To to eat or not to eat is the question locals face after Christmas chefs put away their leftovers.
For some, leftovers are as much a part of the holiday as Christmas itself. Others organize leftovers neatly and place them in the back of the refrigerator, where they can be plucked a bit, but tossed in weeks or months. Others skip this step and throw away all the leftovers after Christmas dinner.
From turkey sandwiches to soups, area residents have clever ideas on how to make leftovers so they don’t taste like a day’s food.
Dee MacKall, OSU Extensions Administrative Support Specialist, is excited to try something new. Her family made more turkey than they could eat in one meal, so they turn it into pasta.
“I’m going to take the leftover turkey and make turkey tetrazzini out of it. It’s a pasta dish, and I’ve never done this before,” she said.
She’s happy to try something new. For those who aren’t a big fan of potatoes, pasta is a unique way to prepare holiday meat, especially turkey.
Turkey tetrazzini can be made with 8 ounces of cooked egg noodles, 2 tablespoons of butter, 6 ounces of sliced mushrooms, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, 2 cups of cooked turkey chopped, 1 can condensed cream of celery soup, 1 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.
Cook the noodles and drain. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter in a pan; sauté the mushrooms; Season with salt and pepper; and stir in the turkey, condensed soup and sour cream. Place cooked noodles in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Pour the sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes.
Another way to prepare turkey is to cook the bones in water overnight in a slow cooker on low heat. The next morning, discard the bones and use the turkey broth to make turkey ramen. Sauté 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger root and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic in 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a pot for two minutes. Add mirnin – a sweet Japanese wine found in most grocery stores, 2 quarts of turkey broth, salt to taste, soy sauce to taste, 9 ounces of ramen noodles, leftover 1 pound of turkey, three peeled and diced hard-boiled eggs, four shiitake mushrooms, and two green onions.
On Tahlequah’s Facebook page, Christine Howe recommended making a shepherd’s pie from leftover mashed potatoes and turkey.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and add 3/4 cups of chopped onions. After a few minutes, add 1/3 cup chopped celery, 1/3 cup chopped carrots and 1 clove of garlic. Cook for another minute and add 2 1/2 cups leftover turkey, 1/4 cup corn, 1/4 cup peas with 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1 / 2 teaspoon of sage and 1 cup of leftover sauce.
Heat 2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes until warm and stir.
Add 4 ounces of cheddar cheese and spread over the turkey filling in the dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes.
Sandwiches can be made from leftover turkey, ham or roast beef. To make a traditional turkey sandwich, take fresh white bread and spread mayonnaise on each end. Add the turkey; a light cheese, such as Swiss, Munster or Havarti; a sliced tomato; and lettuce. Those who prefer can do it with whole wheat bread, rye or sourdough bread.
Some people prefer to make sandwiches using ingredients other than the festive meal. Emman Drywater recommended making an open-faced turkey sandwich with green beans and stuffing.
Lynette Studie, like many, prefers not to eat leftovers. They try to minimize the amount of food cooked during the festive meal.
“There is no leftover stuffing with us. The rest, throw it out,” she said.
Those who want a turkey, ham, or beef sandwich but don’t have vacation leftovers can visit local restaurants, such as Ruby’s and Sweet Arts Bake House, which specialize in serving lunch.