Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole

Here's an easy, dairy free way to use up leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, and vegetables. If you used the recipe for Dairy Free, Fat Free Mashed Potatoes, you're already set to make this recipe dairy free.

Reheat your leftover mashed potatoes using a few splashes of vegetable broth or chicken broth at a time, microwaving in 1 minute intervals, then mashing with a fork until soft again and easy to spread.

My gravy was just turkey drippings thickened with cornstarch, but it solidifies when refrigerated  so I microwaved about a cup of this until liquified again.

I used green beans and carrots in this recipe, but you can use any leftover vegetables, especially peas, corn, carrots, and green beans. If they are large just chop them up before adding them to the dish.

The measurements can be adjusted depending on how much leftovers you have. Just judge it as 1 part turkey, 1 part gravy, 2 parts vegetables, and 3 parts mashed potatoes. I added the paprika mostly for color, and the thyme to flavor the vegetables which were not cooked. If your vegetables are already flavored, you may not need any spices, salt, or pepper. It's like a Thanksgiving version of Shepherd's pie!


1 cup cooked turkey, chopped
2 cups mixed vegetables
1/2 cup-1 cup turkey gravy
3 cups mashed potatoes or more
1/4 tsp paprika (optional)
1/4 tsp thyme (optional)
sea salt and black pepper to taste


1. Reheat your mashed potatoes and gravy until potatoes are soft to spread and gravy can be poured. Add chopped turkey, vegetables, salt, pepper, and thyme to a deep 8x8 casserole dish and mix together.

2. Pour half the gravy into the vegetables and mix. Then pour remaining gravy to fill in the space until turkey and vegetables are just covered.

3. Dollop mashed potatoes on top of the gravy mixture, and spread until fully covered and flat. The thickness of the mashed potatoes really depends on how much you want to use, and how deep your dish is. Once spread until smooth, you want to fluff the potatoes so that the tops get a little crispy in the oven. You can use a fork to rough it up or make a pretty design by carving into the smooth potato surface. Sprinkle with paprika.

4. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until hot. Set the oven to broil, and broil for 3 minutes or until the tips of the potatoes get a little bit browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve.

For dessert, leftover cranberry sauce mixed with cool whip--yum!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spicy Roasted Almonds, Pecans, &Walnuts

This was one of the first recipes my husband and I ever made together in our first kitchen. Since then it's been a favorite. It goes great as a snack to munch on before holiday dinners, and we usually make it for Thanksgiving. It's not my recipe, but since I'm making it this Thanksgiving, I'd like to share it with everyone. You'll get a big batch out of this, so it's great to share with a lot of guests. Use raw nuts that are unseasoned. I used dried oregano from my own garden. Smoked paprika is best and can be bought at Whole Foods, but if it's too hard to find, regular paprika can also be used. They are addicting!


2 cups whole almonds
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup walnut halves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine almonds, pecans, and walnuts. Adding 1 tablespoon at a time, toss the nuts with olive oil.

2. In a small bowl, combine red pepper, rosemary, oregano, smoked paprika, black pepper, and sea salt. Slowly sprinkle the mixture over the nuts, tossing to coat.

3. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool before serving them in your favorite holiday dish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Simple Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries are beautiful to photograph. The rich red color reminds me of Christmas decorations like holly berries and poinsettias, complete with pine trees and snow. It's not snowing in California, but we are still getting into the holidays. Thanksgiving is almost here, and cranberry sauce's tart, yet sweet flavor goes great with turkey. Eat it on hot sliced turkey, or cold on a leftover turkey sandwich. It stays for weeks in the fridge. I spiced mine up a bit and added some orange zest for a citrusy flavor. Cranberry sauce is so easy to make out of fresh cranberries, I won't buy the canned stuff ever again.

3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp allspice

1. Mix water and sugar together in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

2. Add cranberries, return liquid to a boil and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Skins will pop and it will begin to convert to a jam consistency.

3. Remove from heat and add zest and allspice. Cool to room temperature to serve. The sauce will thicken upon standing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Delicious Dairy Free, Fat Free Mashed Potatoes

Why didn't I make these before? Adding mayo and Smart Balance to mashed potatoes tastes delicious and is a great dairy free option, but it adds a lot of fat. A healthier option to try for your Thanksgiving feast is this recipe right here. It has so much flavor! Use vegetable broth to make it vegan. Serves 13-15 people.

12 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 1/2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1/2-1 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

1. Cover peeled, cubed potatoes with desired broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer 12-15 minutes or until tender. Try testing with a fork for softness. The potato cube should break apart easily.

3. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of broth.

4. With a hand masher or electric mixer, mash potatoes with 1/4 to 1/2 cup reserved broth, adding a little at a time. Be careful not to overdo it or the potatoes could be too moist.

5. Stir in chives, salt, and pepper.