5 Kid-Friendly Ways to Reinvent Thanksgiving Leftovers
We have four small kids at our house with small kid appetites. That means leftovers are a nightly thing. But in the spirit of variety, I try to change things up for round two with two things in mind: Half the cooking is already done (hooray for me!), and I can usually incorporate our leftovers into a riff of an already beloved dish (hooray for the kids!). For example, leftover broiled salmon might become a simple salmon frittata for my egg-loving brood. Knowing our kid-tested family favorites, here’s our plan for those Thanksgiving leftovers to come:
Give that bird a whole new flavor with one of our family’s two favorite ways to eat (and re-eat) poultry: Creamy Lemon Pasta or stir-fry with fresh ginger-peanut sauce. Both kid tested, both approved.
If you have extra cranberry sauce, and you love Ina Garten’s corn muffins as much as we do, this four-step idea is for you. 1. Mix up a batch of her delicious muffin batter. 2. Fill a muffin tin halfway. 3. Add a dollop of leftover cranberry sauce. 4. Top with a tablespoon more batter and bake.
We have a favorite slow-cooker potato soup recipe at our house, but if you’ve got a few cups of leftover mashed potatoes, your work is mostly done. In a saucepan, just combine chicken stock with your potatoes and whisk until smooth while the whole thing heats up. (Alternatively, pour the whole thing into a blender, then microwave until warm.) Top with crispy bacon bits and cheddar cheese.
We’re pepper people around here, and our kids will eat ‘em stuffed with nearly anything. So why not use actual stuffing? Simply cut the top off each pepper, pull off the stem and fill with stuffing. Then it’s into a greased pan and an oven at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Zucchini more your speed? Cut them lengthwise, use a melon baller to hollow out enough space for the stuffing and do the same thing: greased pan, 375 degrees F. But this part’s important: Call the zucchini “boats” when you serve them to the small fries.
Break out your muffin pan and line each cup with phyllo dough, pie crust or puff pastry. Let each kid fill the cups with whatever combination of leftovers they like — a little turkey, a bit of cranberry. Pop the whole thing into the oven at the temperature specified on your dough packaging. About 7 minutes should do it.
Charity Curley Mathews is a contributor to The Huffington Post and the founder of Foodlets.com: Mini Foodies in the Making…Maybe. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, plus their four small kids, and dreams of someday getting the dishwasher unloaded before it’s time to start making dinner again.