Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving dinner, to be honest, was the most peaceful dinner we have had in months. For some time now, I’ve been threatening to put the dogs outside at dinnertime so that we could eat in peace, without a nose sneaking into our laps begging for food from under the table. Well, we did it. It was a beautiful and warm Thanksgiving afternoon so out they went! They were each given some cuts of turkey beforehand so they did get treats before they got the ol’ heave-ho.

Last year, Matt and I had so many leftovers and we were heading back to Florida in two days so we invited friends over for a Day-After Leftovers Potluck. This year, we’re doing it again except our guests have been asked to bring any of their own leftovers they’d like to share with everyone (no turkey, please!).  It’s a great way to spend some time with friends during this holiday weekend and a quick way to unburden ourselves and gain back some refrigerator shelf space.

Here’s a look at what we had and what we’re still having…

Pancetta & Sage Stuffing Muffins (or, Stuffins, as I like to call them!)

pancetta & sage stuffing muffins

6 ½ cups of white bread, cubed
½ pound of pancetta, diced
1 cup yellow or white onion
4 large sage leaves, chopped
3 springs of thyme
½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
2 eggs, lightly beaten

  1. Butter the muffin tin and set aside. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place bread cubes on a sheet pan (you might need two) and bake for 8-10 minutes until barely toasted
  3. Sautè the pancetta over medium-high heat, remember to stir regularly, until slightly browned and crispy (7-8 minutes). Remove and drain on paper towels. Keep any grease from pancetta in the pan.
  4. Bring heat to medium and cook the diced onion and ground pepper for about 10 minutes. Add sage and thyme.
  5. Turn off the heat and add pancetta, toasted bread crumbs, chicken broth, and mix. Taste if you need more salt (probably not!). Add the eggs and mix again.
  6. Scoop tightly packed mounds into the muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Maple

brown sugar & maple filled acorn squash

Pre-baked. Post-baked, the insides are all delicious and gooey.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut halves of acorn squash to however many servings you’ll need (one half = serving) and scrape out seeds and strings. Place the halves flesh side up on a baking sheet and sprinkle each with salt. Add a heaping tablespoon of butter and 2 or 3 tablespoons of brown sugar to the center of each half. Drizzle squash halves with maple syrup. Bake for between 75-90 minutes. Syrup with still be liquidy and hot when served.

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie (This recipe comes from A Year of Pies by Ashley English, contributed by Tim Mazurek of Lottie & Doof.)

brown sugar buttermilk pie

1 basic pie dough
3 eggs
1/3 cup of sugar
½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
*by the way, my 11-year old made this pie practically by herself so anyone can do it.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and add both sugars and flour, careful not to leave any lumps.
  3. Add the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla, nutmeg and salt until well blended.
  4. Turn down the heat on the oven to 325 degrees and pour filling into the pie crust.
  5. Bake for 45-60 minutes until the edges are set and the center of the pie is still wobbly. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

I’ll be honest, I missed Stove Top stuffing, sweet potato casserole, and my family in Florida. We didn’t even have rolls this year (there are just three of us here and we can only eat so much food!).  Our meal was delicious and nothing came from a box (even the 16-pound turkey was a heritage turkey from a free-range farm!), but I’m sincerely hoping someone will bring some of these traditional items to our leftovers potluck.

Isn’t it funny how difficult the transition can be when keeping up with tradition by trying to establish some of your very own?

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