Metro-East Living

Use these two recipes to turn Thanksgiving leftovers into something special

Cranberry Pastries
Cranberry Pastries

It shouldn’t take much to throw together a casual meal the day after Thanksgiving. Of course, that depends on how much and what kind of leftovers you’ve got on hand.

If you were the meal’s host, well, I think you have the advantage: It’s a lot easier for leftovers to accumulate at home than to be doled out in plasticware and carried out the door.

Our family always made way too much food for Thanksgiving. It was a strategic move I’m sure others have done as well: It meant that no matter how much food my mother and grandmother wrapped up and sent away with guests, there would be plenty for us to pick over for the next couple days. And that’s what we did. Everybody raided the refrigerator on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It didn’t matter what time of day it was because when anybody wanted a sandwich or a bowl of stuffing, they went and got it.

I can still see my brother Steve standing over the sink in my mom’s kitchen eating one tiny sandwich after another that he slapped together with dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, mayo, turkey and cold stuffing. My grandpa and I preferred to heat up gravy and turkey and make open-face sandwiches.

By Saturday, we were down a good bit of food, but there was still enough to warm up a plate and eat on the TV tray in the living room. When Sunday came around, my grandmother would often take charge, fend off the pickers, and pull together a casserole or a hash of some kind. The hash recipe here is very much like the one she used to make.

I added the cranberry pastries because they’re so easy to make with leftover sauce. And, after all, there’s only so much you can do with cranberries.

Contact me at, 618-239-2664 and follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

The After Hash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small red onion, chopped

1/2 cup each diced carrot and celery

2 cups cubed leftover turkey

2 cups cubed leftover sweet potatoes

1 cup cut-up green vegetables

Turkey broth

3-4 eggs

1. Heat oil in a skillet.

2. Add onions, carrots and celery. Season with salt. Cook until vegetables soften, 5 minutes.

3. Stir in turkey, sweet potatoes and green vegetables; cook until warmed through.

4. Add a little turkey broth to moisten the hash, if needed. Taste for seasonings.

5. Meanwhile, fry 3-4 eggs with 1 tablespoon butter in another skillet as you like. Serve the hash with a fried egg atop each serving and sprinkled with chopped parsley and olives. Makes 3-4 servings.

Joe Gray, Chicago Tribune

Cranberry Pastries

1 sheet puff pastry

1 1/2 cups leftover cranberry sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 lemon

1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out puff pastry sheet into a 10-by-10-inch square. Cut it into 6 even squares.

Spoon 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce into the middle of each square,

Fold corners of the pastry over the cranberry sauce. (Like an envelope.)

Place on a baking sheet. (Put down a piece of parchment paper for faster clean-up.)

Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 15-20 minutes, just until the pastry has puffed up and is lightly browned. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

While the pastry is cooling, Mix the powdered sugar and enough lemon juice to form a pourable icing. Keep adding sugar to the lemon juice until you get the consistency you want.

Drizzle the icing over the pastries. Makes 6.