THE COOKING HOBBYIST: Thanksgiving is coming, as are the delicious leftovers

Although I find it difficult to believe it’s already November (where did the rest of the year go?), I am happy to announce it’s nearly time for my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.

In my column published Nov. 11, 2018, I shared Martha Stewart’s Thanksgiving turkey recipe along with my experience cooking it in 2017.

This year, I thought I’d discuss my other favorite part of this yearly day of thanks: leftovers.

It seems as though everyone I know has a different favorite way to consume their Thanksgiving leftovers.

Some people love to make sandwiches with the turkey meat. One of my favorite episodes of “Friends” deals with Ross’ coworker eating his Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich with Monica’s secret addition: A gravy-soaked third slice of bread right in the center. “I call it the moist-maker,” Ross said.

I’ve never tried that particular sandwich, but it does sound delicious.

Other people enjoy recreating their Thanksgiving plate with separate servings until the leftovers are all gone.

I’m sure there are other time-honored traditions when it comes to the leftovers, but right now I’d like to share my favorite one.

For as long as I can remember, my mother has made the Thanksgiving leftover casserole.

There’s no specific recipe to follow, no requirements for what goes in and what doesn’t.

The casserole consists entirely of what is at hand the morning after the holiday.

The basic casserole always includes my favorite foods, though: mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey and stuffing.

And this casserole is always received with healthy appetites and smiling faces.

Basic Thanksgiving leftover casserole

Mashed potatoes

Cooked turkey cut or shredded into bite-size pieces


Gravy (either homemade, from a jar or from a can)

Optional additions: Corn or other vegetables, cranberries either as sauce or jelly, any other leftovers you think might taste good.

To put together the casserole, my mother and I always start with mashed potatoes. We fill the bottom of a rectangular glass dish with smushed-down mashed potatoes. That is then covered with a layer of gravy.

Next comes a layer of turkey meat and another layer of gravy.

Finally, top the casserole with stuffing. If you have gravy remaining, cover the stuffing with it.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees when you’re ready to heat the casserole.

Place the dish in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until the dish has reached the desired temperature.

Consume with glee along with leftover dinner rolls, cranberries or whatever else your heart desires.


Emily Hanson is a copy editor/paginator for the Peninsula Daily News. She is also a beginning baker and clumsy cook. She can be reached at 360-452-2345 ext. 560-50 or [email protected]

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