Once the flurry of Thanksgiving activity is over, your family members have all gone home, and your kitchen is somewhat put back in order after the havoc caused by holiday cooking (no one will ever truly understand what I’m talking about unless he/she has actually hosted the holiday themselves!), you are now faced with a sore back and a fridge full of leftovers. Since turkey is easily the most versatile and widely used of the Thanksgiving leftovers, I decided to move past this holiday staple and set myself the task of re-purposing some of the more overlooked, and often more abundant, dishes in the fridge post-holiday. In my household, those items tend to be cranberry sauce and stuffing. Having inundated you with cocktail recipes already, I want to share with you the three food recipes I am very, very, very excited about! I am so excited about these recipes, in fact, that I realized these are no longer solely Thanksgiving staples, but that I will absolutely be making cranberry sauce and savory bread pudding with corn year-round just so I can have them before next Turkey Day!
Day-After Thanksgiving Stuffing Waffles
OK – this is probably one of the most life changing recipes for leftovers that I have come across – ever! I must thank my friend Cassie who told me that she waffled her stuffing after the holiday last year because this has become one of my all-time favorite things to eat. I used the savory bread pudding with corn recipe posted previously, but I assume any stuffing recipe would work. The waffle iron gives this breakfast/brunch delight these beautiful, crispy edges and topped with gravy and a runny egg, you will never want to use your leftover stuffing for anything else again.
Ingredients: (Makes one waffle. It’s best to do this one at a time.)
- 1 cup cold leftover stuffing
- 1 tablespoon chicken stock/broth
- 1 teaspoon gravy
- 1 teaspoon cream
- 1 egg (poached, fried, or sunny-side up – just make sure it has a runny yolk)
- Additional gravy for drizzling on top
- Special equipment: waffle iron
- Preheat your waffle iron. In a medium mixing bowl, add the stuffing, the chicken stock, 1 teaspoon of gravy, and the cream. Mix well with a spoon, making sure to blend up any large pieces of bread. You want the consistency to be like a thick dough. Add additional chicken stock if your batter is too thick and additional stuffing if the mixture is too thin (it all depends on what stuffing recipe you originally used). Note: You don’t want it too thin because you may have a hard time removing the waffle from the iron in one piece at the end. Place the waffle in your hot waffle iron and close the lid tightly.
- As your waffle is cooking, heat a nonstick skillet on your range and fry an egg. You can also poach an egg if you prefer not to fry. Also reheat your gravy for drizzling on top later (I did mine in the microwave).
- When your waffle iron indicates that it is finished cooking, lift the lid and carefully remove the waffle using a fork and spatula. (I used the fork to lift the corner edge and the spatula to remove from the waffle iron completely.) If the waffle doesn’t want to come out, let it cook about 1 minute more. Place on a plate, top with the cooked egg, and drizzle some hot gravy all over the waffle and egg. Now savor how AMAZING this leftover breakfast is and thank my friend Cassie for the inspiration!!
Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Sauce Topping
Ingredients for the Pork:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pork tenderloin, between 1 and 1 ½ pounds
- Salt and pepper
Ingredients for the Cranberry Sauce Topping
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1 large clove garlic (or 2 small)
- 1 teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary
- 2 sage leaves, minced
- 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and minced, stem discarded
- ½ cup red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
- 1 cup leftover cranberry sauce (I used the recipe posted earlier on the site.)
- ½ cup chicken stock/broth, plus more for thinning the sauce as needed
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Garnish: Additional minced rosemary and thyme
- Cook your Tenderloin:
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Dry your tenderloin with paper towels and season generously all over with salt and pepper.
- In a large, oven proof skillet (I used cast iron), heat the butter and oil on high until the butter melts. Stir with a spatula so they are evenly mixed in the pan. Once your skillet is very hot, add the tenderloin and sear on all sides. Place in your preheated oven to cook your tenderloin until an instant read thermometer says the center of the fattest part reaches 145 degrees. Remove from the oven and place the tenderloin on a carving board. Allow to rest at least 10 minutes prior to carving to allow the juices to redistribute. Carve into ¾ inch slices.
- Make your Cranberry Sauce:
- As your tenderloin is cooking in the oven, heat a medium size skillet on the range over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil and heat until the butter is melted. Using a wooden spoon, stir to mix the butter and oil together. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary, sage and thyme and cook until evenly browned, stirring regularly (about 5 minutes).
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine, stirring well. Allow the wine to cook off for a minute or two and then add the cranberry sauce, mashing it around the pan to so that you don’t have any large chunks. Pour in the chicken stock and balsamic vinegar and stir well. Bring to a light simmer. Add additional chicken stock if the sauce is too thick.
- Once your tenderloin has been removed from the oven, scrape up all the cooked-on bits in the skillet you used to cook the pork. Measure 1 tablespoon of the cooking juices in the pork skillet and add to the cranberry sauce. Stir well to incorporate. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. After you have carved the tenderloin, pour any accumulated juices on your carving board into the cranberry sauce and mix well.
- Assemble the meal by placing the tenderloin on a plate and spoon lots of the sauce over the top of the meat. Garnish with a sprinkle of minced rosemary and thyme. Serve with additional cranberry sauce on the side.
Smitten Kitchen’s New York Style Cheesecake with Sweet Cranberry Topping
OK – this is seriously the ABSOLUTE BEST CHEESECKAKE RECIPE EVER!!! I take zero credit for the cheesecake (it is seriously perfect as written by the lovely Deb Perelman). Please visit her site Smitten Kitchen for the recipe – you will be ruined for all other cheesecakes for the rest of your life. I kid you not.
The topping is my own recipe though and I highly recommend it poured on top of Smitten Kitchen’s New York Style Cheesecake. The cranberry gives just the right amount tart to balance out the creamy perfection of the dessert. Please wait to make the sauce until after you have cooked and completely chilled the cheesecake, but before you have removed it from the from the pan.
Ingredients for the Sweet Cranberry Topping:
- One cup of leftover cranberry sauce
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ cup cranberry juice cocktail
Directions for the Sweet Cranberry Topping:
- Place all ingredients in a medium sized saucepan and heat on your range over medium, stirring well. Bring to a light simmer, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes. The sauce will be a little thin, but will cook down as it simmers and become more gel-like. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- Pour over the top of your completely cooled cheesecake before you remove it from the spring-form pan. Chill the entire dessert in the pan for at least another hour. Remove from the pan and allow to come to room temperature before serving. (Or you can eat it cold – it is equally delicious either way!)