Another Thanksgiving over, another refrigerator full of leftovers. In years past I’ve spent hours thinking about how to creatively turn an overabundance of turkey and trimmings into new meals for the week ahead. Recently, however, I’ve changed my thinking altogether and now focus on transforming the Thanksgiving meal itself into a dinner that is easy to prepare and limits the amount of leftovers.
Let’s face it, when cooking for two – even four people – few of us want to spend a day or more in the kitchen. While one solution is eating out, many people miss the smells and sounds of a bustling kitchen on Thanksgiving morning. To help appease the traditionalists as well as those looking to mingle with guests without spending hours at the stovetop, try some of this chef’s favorite shortcuts.
To save time on the turkey preparation, look for roasted turkey breast, available at most supermarket delis. A pound of it, sliced, goes a long way if accompanied by other dishes. Serve it with cranberry-orange relish, now sold in jars. For easy vegetables, use frozen green beans but prepare with a touch of olive oil and sliced almonds for the special occasion. To hasten stuffing preparation, I (reluctantly) recommend a modest serving of prepared mix, combined with lots of sautéed onions and celery. Add cooked chestnuts (they’re also available jarred) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the depth of flavor.
For those unwilling to sacrifice a more traditional feast or those who relish utilizing leftovers, enjoy one of my favorite day-after dishes. This two-potato, apple and cranberry hash is flavored with stuffing seasoning and highlights the best of Thanksgiving’s flavors. Although this recipe calls for mashing fresh potatoes, leftover mashed potatoes can be substituted. Enjoy it with turkey on Friday, then accompanied by a poached egg over the weekend.
Sweet Potato, Apple and Cranberry Hashbrowns
– Makes 4 servings
- 1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Bell’s stuffing seasoning (or 1/8 tsp. each of ground thyme, sage and ginger)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- Low-fat sour cream (optional)
- 1 large (3/4 lb.) orange-flesh sweet potato, peeled and cut into1/2-inch pieces
- 2 medium yellow-flesh potatoes (1/2 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/4 Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
Boil the peeled potato pieces in large pot of water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, place in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, green onions and apple until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add them to the potatoes. Add the cranberries, stuffing seasoning, salt and pepper. Using a fork, gently mix, slightly mashing the potatoes to help the mixture hold together a bit. Carefully wipe out the hot pan with a paper towel.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the hashbrown mixture to the pan, forming eight mounds. Press lightly with the back of a fork.
Cook until the hash is dark brown on the bottom, 6-8 minutes. Using a wide spatula, turn the patties over, pressing them back together if they crumble. Continue cooking for an additional 6-8 minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish with low-fat sour cream, if desired.
Per serving: 181 calories, 7 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 27 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 169 mg sodium.
“Something Different” is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.