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Our Favorite Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes (with a Dash of San Saba Love)

It’s almost turkey time. We’re already loosening our belts and prepping for the onslaught of eating, drinking and merriment and the inevitable mountain of leftovers. We love using home-grown San Saba pecans to jazz up repurposed leftovers. Pick up some raw pecans from Alamo & Company to add to these incredibly delicious approaches to cooking with Thanksgiving leftovers.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce doesn’t have much appeal outside of Thanksgiving dinner, apart from spreading on cream cheese or brie as a dip. But here are two ways to use those leftovers into the holiday season – just throw the sauce in the freezer and thaw when ready to cook. 

Cranberry Pecan Bites | Adapted from DelishThese tasty little bites are easy to tote to “friendsgiving” or a holiday party, or to bake up for your own Friday football guests. Even better, the dish uses several ingredients that you’ll already have on hand: cranberry sauce, rosemary and pecans. 

Photo: Chelsea Lupkin, Delish

One tube crescent dough

Cooking Spray (for pan)

Flour (for rolling out dough)

8 oz. wheel Brie

1 c. whole berry cranberry sauce

1/2 c. chopped pecans

6 sprigs of rosemary, cut into 1’’ pieces

Preheat oven to 375ºF and grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll out crescent dough, and pinch seams together. Cut into 24 squares. Place squares into muffin slots. Cut brie into small pieces and place inside the crescent dough. Top with a spoonful of cranberry sauce, chopped pecans, and a sprig of rosemary. Bake until the crescent is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Cranberry Sauce Cake | Adapted from Serious Eats | For the bakers out there, use leftover cranberry sauce to make cranberry cakes. Just sub in pecans for almonds in this Serious Eats recipe.

Photo: Maria del mar Sacasa Serious Eats

Stuffing

Everyone knows the pioneer woman can’t do any wrong but have you tried her suggestions for leftover stuffing? Two words: stuffing waffles. Topped with gravy, they’re out of this world, y’all. Stuffing is usually the first leftover gone, but these recipes might have you whipping up a double dose of the beloved side dish from the get-go. 

Photo: Jessica Merchant, The Pioneer Woman

Stuffing Waffles | Adapted from The Pioneer WomanIf you own a waffle maker, dust it off. If you don’t own a waffle maker, buy one. Optional: coat some leftover turkey in a pecan-herb-breadcrumb mixture and flash fry to get the breading crispy. Viola, you have turkey and stuffing waffles. Want to get real crazy? Add a dollop of cranberry sauce and a scoop of mashed potatoes – honestly, we could eat just this for Thanksgiving. 

Leftover stuffing

Milk (optional)

Egg (optional)

Cooking Spray or melted butter, for greasing

Toasted pecan halves

Butter (optional)

Gravy (optional)

If stuffing is sufficiently moist, you needn’t add milk or egg. However, if it’s drier, whisk an egg and few tablespoons of milk and fold into the stuffing. Place stuffing mix into a hot waffle maker, and voila, stuffing waffles. Serve with warmed gravy or a pat of butter and a handful of toasted pecans. This works particularly well for sausage-based stuffing. Tip: feel free to add a fried egg and a side of thick-cut bacon.

Breakfast SkilletAdapted from The Pioneer WomanThis skillet takes only minutes to cook, is completely adjustable to the contents of your fridge, and satisfies every time.

Leftover stuffing

Breakfast sausage (optional)

Eggs

Leftover gravy (or butter)

Toasted pecans

Throw stuffing into a hot pan (you can also add mashed potatoes, green beans casserole and squash) and crisp up until it is toasted. If your stuffing is meatless, cook up some bulk breakfast or hot Italian sausage before adding the leftovers. Drizzle with gravy, top with fried or poached eggs and a handful of toasted pecans. Serve warm.

Photo: Jessica Merchant, The Pioneer Woman

Stuffing-stuffed SquashAdapted from The Pioneer WomanA sweet and savory (and easy dinner) is stuffed squash. This also works for stuffed sweet potatoes if you need to use some extra up. Adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

One acorn or delicata squash, halved and seeded

Salt

Pepper

Nutmeg

Butter

Stuffing

Toasted pecans

Lightly salt and pepper the squash, giving it a dash of nutmeg. Roast at 425ºF for about 30 minutes (cook time depends on size). In a skillet, cook the butter to just the point of browning. Add the stuffing to the pan and cook on low until warm. Stuff the squash halves with the butter-squash mixture and top with toasted pecans. (You can also throw in some goat cheese for extra richness).

Photo: Jessica Merchant, The Pioneer Woman

Turkey

Every red-blooded American knows that coming up with creative, delicious ways to use up all that leftover turkey is hard. Turkey is just so…turkey. But here are a couple of our favorite recipes that repurpose turkey.

Fruited Turkey Salad with PecansAdapted from A Family FeastWe use the fabulous chicken salad at Oliver & Co. as our inspiration to repurpose all that leftover meat. This turkey salad goes great with freshly baked croissants, crackers, baby greens or even stuffed into an avocado. We like to go light on the mayo to let the other flavors shine.

3/4 cup raw pecans from Alamo Pecan, toasted 

1 pound white turkey meat

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely minced

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons celery, finely minced

2 tablespoons sweet onion, finely minced

1/2 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt (to taste)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Use a stand mixer to break up the turkey meat. Then add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.

Turkey Tetrazzini | Adapted from The Pioneer WomanThis turkey tetrazzini is one of our favorite ways to incorporate leftover turkey into a comfort meal.

Photo: Jessica Merchant, The Pioneer Woman

Leftover turkey

4 tablespoons butter

1 pound mushrooms, quartered

1 cup white wine

Salt

Pepper

1/3 cup flour

8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature or softened and cut into pieces

1 cup Monterrey Jack, grated

1 cup Parmesan, grated

3 cups turkey broth (or chicken)

One cup peas, defrosted

1 cup black olives, chopped

1 pound spaghetti, broken and cooked to al dente

1/2 cup panko or breadcrumbs, mixed with 1/2 cup crushed pecans

6 slices Bacon (cooked and crumbled)

4 cloves garlic, minced

Heat butter on medium, sauté garlic for two minutes. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt, cook until golden. Add white wine, reduce liquid by half. Sprinkle in flour, stir. Stirs in two cups of broth. Add cream cheese, stir until creamy sauce forms. Add broth to thin as necessary. Add turkey, chopped olives, green peas and grated cheese mixture and mix well. Add crumbled bacon and cooked spaghetti. Stir, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add an additional cup of broth. Pour it into a large casserole dish. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and breadcrumb-pecan mixture. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.

Photo: Jessica Merchant, The Pioneer Woman

Bon appetit, y’all!

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