I love leftovers. Not simply microwaved on a plate, but as the basis for an entirely new dish. On weekends I'll often make large batches of side dishes like rice pilaf and mashed potatoes to use later that week in quick dinners like fried rice or potato soup. If you find yourself laden with a bounty of leftovers after a holiday feast, these recipes can help transform them into an entirely new meal that tastes anything but tired.
Mashed Potato Gnocchi
These can be made with either regular or sweet potatoes and are excellent served with browned butter and sage or creamy vodka sauce.
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups cold mashed potatoes
A pinch of salt
Dump half the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and make a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well along with a pinch of salt. Whisk the eggs in the well with fork, gradually incorporating them into the potatoes. Now use your hands to gather the mixture together to form a dough, adding more flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead gently until it just holds together, then allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. Be careful not to overwork the dough which will result in gummy, tough gnocchi.
After the dough has rested, divide it into quarters with a sharp knife, then roll each section into a ¾-inch-thick log. Cut the logs into 1/2-inch pieces. If desired, roll each gnocchi along the tines of a fork to create a textured surface. Place the gnocchi on a lightly floured tray and chill. At this point they can be wrapped well and stored in the fridge overnight or frozen, then transferred to zip-close bags.
When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a brisk boil. Cook gnocchi in batches (overcrowding will cause the gnocchi to break down), until they all float to the top of the pot, about four to five minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi to a warmed serving platter. Top with your desired sauce and serve.
Black Friday Breakfast Casserole
This is an ideal breakfast to throw together for departing houseguests. The baked casserole will keep for five days in the refrigerator.
2 cups leftover bread dressing
2 cups leftover creamed spinach (you could also use green bean casserole or sautéed leftover crudités)
2 cups grated cheese, such as cheddar or gruyere, divided
2 cups milk
1-2 cloves minced garlic or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
A pinch of salt
¼ cup chopped parsley, optional
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. Place the dressing in a large mixing bowl and use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to break it up into small lumps. Add the spinach, grated cheese, milk, eggs, garlic, salt and parsley and mix well. Transfer the mixture to the greased baking dish and bake in a preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until the casserole is golden brown and set in the middle. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Turkey and White Bean Chili
While this recipe is simple and economical, it is a multistep process that can be stretched out over two days. It makes good use of a slow cooker but can also be sped up with an InstantPot.
Leftover bones and skin from one roasted turkey
1 pound dried cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed and picked over
3 poblano peppers (or substitute two green peppers for mild chili)
1 tablespoon olive oil or bacon fat
2 onions, chopped
5-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro, stems finely minced and leaves set aside
1 teaspoon each ground cumin and dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
A large handful of corn tortilla chips, finely crushed
2 cups leftover shredded turkey
Place the turkey skin and bones in a large soup pot or slow cooker. Cover with three quarts of water, then bring to a boil (or cook on high for one hour), then reduce heat and simmer on low for at least three hours or overnight. Remove bones and strain when ready to use.
Meanwhile, soak the beans. You can do this quickly, bringing the beans to a boil in a large pot of water, then turning off the heat and letting them sit for one hour, or you can soak them in room-temperature water for 6-8 hours, or overnight.
Using metal tongs or a small grill rack, char the peppers over a gas flame until the skin is blistered and black all over. Transfer them to a bowl and cover tightly to allow them to steam. Once cool enough to handle, remove the charred skin as well as the seeds and pith. Roughly chop the roasted peppers and set aside.
When your broth and beans are ready, heat a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil followed by the chopped onions, garlic and cilantro stems. Sauté until fragrant and lightly brown, then add the soaked and drained beans along with eight to 10 cups of the broth, cumin and oregano, and chopped roasted peppers. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a bare simmer and cook for 90 minutes, or until beans are tender (or about 6-8 hours on low in a slow cooker). Add salt, crushed tortilla chips and shredded turkey. Mix well, then taste for seasoning. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and additional tortilla chips.