Give those Thanksgiving leftovers a makeover

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The first day of Thanksgiving leftovers is a pleasure. Maybe even the second. But by day three,
I am burned out. I hate to waste food, so I start reinventing my leftovers. Like making bread with spare cranberry sauce and making pot pie with remaining mashed potatoes and turkey.
I stretched my imagination to bring you some wildly different dishes, including guacamole that has mashed potatoes in it. I also use leftover dressing to stuff mushrooms and peppers, and the result is delectable. Happy Thanksgiving!

If you need a break from sweets, you can freeze this bread. Once it cools completely, wrap in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and freeze for up to three weeks. It’s great to give away during the holidays.

Cranberry Sauce Orange Nut Bread

Makes 8 servings.

Cranberry-Orange Nut Bread

 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 large orange
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole or jellied cranberry sauce
1 cup canola oil
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Cooking spray
Cinnamon sugar for dusting (optional)

Heat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
Zest a large orange, and then juice it.
In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, cranberry sauce and orange juice until combined. Add cranberry mixture to dry mixture. Add zest and oil and beat until combined. Stir in nuts.
Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, then pour in mixture.
Bake for 55-60 minutes. If desired, dust with cinnamon sugar when it comes out of the oven. Allow to cool before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Note: This is even better on the second day.

This guacamole recipe sounds unusual, but it works! I took it to a party, and people gobbled it up. When I told them what the secret ingredient was, they were stunned.

Mashed Potato Guacamole

Makes 6 or more servings.

Mashed Potato Guacamole

1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
2 1/2 cups lightly mashed avocado
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or garlic salt
1/3 cup red onion, minced
2/3 cup tomato, chopped
2/3 cup corn kernels
Salt to taste

Place potatoes, avocado, lime juice and half the ground cumin in a food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining cumin, cumin seed and garlic powder or garlic salt. Stir in onion, tomato and corn. Add salt to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to serve.
Notes: If you are not serving right away, place avocado pits in guacamole to prevent browning. If you can wait 2 hours before serving, it’s even better!

Stuffed Peppers & Mushrooms

Makes 6 servings.

Stuffed Peppers and Mushrooms

1 pound sage sausage
6 ounces cream cheese
1 3/4 cups leftover dressing (see notes)
1/4cup mayonnaise
1 3/4 cups shredded Italian-style cheese or mozzarella, divided
1 large red bell pepper
1 large green or yellow bell pepper
4 large portobello mushroom caps
Italian seasoning
Garlic salt to taste

Heat oven to 400.
In a skillet, cook sausage until brown, then drain off grease. Turn off heat and add in cream cheese. Stir until sausage is thoroughly coated.
Stir in dressing and mayonnaise. Stir in 3/4 cup of cheese. Set aside.
Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise and shake out seeds. Remove stems from the portobello mushrooms. Fill pepper halves and mushroom caps with sausage filling. Top each with more shredded cheese, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning and dash of garlic salt.
Bake 20 minutes or until peppers and mushrooms are tender.
Notes: This recipe doesn’t work well with cornbread dressing; use traditional bread dressing. If you have cornbread dressing, omit the Italian seasoning, switch the cheese to a taco blend or shredded cheddar, and stuff it in bell peppers only — not mushrooms.

Easy Pot Pie

Makes 6 servings.

Easy Pot Pie

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large white onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
Salt and pepper
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
1 cup chicken stock
3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
3 cups chopped leftover turkey or cooked chicken
1 10.5-ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 1/4 cups half-and-half or milk
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions (see notes)

Heat oven to 400.
Heat the oil in a dutch oven. When it’s hot, add onion and celery and cook 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in peas and carrots, stock, bay leaves and thyme. Cook over medium-high heat for 7 minutes. Stir in poultry, cream of chicken soup and half-and-half. Reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. (I like to add a lot of pepper to this dish.)
Spread mashed potatoes in the bottom of a cast iron pan or casserole dish. Pour filling over potatoes. Unfold puff pastry and spread it over the top. You can drape the sides over.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve.
Note: If you cannot find puff pastry, you can use pie crust. Or use breakfast biscuits, placing uncooked biscuits on top of pot pie mixture. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.

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