In a previous post I told the story of how I was going to order my Thanksgiving dinner. Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and it’s now time to tell the tale of Thanksgiving in a Box.
Hannaford was open on Thanksgiving so we were able to pick up our complete feast just a few hours before we wanted to eat. It came complete with a Butterball turkey (about 10 pounds), mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, butternut squash, rolls, cranberry sauce and a pie. I decided to add a few homemade things: pumpkin soup and stuffed mushrooms as starters and roasted root vegetables and the traditional green bean casserole.
We unpacked the box, feeling more like Christmas than Thanksgiving and laid out the entire feast. We found the reheating instructions in the bottom of the box. They seemed simple enough. The turkey would take about 2 hours; the stuffing and butternut squash could be reheated in the microwave. The mashed potatoes and gravy could be reheated on top of the stove.
Preparing this complete feast turned out to be simple. The turkey remained moist and flavorful. The mashed potatoes were creamy and the gravy was smooth. The butternut squash was pureed and easy to rewarm, it didn’t get watery but stayed smooth. The stuffing although not my special recipe was still very tasty.
To top things off there was a pumpkin pie, spicy and warming after a delicious meal. The only thing missing from the feast was a hot cup of coffee or cider to enjoy with the pie.
Would I order my Thanksgiving dinner again? I think so. By the time you figure in shopping and preparation time it’s cost effective and if you want to throw in a few of your own special touches, why not?
This complete feast turned out to be too much food for just the four of us so I had plenty leftover to create some of my favorite after Thanksgiving recipes that I thought I’d pass on to you.
Once Thanksgiving is over and the turkey sandwiches have been eaten then it’s time to strip the meat off the carcass and make soup. I’ve never been much of a turkey soup fan but have come up with a simpler way to cook it.
With the meat that is taken off the turkey then you can make one of my all time favorites: turkey tetrazzini.
With the leftover roasted vegetables I also make a soup. By creating a flavorful rich broth first, I strain it add the roasted vegetables, puree it and then add some cream to smooth it all out.
With these 3 recipes you’ll have enough food to get you from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, next year of course.
This stock will be the basis for a couple of the recipes – turkey soup and turkey tetrazini
Simple take all the meat off the turkey and set aside. Place the turkey carcass into a large pot and cover it with water. Bring the pot to a boil then turn it down to a low simmer and let it simmer for 2-3 hours. When done remove and discard the carcass and strain the broth.
¾ pound of spaghetti cooked and drained
2 cups of leftover turkey (both white and dark meat) chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup
1.5 -2 cups of turkey or chicken broth
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
salt pepper thyme
leftover rolls, broken up and toasted for the topping
or ready made bread crumbs
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
2. To make the sauce melt butter in a large saucepan, add flour and cook one minute on medium heat. Be sure not to brown the flour. 3. Add the broth (warmed) and stir until smooth and thick.
4. Add the can of cream of mushroom soup, stir until all combined.
5. Season with salt, pepper and dried thyme.
6. Stir in the chopped turkey
7. Break up the rolls onto a cookie sheet and put them into a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until toasted. Pulverize in a food processor to make crumbs. Pour them back out onto the cookie sheet and drizzle with oil and toss.
8. Once the pasta is cooked and the sauce is done combine the pasta and sauce together.
<TIP>It’s better for the dish to have more sauce than to be too dry. Pour the pasta combined with the sauce into a casserole dish and top with the bread crumbs. Bake until bubbly about 15 minutes.
<TIP> I usually serve mine with peas and leftover cranberry sauce but if you’re not a fan of peas then just add your favorite green vegetable.
Take the remainder of the turkey broth and bring it up to a low boil then turn down to a simmer. Taste for seasoning. Seasoning can be corrected with salt, pepper and some sage. Once the broth is brought up to simmer, leftover turkey and a package of frozen soup vegetables can be added. Once all the ingredients are heated through, its time to eat! Serve with bread and maybe a salad for a complete meal. Guaranteed to warm you up after all the light stringing and decorating.
Roasted Vegetable Soup
My Thanksgiving in a box came with pureed butternut squash. I could use it to make another soup or add it to the roasted vegetables and broth to add another dimension to the roasted vegetable soup. But I think I’ll leave it out. In case you didn’t have any roasted vegetables left over here’s a little bonus for you.
The vegetables I roasted for Thanksgiving dinner were turnips, rutabagas, carrots and onions. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and drizzled them with olive oil. I roasted them in a hot 425 degree oven until they were tender. It will depend on how the vegetables are cut as to the time it will take for them to cook. The smaller they are the quicker they will cook.
For the broth:
Broth is the basis of any soup. I think you need to create a flavorful, rich broth to create a tasty soup. The vegetable soup can be made with store bought stock, but making it is so easy why not try to make it homemade?
1. First take a large stock pot. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil. I wouldn’t use butter but if you’d like a little bit more smoky flavor then you can use a slice or two of bacon.
2. Chop one large onion, three ribs of celery with the leaves and two to three large carrots. Add to the pot and sauté for a minute or two. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
3. Add a bay leaf and about 6-8 whole peppercorns. Once you can smell the seasonings add water to cover.
4. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Let the liquid simmer until a rich and flavorful broth develops.
5. Check for seasoning and strain. That’s the basic vegetable broth. Once the broth has cooked (probably 3-4 hours at least) then you can use it to make soups, sauces or gravies.
6. It can be stored in a plastic containers once it’s completely cooled.
To make the roasted vegetable soup:
1. Heat your broth to a simmer.
2. In a separate pot make a roux of 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook the roux for about a minute. Add you selection of roasted vegetables, coat with the roux.
3. Add broth by ladlefuls until you reach the consistency you like. Now puree, either with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.
<TIP> If you use an immersion blender the soup won’t be as smooth. If you use a countertop blender be sure not to fill it too full –hot liquid will expand and blow the top off. Trust this really does happen.
Once the soup is pureed, check it for seasoning and then add about a cup of cream or whole milk to give the soup more smoothness and richness.
I hope these recipes and tips give you some inspiration for re-using your leftovers. It’s possible to take leftovers and create something completely different and delicious. So don’t throw away those bits of veggies or those flavorful bones! Use them to make some tummy warming soup or a filling casserole.