Leftovers can be winners, too
Okay, we didn't give you much warning. Maybe the lure of Black Friday was inescapable or you ate everything on your plates this year.
Luckily, the few recipe ideas we received for our first callout for repurposing Thanksgiving leftovers were worthy contenders.
The choice came down to three:
Katherine Friedrich mixes stuffing, carrots, cranberries, dried fruit and pumpkin butter to form a carrot and cranberry casserole.
Jon Hall combines cranberries or reduced cranberry sauce, cold turkey and stuffing to form cranberry turkey sausages or patties.
Jennifer Patton uses leftover gravy and white-meat turkey to make Southern-style grits and gravy.
The winner is . . . .
Katherine Friedrich's easy casserole.
Friedrich, 33, lives in Boston and saw our tweet last week calling for reader recipes. She returned home from spending Thanksgiving with her relatives in Wellesley, Mass., who gave her generous helping of leftover vegetarian stuffing.
Friday was the first time she'd thought to create the dish. She added dried fruit, pumpkin butter, honey, fresh cranberries and carrots that she had on hand and mixed them in a small covered casserole with enough water to create a kind of steamed-pudding effect.
"The first day we had it on its own, because it's good enough for a full meal," she says. "It tastes like a healthier version of carrot cake." The second day she had it with a green bean salad.
For her first-time effort, Friedrich will win three cookbooks she has chosen from our list of top 2010 titles, in Wednesday's Food section.
Let's do this again next year, shall we, everyone?
As soon as we test this, we'll add it to our Recipe Finder database.
Carrot and Cranberry Casserole
2 to 3 servings
Enough leftover stuffing to create a 1-inch layer in the bottom of a 7-by-7-inch casserole dish
2 large carrots, cut on the diagonal into very thin slices
20 raisins (may substitute chopped dried apricots or pears)
4 pitted dates, finely chopped
About 20 fresh cranberries
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons pumpkin butter, such as Trader Joe's brand (may substitute applesauce and/or apple butter)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a 7-by-7-inch casserole with a lid at hand.
Place enough of the leftover stuffing in the casserole to create a layer 1 inch deep. Add the carrot slices, raisins, dates, cranberries, honey and pumpkin butter. Mix thoroughly so the ingredients are well incorporated into the stuffing; pat down slightly to create an even surface.
Pour in enough water (about 1/2 inch when you displace enough of the stuffing mixture to see the water underneath) to steam the mixture. Cover and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the cranberries have burst.