A love letter gives homage to Thanksgiving leftovers

What’s the best thing about Thanksgiving? I know we’re supposed to say it’s all the friends and loved ones gathered around a table groaning with traditional food and all the blessings and thankfulness. Yes, yadda, yadda, whatever. Just admit it — it’s the leftovers. It’s knowing for the rest of the long weekend you can stand in front of an open fridge with nothing but a plate and a fork and come away with the makings of a gastronomic masterpiece. Today, I’d like to share some of my family’s favorites.

THANKSGIVING HAND PIES

You know that perfect Thanksgiving bite where you load up your fork with turkey, potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato and cranberry? Well, I think it’s even better when wrapped in pie crust. See how I am? Now, of course, you can make these pies any size you wish but I find the smaller the pies, the more irresistible they are.

Yield: approximately 12 mini pies. Time: 35 minutes

One package (two 9”) pie crust – or homemade equivalent

1/2 cup diced turkey

1/2 cup mashed potatoes

1/2 cup stuffing

1/4 cup sweet potatoes or carrots

1/4 cup cranberry sauce

One egg

Preheat the oven to 375. Cut pie crust to desired size circles. I used a 3 inch cookie cutter. Place a little bit of each ingredient on half of the rounds being sure to leave about 1/4-inch clear on the outer edge. Place a second round on top of the first, pressing around the edges with your finger. Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges. Whisk the egg in a small bowl with a teaspoon of water or cream and brush the top of the pies with the egg wash. Poke the top with a fork to vent steam. Bake for 20 minutes.

Need more inspiration?

Turkey Pot Pie – Place a mixture of cubed turkey, mixed veggies and cream of chicken or mushroom soup between two pie crusts and bake until the crusts are golden and flaky.

Turkey Bacon Pizza – Top pizza crust with shredded turkey and any other leftovers you wish. Thin sliced Brussels sprouts are especially good on this. Top with crisp crumbled bacon and mozzarella cheese. Bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted.

Shortcut Turkey Tetrazzini – Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile combine cubed turkey and boxed frozen creamed spinach with enough sour cream to make a sauce. Mix in the pasta. Place in a baking dish and top with bread crumbs and a little shredded cheese. Bake until bubbly and browned.

But wait! You can use leftover stuffing to stuff mushrooms. Mix cranberries and vanilla yogurt in a blender for cranberry smoothies. You can make smoothies with leftover pumpkin too. Bake cranberry sauce into muffins or quick breads. Add sweet potato leftovers to bread pudding. Thanksgiving leftovers make me giddy. Enjoy!

Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Frugal Festivities contributed by Patti Diamond, author of Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!, www.divasonadime.com.

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