Every year we sit down and give thanks for all that is good in our lives. I am particularly thankful for many things this year: that my parents and Larry’s are with us this year, and in relatively good health. The same goes for our respective siblings and their families. Larry and I are both thankful that our daughter Elinor has graduated from college and is striking out on her own in Denver. (Although we would be more thankful if she was in New York – but finding her own voice and path are important.)
I was thinking in this week’s post it would be fun to come up with a couple of ideas for your leftovers this weekend. Bear in mind that you should really try to use up your leftovers within 3 or 4 days. After that you run the risk of your food developing bacteria and making you sick. (We don’t want that!)
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I’m starting with three leftover ingredients: turkey (of course!), acorn squash and my sweet potato’s from last week.  Let’s first talk about the binder I will be using: it’s a Velouté Sauce. Velouté is one of the five Mother Sauces. It’s made with a vegetable, chicken or beef stock and thickened using butter and flour. “Velouté” translated means “velvety” which is your goal with this sauce.
In order to get that consistency you want to first melt the butter, then whisk in the flour. Once the flour is incorporated and foamy you slowly whisk in your stock. (You can follow the rest of the recipe below.)
First up is my Tex-Mex Pot Pie. I have a recipe for this below as well, but you can add whatever ingredients you have on hand. (Use my list as a guideline for quantities.) Since I am using the sweet potatoes I created last week I wanted to use ingredients that would work with the base chipotle flavor.
More after the jump …
First I sautéed the red onion and bell pepper; then added the black beans. At the last minute I remembered I had some frozen corn and added that too. Once the beans and corn were warmed up I tossed in the turkey, stock and chili powder. Tasted for seasoning and was quite happy. Before I go any further let me say that this concoction can be easily used in a warm corn tortilla and topped with a little salsa and cheese too.
After I placed the filling in an oven-proof ramekin I got to work on my topping. I simply placed the potatoes in the bowl of my mixer and whipped them with a little Fat Free Half and Half. No fuss!
Then pipe the potatoes over the filling and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Every part of this works in unison – needless to say I was very happy when I dug into it!
My second idea is a play on Turkey Tetrazzini. After doing a little research on this dish I found a few fun facts about how the dish was created. The dish is named after an opera singer from the turn of the century named Luisa Tetrazzini . It seems that a chef in San Francisco created and named the dish after her. I could not find definitive information that the story was true, but I did enjoy reading a little about her.
With tetrazzini in mind I decided to go the vegetable route for this dish. (You can find any number of recipes on line and in cookbooks for the turkey version.) I used acorn squash, but this would work perfectly with any squash or even a vegetable like green beans or broccoli. The other ingredient of note is a relatively new Barilla pasta product called Barilla Plus . It’s a multigrain pasta that has great flavor; unlike whole grain pastas that, in my opinion, taste like cardboard. The flavor of this is subtle enough that your family won’t even know you are using it – and it ends up being a great option with it’s legume/grain blend of flax seed, oats, barley, lentils and chickpeas. With it’s “hint of nutty flavor” it works beautifully with this dish.
I added vidalia onion to the roux to give the sauce more flavor. In addition, the sauce is slightly thinner because you are going to finish cooking the pasta in it, and then it will thicken it up. The squash get’s mixed in at the end and topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and parsley.
I hope you enjoy these leftover Thanksgiving recipes, and please consider passing along any others you have for our readers. It’s always great to hear what people come up with from their table.
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I wish you all a peaceful Thanksgiving filled with fun, family and good food!
Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina  comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She’s an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmers, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog , which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook , Twitter  and Pinterest .