After the family meal, we came home and fixed (a Texan word) another, even bigger, Thanksgiving meal. We roasted a twenty pound turkey just for the two of us. That’s right. Twenty pounds of plump poultry eatin. And just so he wouldn’t be lonely in the oven, I also made dressing, rolls, mashed potatoes from instant, a salad, and cookies. Keep in mind that the kitchen is still in renovation; that’s why I made cookies instead of a pie. Make sense?
Twenty pounds may seem a bit excessive for two people, but we love the leftovers almost more than the original meal. So here is our Leftover Diary. I can only hope that we do the bird justice.
Leftover #1: Classic Leftover Thanksgiving Sandwich – This is the day-after sandwich – there is still dressing, gravy, cranberry available. It is the sandwich, if you watched the show “Friends”, known as “The Moist Maker” because of the layer of gravy-soaked dressing in the middle; the theft of which induced Ross’s uncontrollable rage. But I digress. Here it is from the bottom on a toasted slice of whole-grain white, with a spoonful of gravy, slices of turkey, sliced cranberry jelly, a layer of dressing, a ladle of gravy, and another slice of toast on top. It is a sandwich only in the broadest interpretation of the word. It is neither portable nor handheld. Shown here on a paper plate because I was tired of washing dishes, but you will notice the fork and knife in the background.
Leftover #2: Sweet and Spicy Turkey on a Bun – This gem of a sammy was born out of pure imagination. It started with thick turkey slices over which I melted a slice of Muenster cheese. I layered that on top of the bottom bun and a generous spread of cranberry jelly. Then came some lettuce, purple cabbage, and sliced tomatoes. I topped all of that with a spicy Texas barbecue sauce. As a sandwich, it held it’s shape for about three bites, whereupon form gave way to flavor, and I resorted to eating it in pieces with my fingers.
Leftover #3: Shredded Turkey over Rice with Green Beans (Recipe Included) –
This is perhaps the simplest of all leftovers so far. Start by shredding up some of the turkey, and while you are at it, go ahead and clean the whole carcass, saving all bones for stock-to-come. Hopefully you have some leftover gravy. If you do, put a big ladle of that in a skillet with 1 cup of water and the turkey pieces. If you do not have gravy, make some. Use cream of chicken soup, a gravy mix, or make it from scratch with a good old fashioned roux. Let simmer until hot, stirring occasionally. While that is heating, make your favorite rice. We opted for white tonight. When the rice is done, spoon onto a plate and top with turkey mixture.
Easy Green Beans –
Cook fresh or frozen green beans by steaming or boiling until tender as desired. Drain off most of the water. While still in hot pan, drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice (more or less to taste). Top with a generous pinch of black pepper and Parmesan cheese. You’ll never eat green beans any other way.
(And there’s still more to come.)
I just made a discovery that could possible change the rest of my life.
That discovery is this: HEB Brand Specialty Series Barbecue Sauce, Texas Edition tastes just like Rudy’s sauce, only better because it is thicker! (Take a moment to read that again and let it sink in.)
In this photo, you can see the thickness, evident by the pooling and not running-ness of the sauce. (Can you believe I teach English? Me either.) Notice also the big, black grinds of pepper and the glossy shine that will mirror the glaze in your eyes as you savor this pungent pool of heaven.
This is how I made my discovery:
Over the course of the summer, which I define as June 1 through about September, and sometimes October, it rained a total of two times. Two times and one short, barley wet the pavement, sprinkle.
And then today the skies opened up with a gulley washer. Full-on, all day rain. Rainy days, especially chilly rainy days, make me want to bake. However, with the state of my kitchen, my baking is hindered. I was also craving chocolate, but had very little in the house. After a thorough search, all I could find was some Hershey’s chocolate syrup.
Undeterred, my mind already made up to bake, I had to find a way to satisfy my cravings. Digging through the Hershey’s website, I found a good starting place: Peanut Butter Paisley Brownies. Basically, they are marbled blondies with peanut butter and chocolate syrup. A good plan was in place, but I was still not certain; the recipe called for peanut butter chips. What to do? A quick jaunt to the convenience store depletes some of the cache of rainy day cooking, but I scored with 2 bags of regular M&Ms and 2 bags of peanut butter M&Ms, completely making up for the loss of points for venturing out.
They were easy to mix up, but I really thought the blondie/peanutty/brownie dough was far too sweet. Delaying a final decision until they had been baked, I kept going, folding in the M&Ms. I really thought I would just use one bag of each, but ended up dumping them all in.
I prepared my pan by lining it with 2 perpendicular sheets of parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. This way, I would be able to pull out the whole pan of brownies in one graceful lift. The brownies cut easily and evenly with a pizza cutter, once out of the pan.
The sweetness was mediated by the chocolate syrup, and they turned out almost perfect. I might use just a tad less sugar next time. The ratio of granulated to brown sugar also made the brownies seem to dry out quickly, so next time I would probably reduce the amount of granulated sugar and use the recommended amount of brown sugar.
Recipe: adapted from Hersheys.com
Double Peanut Butter Paisley Brownies
½ c butter, softened
¼ c creamy peanut butter
1 c granulated sugar
1 c packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 snack size bags of peanut butter M&Ms
2 snack size bags of regular M&Ms
½ c Hershey’s Syrup
Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9 inch pan with two criss-crossed sheets of parchment paper, then spray those with cooking spray.
Beat butter and peanut butter in a large bowl. Add sugar and brown sugar; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla.
Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; mix into peanut butter mixture, blending well. Stir in all the M&Ms. Spread half of batter into pan; spoon syrup over top. Top with remaining batter, and swirl with a knife for a marbled effect.
Bake 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack; then remove from the pan whole using the paper edges to hold onto. Cut into squares.