28 Delicious Thanksgiving (and Thanksgiving Leftovers) Recipes for 2016

Thanksgiving 2016 2

It’s that time again; time for the annual Thanksgiving post. After almost 6 years of blogging, I have accumulated quite a few recipes that work in this category, so I have to cull some out so as to not end up with a post with 50 different additions. 😛

Let’s start with entrees. Because…turkey…ham. Yummy. 😀

This Orange Marmalade Brown Sugar Glazed Ham is my absolute favorite way to make a ham. The ham turns out so moist and tender with such a delicious sweet/salty flavor you’ll keep coming back for.Orange Marmalade Brown Sugar Ham-001This Sesame Soy Turkey Breast is fantastic if you’re a cook who’s willing to leave the traditional box a bit on Thanksgiving. This glaze can also be used on a whole turkey, a chicken, game hen, you name it.

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

I know that a lot of families like to serve a pasta dish as one of the main dishes so I’m including our favorite, this Cheesy Sausage And Meatball Pasta Bake. This makes a LOT, so it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, when a lot of people are there, with everyone getting as little bit of each dish.Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta BakeLet’s move on to appetizers; those little bits you put out to keep everyone from storming the kitchen begging for food. 😛  One of my favorite easy dips (and when I say easy, I mean it) is my White Trash Dip. I know; such a classy name, lol. But it is great for appeasing the hungry mongrel hordes and quick to throw together, which is always a plus on Thanksgiving.
White Trash Dip
I have adored Boursin Cheese for years, but man, that stuff is expensive for the small amount you get. So I started making my own years ago. This is soooo good and always a hit. It’s creamy, great with veggies like celery sticks as well as crackers. If you have any left over, it also makes a great stuffing for chicken breasts.

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Ahhhh, side dishes. What would Thanksgiving be without 50 side dishes to serve with the turkey and ham? One of my all time most popular posts here at From Cupcakes To Caviar is my Insanely Cheesy And Creamy Mac And Cheese. This makes a HUGE pan of mac and cheese, so it’s perfect for the holidays.Insanely Cheesy And Creamy Mac & CheeseYou can’t have turkey without mashed potatoes, right?
I was never a mashed potato fan until I made up these Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes. I totally love these. They are creamy, buttery (boy, are they buttery) and with a subtle tang from the cream cheese.

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

If you want to go a little different, you can’t beat these Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables. The potatoes and veggies get all crispy on the outside and all soft and tender inside. So, so good.

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

I was never a cold pasta salad sort of a person until I made up this Chilled Caprese Tortellini Salad a few years ago. It’s great during the holidays for people who may want something a little lighter (and with no meat in it, lol) but still full of flavor.Chilled Caprese Tortellini Salad
I have a major thing for Winter squashes. To me, they stand so far above the ubiquitous Summer squashes. I took one of my favorites here and stuffed it to come up with Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries. This is a fantastic addition to the holiday meal or a great light entree on it’s own.

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

You can’t have Thanksgiving dinner without cranberry sauce, right? While I admit to a secret love for the kind that slithers out of the can with a loud plop, I also love homemade cranberry sauce and make a large batch every year. My Spiced Spiked Cranberry Sauce is a perfect foil for all the rich dishes you’ll be serving. The brandy is completely optional so don’t let that turn you away from it. Spiced Spiked Cranberry Sauce

Now we come to the breads. I’m not normally a big one for breads, but hot and fresh on the holidays? I tend to go for them more at that time. And these Angel Biscuits have become a family favorite. Since they have baking powder in them as well as yeast, they are fairly foolproof, which is great for the less experienced cooks out there.

Angel Biscuits

Angel Biscuits

The rolls I have been making for years are these Oatmeal Yeast Rolls. They are so fluffy and soft; perfect hot spread with butter or later as a mini turkey sandwich (Yes, I know this is a bad photo. The post is an old one, when my photography skills were sub-par, to say the least. The rolls however, are amazingly good)

Oatmeal Rolls

Oatmeal Rolls

I love to make a few loaves of bread for Thanksgiving as well as rolls. They are so good with dinner and make fantastic sandwiches the next day. I particularly love to make my Loaded Baked Potato Bread, The flavors in it go wonderfully with a turkey sandwich!

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

Here in the south, a lot of people like to make cornbread to go with dinner, even on the holidays. My Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread is a favorite. It’s fluffy, not at all dry like so many cornbreads can be, with just a touch of sweetness.

Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread

Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread

Then, of course, we have the part of dinner that everyone looks forward to; dessert! And man, you know I have some desserts to share with you! I have to start with the classics, of course, so here is my favorite- my Decadent Extra Creamy Pumpkin Pie. This one is posted with a really good cornmeal crust, but you can use your favorite crust. Just make sure it’s a deep dish one. Decadent Extra Creamy Pumpkin Pie In A Cornmeal Crust
That pumpkin pie tends to be my husbands favorite. Mine however will always be Pecan Pie. I love it slightly warmed with heavy cream poured over it. So bad for me, but so delicious!Deep Dish Pecan Pie

The last few years, my favorite pecan pie has had to vie with this Cranberry Apple Cake. I can’t say enough good things about this cake. It’s absolutely delicious and I can’t imagine the Thanksgiving meal without it now. It’s sweet, tangy, crispy, just a wonderful dessert that I look forward to all year.

Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake

If you want a classic (not to mention, heavenly chocolate goodness 😀 ) you’ll want to make this wonderful Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing This is a favorite with pretty much all age groups, and even those people who say Thanksgiving should be all about the pies. I’m not even normally a cake person and I love it!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

If you want to do a different apple dessert, my Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce would be a great choice. It’s easy to throw together the day before you need it and then just warm up the sauce when ready to cut and serve. Again, I’m not huge on cakes, which is why if you see me posting one, you know it MUST be good.

Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce

Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce

Or maybe you prefer a classic apple dessert? I find myself going for this Old Fashioned Apple Crisp all year round, but it’s a delicious choice on Thanksgiving!Old Fashioned Apple Crisp 2

I have a couple of desserts for you that are a bit more elegant, plus not as heavy. The first is one I love; my Elegant And Easy Lemon Almond Cake. This cake is light and filled with the flavor of almond and lemon; perfect for the family members who want a little something for dessert, but don’t want the heavier sweets.

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

The other one is one of my more recent creations- these Skillet Pears With Autumn Spiced Caramel Sauce. These are wonderful if you have a smaller gathering. The pears end up tender and juicy and the caramel sauce is fantastic.Skillet Pears With An Autumn Spiced Caramel Sauce 9

So, what to do with leftovers once Thanksgiving is over? When you tire of just making a plate of leftovers, I have some things you can do with some of them. If the title says chicken, obviously you can sub in that leftover turkey staring you in the face.

We love Mexican food in my house. Yes, I know that much of what we all call Mexican food has been totally Americanized, but it’s still delicious, so who cares? One of my family’s favorites are these Cheesy Chicken (Turkey) And Chorizo Enchiladas. They have the perfect mix of creamy, spicy and cheesy. I make them all year round, but they are a perfect way to use up leftovers.Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas 2

Everyone makes soup after Thanksgiving. But I have one here that doesn’t need to have you simmering stock for hours on end. I can eat a boatload of my Quick And Easy Turkey, Bacon And Cheese Chowder. This is comfort food at its best and it doesn’t have to cook for hours.Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder

Along the Mexican lines again, I almost always make a pan of White Chicken (Turkey) Enchiladas in the week after Thanksgiving. These are soooo darn good and everyone scarfs them down.

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

You may still have some turkey left even after those (I know I will; I always buy too much!) so my Cheaters Easy Chicken (Turkey) And Dumplings never fails me. It’s warming, comforting and filling and tastes great!

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

If you have leftover cranberry sauce (and you know you will), make a loaf of my Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. It’s an easy way to use up some of those leftovers and it makes a yummy breakfast or light snack.Easy Pumpkin Cranberry Breadthanksgiving

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Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Ok, who stole 2016? Yes, yes, I know, I’ve done a lot of whining lately about being glad the hot Summer is past and that the cooler weather and my favorite season, Fall, is here. And I stand by those whiny moments.  It’s just that today, I was suddenly cognizant of the fact that it’s almost November. Freaking NOVEMBER! Wth? I mean, I knew it was this late in the year, logically. I’m that person who starts looking at Thanksgiving and Christmas pins on Pinterest in August, because it’s fun to mentally prepare my menu. it just didn’t really hit me until it occurred to me that I could probably go ahead and post this so that it was up in time for people to use on Thanksgiving. This year has gone abnormally quickly.

I made this turkey breast a couple of weeks ago and we absolutely loved it. The recipe is lightly adapted from one I found in Food & Wine magazine last year.  I’m similar to what I guess most of you are and make my turkey the same way every time because, tradition. But this was a nice twist that I may even be willing to make on Thanksgiving and definitely will use other times of the year because we eat turkey more than just one day a year here, since we love it. My differences from the original are that they used a whole turkey, I used the breast, they melted and then re-chilled the butter mix and spread it under the skin and I left it melted and used it as a baste to make it easier, plus different cooking temps and minor diffs in seasoning.

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast 2

The skin on this gets nice and crispy and if you’re feeling ambitious, you could butterfly the breast and have it 1) cook even faster and 2) have all the skin get crispy rather than have the inevitable bottom skin staying kind of soggy. The flavor here is fantastic; a perfect mix of salty, a subtle sweetness, the richness of sesame oil and butter and a bit of bite from the seasonings. I served this with brown rice, but this would go just as well with noodles or Thanksgiving potatoes.

You know the drill…  🙂

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

  • 5 to 7 lb turkey breast, rinsed, innards removed, and turkey patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger (please make sure it’s fresh. It loses quality if it has been stored in the cabinet for too long)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use more or less of this according to your heat tolerance)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) good quality chicken broth
  • Sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil. If you butterfly the breast, you’ll need to use a larger pan plus adjust cooking time.
  2. Make sure your turkey is dry, add to pan and sprinkle it with the salt and pepper.
  3. Melt the butter, then add in the next 7 ingredients (everything but the broth). Stir well to combine and dissolve the sugar and spices.
  4. Using a pastry brush, baste the whole breast with the butter mixture.
  5. Roast at 400 for fifteen minutes, then turn heat down to 375 and add the chicken broth to the bottom of the pan. Baste with more of the butter mixture and continue doing that every fifteen minutes.
  6. Roast turkey until it is golden brown and crispy and has an internal temperature of 165f, about one and a half to two hours, depending on size and whether or not you butterflied it. Be sure you’re not touching the bone when testing. Leave in the pan, very lightly covered with foil, for at least fifteen minutes to allow the turkey to continue to rise in temp and to prevent losing all the juiciness by cutting into it too soon.
  7. You can either serve the breast with the drippings, as we did, or use them to make a gravy. If you have leftover basting sauce, you can use it as a delicious dipping sauce for the turkey. Just make sure to bring it to a boil and let boil for one minute to prevent any cross contamination.
  8. Slice thin and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

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Sesame Soy Turkey Breast 3

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Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs

 

Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs

Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs

I like meatballs. My family likes meatballs. I don’t however, make meatballs very often because it’s one of those foods I have a weird mental block with, thinking they are far harder than they really are. When I DO make them, I realize that I was wrong, but in between times, it’s like, “Ooo, I want meatballs. Wait… no, I don’t. They’re a pain in the tushie.”

But I was in the grocery store the other day and they yet again had ground turkey in the reduced section. They ALWAYS have ground turkey there. Someone in the ordering department needs to get with the program and stop buying so much ground turkey, then they could possibly sell it at normal price. But I digress. They had some, so I bought some on a whim. I do many things on whims. I like to think it makes me interesting. It probably really just makes me extremely confusing and annoying, but humor me. I normally don’t even use ground turkey, finding it too dry and flavorless, but man, did I manage to shake that stereotype with these meatballs!

These turned out really, really good. Like worlds best meatball type of good. You of course, after trying them, might not agree, but hey, I’m the one naming them, so worlds best it is. 😀 These are tender and moist with a LOT of flavor and a mild bite of spicy red pepper to them. They aren’t difficult at all. These delicious bites are perfect with pasta, which is what I used them for this time, but I can easily imagine them in a small loaf of crusty bread, covered in red sauce and a ton of melted cheese.

You know the drill… 🙂

Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs

Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (this is one of those times it’s fine to use the inexpensive powdery stuff. It helps bind the meatballs)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons minced garlic, depending on your love for garlic. I used a lot.
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil for the pan (more for each batch)
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients up through the salt.
  2. Use your hands to mix well.
  3. Shape the meat mixture into 30 meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Obviously, if you want smaller, go smaller, or bigger, same thing.
  4. Pour the olive oil into a large deep pan. Heat for about a minute, until the oil is getting shimmery, then places meatballs in a single layer. Cook over medium heat until nicely browned, about 3 minutes, then flip them and brown the other side. If you’re planning to add them to pasta sauce and cook further, stop there so as to not end up with overcooked, tough meatballs. Otherwise, cook until no longer pink inside (an internal temp of 165)
  5. Clean the pan out between batches and use a bit more oil each time or you end up with burned bits on the bottom that cling to the meatballs.
  6. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon, letting the excess grease drain and serve with pasta, on sandwiches, as an appetizer, plain… whatever trips your trigger.
Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs 2

Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs 2

Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder

Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder 2


I have never been a big soup person.  I like it and even keep a stockpile of chunky soups in case the zombie apocalypse occurs, but it’s not generally something I crave. So when a recipe title (with no ideas attached btw,…just a title, because this is how my brain works.) popped into my head last night while I was trying to sleep, I knew I had to run with it.

Why does that happen, anyway!? Lalalalaa, I’m laying here all drowsy…ahhh, beautiful sleep is upon me…wait for it… CRAP… I forgot to check the kids…I need to sew that button on…I forgot to buy eggs…the cat is impeding my breathing by laying on my neck…I need to pee…and oh yeah, here’s a recipe title with no further info. You have fun trying to sleep now!  Signed- your brain.

Sorry. I’m done now. Where was I? Soup…

I, like 4,356,982 other Americans, had a bunch of turkey left over from Thanksgiving. When one buys a 20 pound turkey for 5 people, this is bound to happen. But do I ever learn? Nooooooo… not me. I continue to cook as if I have five children living with us, or like when my daughter, son in law and three kids lived with us. Mind you, two teens, a 51 year old man, myself and a six year old can eat a fair amount, but still. A 20 pound turkey?! Am I insane?!! Forget I asked that.

I’m going to move past all the tangents. I am obviously not capable of writing a coherent post today. Call it turkey tuckered…cranberry coma, potato pooped, stuffing somnolence, pecan pie peaked…sorry. I’ll stop now.

This was one of my throw together ideas. All I had was a name that came at 2am. My husband is fond of saying that my best recipes are the ones I just throw together. The problem being that, half the time, I then forget what I used and you never see these delightful recipes because I am over here foaming at the mouth trying to recall ingredients. Thus why I’m typing this out with a bowl of this yummy chowder in front of me. This really is a delightful chowder…or “chowdah” as my sister in law would say, being the proud Bostonian she is. This is thick and hearty and warming and soothing and any other cozy adjectives that come to mind. It is chock full of turkey, bacon and two cheeses. Since you use leftover turkey and already made mashed potatoes, this comes together quickly. A 30 minute or so simmer and there you go… nice hot, creamy chowder. Erhmmm, chowdah.

You know the drill… btw…. I love you guys!

Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 lb sliced mushrooms (optional- most of us loved them, but my husband whined. If you have a mushroom hater, omit them if you desire)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 4 cups chopped cooked turkey (I used all breast meat; use what pleases you)
  • 3 cups half and half or whole milk, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (homemade, store bought form the refrigerated section, whatever)
  • 12 ounces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled, 1 tablespoon drippings reserved
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded, plus more for garnish
  • 4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 green onions, sliced, plus more for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste (I would usually give measurements, but bacon varies in it’s saltiness and pepper love varies. I used about a teaspoon of each)
  1. Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. I use my purty blue 4 qt dutch oven because…purty.
  2. Add in the chopped onions, chopped celery, garlic and mushrooms (if using). Stir to combine, cover then saute over medium heat until softened and the onion is lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add in the chopped turkey. Stir,and heat just long enough to thoroughly warm up the turkey, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add in 2 1/2 cups of the half and half (or milk) and the mashed potatoes. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Do not let this boil.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the last 1/2 cup half and half and the 2 tablespoons flour. Pour the slurry into the chowder and stir to combine. Continue stirring until mixture thickens up somewhat, about 3 minutes. If it’s too thick for your taste, add a wee bit more milk or cream.
  6. Add in about 3/4 of the bacon and the reserved one tablespoon of drippings. Add in the cheese and 2 green onions. Stir constantly until the cheese is melted and completely incorporated in the chowder. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes just to meld the flavors, stirring frequently
  7. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining bacon, cheese and green onions. Serve with crusty bread and a salad and you have a perfect meal.

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Where Did Winter Go?

Creamy Turkey Soup

I’m weird. No, not cause of that! Or that! Shame on you for mentioning that one… I was young and foolish! What do you mean that was last week!?

Hmmmppphhh.

As I was saying before you so rudely interrupted me, I’m weird. Quit giggling darn it. The reason I’m weird? Because I like Winter. Yep. I do. I like the cold weather though I admit that I don’t venture out into it much because I have the worlds worst circulation and I get cold in August. I like the snow when it happens, I like the coziness, I like being all bundled up in my recliner with a book and a cup of tea while the wind whistles outside my door. The problem this year is that as much as I like Winter, there hasn’t BEEN much of one this year. Where did Winter go!? Who hid it!? I want a REAL Winter! But no matter what, I like all the aspects and feelings that go with Winter.

And I definitely like the foods. We humans eat heartier in Winter. We eat meals that simply wouldn’t work in the full blown heat of Summer. Foods like stews and casseroles and pork roasts full of fat and massive flavors. Also, foods like soup. Continue reading