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Christmas Leftovers

Posted by samatwitch on December 25, 2014

It’s Christmas Eve – well, technically Christmas Day but excluding my nap in the chair, I haven’t been to bed yet, so … 🙂  Christmas is a favourite time for leftover food – turkey, vegetables, cookies, tarts, etc.  I also like to think of Christmas as a time to reflect on the past year, enjoy the company of family and friends, and clear up all your leftover emotions, decisions and thoughts so that you can start the New Year feeling fresh, creative and fully charged.  My wish for everyone this season is to have a joyous, loving time – time to relax and enjoy your favourite past-time, the company of loved ones and peace within yourself.  For some, I know, this is a difficult time of the year, especially for those who have lost loved ones this year and are facing Christmas without them for the first time – or the 27th time, in the case of me and my sister. It gets easier but the hole never goes away.

A couple of my friends asked for a recipe I mentioned on Facebook and so I thought I would put my three favourite leftover recipes here.  I love leftovers after a turkey dinner.  When I’m cooking, I always buy a larger turkey, if I can, and make several vegetable side dishes, lots of stuffing, gravy, etc., so I can heat up a plate of leftovers for several meals.  Then if there is a lot of turkey left, I make Turkey Enchilada Casserole, Tex-Mex Turkey Soup and of course, turkey broth for the freezer.  I don’t really have a recipe for the latter – I just boil the turkey bones with diced onions and some mild seasonings, just in case I need the broth if I have a cold or flu.  The other food that sometimes has leftovers is eggnog and I have several recipes for that, but my favourite is Holiday Puffed Eggnog Pancake.

The turkey recipes can be made at any time, of course – Thanksgiving, Easter, whenever you have cooked a turkey – and can be made with chicken as well.  The eggnog recipe is pretty much seasonal but is a great Christmas morning or Boxing Day morning recipe.  You could even use it as a dessert.


Preheat oven to 375F / 190C

6 – 10 inch tortillas or wraps                                     3 – 4 cups cooked chicken or turkey, cubed

1 large onion, chopped                                            1 red or green pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, diced                                          3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp cumin                                                           1/4 tsp chili powder

dash Tabasco or other hot sauce                            2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

1 pkg Old El Paso Hot’n’Spicy Taco Seasoning      2 – 3 cups Tex-Mex blend shredded cheese

1 jar enchilada sauce                                              1 cup Nalley Roasted Garlic or Ranch dip

1 cup salsa

Saute onion, peppers and garlic over medium heat until tender.  Add cumin, chili powder, Tabasco, taco seasoning and cilantro. Stir for 1 minute, remove from heat.  Mix in medium bowl with cubed chicken and salsa.

Spread half of the jar of enchilada sauce in bottom of a 13″ x 9″ pan.  Place two tortillas on top, overlapping.  Spread half the chicken & vegetable mixture, then all the garlic dip and 1 cup of cheese.  Spoon remainder of enchilada sauce over, layer two more tortillas, the rest of the chicken mixture and another cup of cheese. Finish with the last two tortillas.

Cover with foil.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.  Remove foil  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake 5 – 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

NOTES:  My favourite seasoning is Derlea’s Ginger, Garlic and Chili which is a puree of the three and gives a kick to any dish with just a little bit – eg I would probably use about 1/2 teaspoon for this recipe, replacing the chili powder and cumin and part of the garlic.  You can adjust the seasonings: use hot, medium or mild salsa, regular taco seasoning, etc.  You could probably even make this with leftover roast beef.  I have also added grated carrots to the sauted mixture.

TEX-MEX TURKEY SOUP   Makes 6 – 8 servings

1 Tbsp olive or cooking oil                                         1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced                                               2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin  (can substitue 1-2 tsp Derlea’s Ginger, Garlic & Chili for seasonings – see note above)

4 cups low-salt chicken broth                                     1 can condensed tomato soup

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes                                     2 cups salsa

4 cups shredded or cubed cooked turkey                  1 (19 oz)  can black beans, rinsed & drained

2 cans niblet corn                                                       1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until they begin to soften, about four minutes.  Add seasonings and cook, stirring, for about one minute.

Stir in chicken broth, tomato soup, diced tomatoes, salsa, turkey, black beans, corn and cilantro.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve with crushed tortilla chips, chopped green onion, shredded cheese, cilantro or any other toppings you wish.

Excellent soup to freeze, thaw and reheat.  This soup is good even without the turkey or chicken added.

HOLIDAY PUFFED EGGNOG PANCAKE   Makes 6 servings.  Recipe from Safeway Select eggnog

6 eggs                                                                         1 1/3 cups commercial eggnog

1 cup flour                                                                   3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup butter or margarine                                        1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F / 220C.

Mix eggs in large bowl with electric beaters until frothy.  Add eggnog, flour and nutmeg. Mix until well-blended but still slightly lumpy.

Place butter in 13″ x 9″ baking dish.  Place in oven until melted (sizzling but not brown, so watch closely).

Remove from oven and immediately pour batter into pan.  Sprinkle top with almonds, if using.

Bake in middle or lower part of oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Serve immediately with syrup, jam, icing sugar or cinnamon sugar.

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Posted by samatwitch on November 28, 2011

Since I’ve had two requests (well, one request and one demand!) for this recipe, I will hereby share it with you.  Those of you who have my recipe book, it’s on page 38. 


My neighbours fed me this soup a couple of times for supper and I found it so delicious I asked for the recipe and gave copies to several people who had heard me rave about it.  I’ve made it myself, although being the carnivore that I am, I added leftover frozen turkey to what was originally a vegan recipe.  On the other hand, I also added grated tofu, so that should count for something.  The soup takes a bit of time and effort to make, but it’s worth it – it’s a great tasting hearty soup and it freezes well.

4 large potatoes
1 large can black beans
¼ cup olive oil
2 heaping tsp minced garlic
2 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup white vinegar
1 tsp curry
1 can white kernel corn
1 can chopped tomatoes (or equivalent fresh)
2 Tbsp hot sauce

Cook potatoes in several cups of water until done.  Drain, reserving 2 cups of the liquid.  Drain black beans, reserving liquid.  Place black beans and potatoes in a blender with a small amount of water and puree.  Mix puree and reserved liquid in large Dutch oven and simmer over low heat.  While this is simmering, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in large frying pan, until lightly brown.  Slowly add vinegar and curry and continue cooking for 15 minutes.  Add onion/vinegar mixture to puree and continue simmering.  Add carrots, corn, tomatoes and hot sauce and cook over low heat for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Makes about 12 bowls.  Extra soup can be frozen for several months.

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Posted by samatwitch on November 25, 2011

Growing up I was not fond of soup.  We had Campbell’s Cream soups on occasion – or tomato, which always seemed to burn my throat – and my mother would make turkey soup after Easter, Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  (We went to friends for Christmas dinner and then their whole family came to our home for New Year’s dinner.)  She also would make vegetable beef soup on occasion.  The latter two were okay, but soup for soup’s sake was not for me.

After my parents retired in the southern part of the province, their garden was able to grow vegetables that were not so successful where I grew up and Mum started making all kinds of soups from scratch.  She finally learned not to serve them when I was visiting because I still didn’t like them.

Some years later, after my mother died and my Dad came to live in a care home in my city, I had lunch with him at least once a week, for thirteen years, and every day the care home served soup at lunch.  Occasionally I would have a bowl – if it wasn’t a cream soup or related to clams or mushrooms – but I finally just politely declined.

Oh, I made turkey broth to freeze after holiday dinners and a couple of times when I had dental work I used Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup as a base, adding steamed broccoli or cauliflower, dry mustard, milk and more cheese and then pureeing so I could get protein and vegetables when I couldn’t chew, but I still didn’t like soup as a dish, unless it was a really good wonton soup.

My neighbours across the street once made me an Absolutely Incredible Spicy Sour Soup with Garlic – originally vegan but I always add chicken or turkey – which I did make once or twice.  Thick and delicious, it also freezes well.

Then, a few years ago I had a garden by my apartment and had an over abundance of zucchini and many tomatoes. We also grew onions, garlic and basil, among other things (such as turnips, peas, snow peas, carrots and beets).  Trying to find a recipe where I could use the zucchini and tomatoes together, I came across one for a soup.  It sounded good.  (I don’t know why since I’m not fond of zucchini on its own and as I mentioned, tomato soup always stung my throat.)  I decided to try it.

It was delicious! I gave some to my neighbour who shared the garden and who is involved in writing for restaurant magazines and he loved it.  I’ve shared the recipe with others and everyone seems to enjoy it.  Of course, even with all the changes I’ve made to the original recipe over the years, it probably has never tasted as good as the first time when all the ingredients came out of my own garden, but it is still my favourite soup and I usually make it several times a year.

Suddenly I was looking for soup recipes everywhere: online, in my many cookbooks, in magazines, from friends.  I make curried carrot soup, roasted curried butternut squash soup, black bean soup, Tex-Mex soup – I’ve even made gazpacho a couple of times.  I still don’t like mushrooms (my friends call me anti-fungi!) or seafood in my soup unless it is Chinese hot and sour, but I have soup recipes bursting out of my recipe box, crying out to be the next one to be made.   What has happened to me and where will it all end??



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