones. If you have specific traditions you would like to share, please send them to me. I would love to hear about all the traditions followed by others.
It is not unusual to hear someone say that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday – and I agree. There is nothing better than a day that’s about gathering family and friends around the table to eat a delicious meal and give thanks.
What are you thankful for this year? I’m thankful for…
• My family who had roots in the Southern soil, appreciated the land and used the bounty conscientiously.
• For my mother who passed down to me the love of Southern food and cooking and so much more.
• For my father, a great story teller, who kept us entertained and laughing. And for those who continue the tradition.
• For the lessons about love and respect for others that were nurtured around the dinner table.
• For my brothers and sisters who welcomed me – a late comer – into the family.
• For a new generation – my sister’s great grandchild – to carry on family traditions.
• For good friends who are there to share in joys and sorrows.
• And I am very thankful for my wonderful husband Phil who grew up in a small West Tennessee town with a mother and grandmother who were great Southern cooks. My most enthusiastic supporter who has his own Southern stories to tell.
I would love to hear what you are thankful for this year; tell me about it in the comments section below. Happy Thanksgiving!
I remember being fascinated as I watched Mother cut both ends off a can of cranberry sauce and seeing it slide gracefully into her oval glass dish. It just amazed me that it always emerged perfectly, slightly quivering and with the concentric indentations from the can. Then, she cut it into slices that overlapped to just fit the bowl. Isn’t it amazing that a small experience can create such a clear memory? And how remembering brings pleasure so many years later?
Although it was always on the table, I don’t remember cranberry sauce evoking much passion in my family. Fresh cranberries were rare in those days and we liked the jellied stuff just fine. Later, my mother switched to whole berry sauce and I seem to remember some mild discussion surrounding that.
Several years ago, my niece Ann made the most dramatic change in our cranberry accompaniment. She started making a congealed salad with fresh cranberries, oranges and pecans. Now as veteran congealed salad aficionados, this was something we could really get into.
Today, the trend is for everyone to have their personal fresh cranberry sauce or relish recipe, which I think is wonderful. But you know, this year I may just get a can of jellied cranberry sauce, cut both ends off the can and see if it still slides out perfectly like it did when I was a kid. I might even eat some with my turkey and dressing. What will you have?
Do you have memories of being relegated to the kids’ table while the grown-ups had Thanksgiving dinner in the dining room? Do you remember it as a time for telling secrets, silly jokes and mounding your sweet potato casserole into a mountain? Or were you yearning to sit at the big table?
I would love to hear your ‘kids’ table’ stories because I somehow missed that rite of passage. As the youngest of five, by the time I came along my brothers and sisters were already old enough to sit at the adult table, so I was there too. As they married and the family grew my mother just kept adding leaves to the table. And when she ran out of those, she set up a card table at one end. We’d round up chairs from all over the house and sometimes even put the piano bench at one end of the table so two could sit there.
There was a time when we finally outgrew the dining room and my nieces and nephews sat at a kids’ table in the kitchen. And even after they had graduated to the adult table, when they started showing up with friends and eventually husbands and wives of their own they would sometimes choose to sit together in the kitchen. Maybe they were reliving old memories of their time at the kids’ table. Or maybe, they’re just creating memories at their own adult table.