Saturday, November 30, 2013

Week of Leftovers Day One: Turkey Pozole

Today is Friday- the day after you filled your tummies with everything from game day chips and dips to turkey, gravy and of course PIE! You're full, you're bloated, you're (quite possibly, especially if you had dinner at our place) hungover and you want something easy and relatively light to help you recuperate.

I grew up in a large Mexican family and my all time, go-to, comfort food meal is Pozole. I remember being not even tall enough to reach the stove, pulling up a chair to steal giant spoonfuls of my Grandmothers pozole. I was obsessed with those plump white kernels of hominy, tender pieces of pork and the rich, spicy red broth.

If you've never had pozole, it is a hominy stew which can be made with a  variety of different meats, sauce bases and stewed meat. In our house we always enjoyed the Pozole Roja variety with either pork or chicken and tons of garnishes like onions, cabbage, radishes, cilantro, chile flakes and Mexican oregano. I serve it along side some warm corn tortillas or a crispy tostada (fried corn tortilla) with refried beans and cheese. My Grandmother made everything from scratch, including her red sauce for this stew, and I pray one day she might even share her recipe with me! Until then I use a can of my favorite enchilada sauce and it tastes close enough and saves a ton of time as homemade red sauce can be very labor intensive. This is a post Thanksgiving meal you will want to make while family is still in town because it makes plenty- enough to serve about 6-8! Although rich and hearty, this stew is actually pretty low calorie (a cup of hominy weighs in at under 100 calories!) Using the white meat turkey, and low sodium chicken broth

Turkey Pozole Ingredients:

2 heaping cups of shredded turkey
1 28oz can red enchilada sauce
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 29oz can of white hominy**
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp of Mexican oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional Garnish:

Shredded cabbage
Chopped onion
Sliced radish
Chile flake
Mexican oregano

In a large pot saute the onion and until translucent, add the garlic and cook until fragrant- do not brown. Add the remaining ingredients, except the turkey meat. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, stir in the turkey and simmer for about 5 minutes longer. Serve with warm corn tortillas, chips or tostada and refried beans.

**I've met them, but I will never understand them: People who hate hominy! If you are one of the misunderstood, feel free to replace the hominy with regular white corn, black beans or chickpeas!

Week Of Leftovers Day Two: Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Today is day 2 of our Week of Leftovers and we are swooning over these Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps. They are the exact thing we are craving after a weekend of rich foods. Here's the recipe:

1 head of butter lettuce
1 cup shredded white meat turkey
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
12 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup each, chopped cilantro & mint

Place 2 lettuce leaves overlapping on your plate, fill with slaw, cilantro and mint. Garnish with lime wedges and serve with peanut dipping sauce.

Peanut Dipping Sauce

3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
3 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 inch of fresh ginger (or 1 tsp powdered)
a splash or two of sesame oil

Mix all in a food processor until smooth.

We gobbled up three of these for dinner! They were so addicting and SO light. Our favorite Thai place makes wraps like these with ground turkey and tons of fresh herbs. That's where the inspiration for these came from. You could certainly use other types of large leafed lettuce, but I've found butter lettuce works best and it's so tender! Alternative you chop a ton of lettuce and layer everything salad style, which is what I did for with the leftovers (packed them in the DH's lunch box for the next day!).

They are also phenomenal as a meat free option, you could replace the meat with saute'd tofu or hearty mushrooms.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Week Of Thanksgiving Leftovers

Whew! Guys...We made it!

Congratulations, you all lived through all the traffic, the food, the football,
You stuffed yourself until you had to be rolled out to the car. You drank and swapped family stories over gigantic moats of turkey gravy and you traversed a dessert table toppling over with delicious, sugar filled, whip cream dolloped treats.

I am so proud of you. In the days after Thanksgiving you are probably in one of two boats, you were either sent home with pounds upon pounds of turkey or you hosted and were left with pounds upon pounds of turkey (and all the sides, desserts!)

So what we are going to do this week is find a way to help you re-use those leftovers in ways that are a little unexpected and even a few that are a little on the healthful side.

First, here's a list of this weeks meals:

Friday: Turkey Pozole  and Chocolate Dipped Dessert Bites
Saturday: Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Sunday: Curried Turkey Hand Pies with Winter Vegetable Salad and Cranberry Sauce Dressing
Monday: Loaded Turkey Taquitos & Green Chile Potato Soup
Tuesday: Pesto Turkey Salad on Croissant
Wednesday: Leftover Stuffing Breakfast Bake
Thursday: Potato Pancakes, Ham Studded Wilted Greens and Poached Eggs

Next, here is a list of little "cheats" in helping you deal with the overwhelming amount of leftovers:

1. What to toss. I am a huge proponent of using up as much leftovers as possible. I hate waste. However, if you really know that no one in your family is going to touch day old gravy- toss it. Recognize what leftover ingredients are usable (leftover meats and cheeses from the snack table, turkey bones for stock) and which are not (wilted garnishes from the turkey plate, mayo based dips or sauces that have been sitting out for hours). I keep all unused bread, crackers, chips and pretzels and pulverize them in my food processor. I use these deliciously flavorful breadcrumbs year round!

2. Think long term. Much of what is leftover can actually be frozen (if you can make room) and kept for weeks or even months. My father in law brought an extra green bean casserole to dinner, so I am freezing the one I made so we can thaw and bake it for Christmas dinner. Leftover desserts freeze well, and I always take about half of the leftover turkey meat I am left with and freeze it for later. The turkey taquitos we'll be making on Monday freeze perfectly! Just pop them out of the freezer right into the oven and bake until golden brown!

3. Bring in the freshness. Leftover have the tendency to feel very one note in terms of flavor, bringing in fresh citrus, chiles, herbs and spices is a great way to breathe new life into your meals.

4. Cook small. The last thing you want to do is end up with a bunch of leftover leftovers! I have to be careful when making things like soups and turkey salad, because it's just the two of us here. So don't cook like me, and make sure you're only preparing what you will reasonably consume in the days following TG.

5. M.Y.O take out. My Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps were inspired by my favorite Thai place in town. They stuff this tender little lettuce cups with ground turkey, fresh mint and green onion with a creamy, sweet peanut dipping sauce. Yum! So think about throwing some of that turkey onto a white sauce pizza, or into pineapple fried rice, and stuffed into gooey quesadillas. Throwing ethnic flavors at turkey meat works because turkey doesn't have a strong taste at all, it's the perfect canvas for all of your favorite take-out preferences.

As much as I love Thanksgiving I love love love playing with the leftovers. Every year I like to challenge myself to try new things with every part of the leftover Thanksgiving meal, not just the turkey. Is there something that your family loves to do with all of your leftovers? Comment below, I would love to hear from you!

I truly hope you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving, surrounded by friends and family and I hope you're all as stuffed and happy as I am.

Happy Holidays Ya'll!!