Gary Stubblefield and his family enjoy spending Thanksgiving with Mike Wiggins at Granny Shaffer's. Given the option of Gary's kitchen skills, Wiggins and his staff are a blessing.

Gary's only complaint? No leftovers. But it's nice letting someone else handle the cooking and cleanup. For me, the leftovers still outweigh the ease.

Mom always prepared a turkey and a ham for Thanksgiving. Time to head home meant filling to-go containers. Dad always instructed my sister Sue and I to help ourselves to as much turkey as we wanted but to leave the ham alone. We smiled and ignored him. Leftovers were something we looked forward to.

The turkey is probably the easiest of the Thanksgiving fare to repurpose. Sandwiches. Tetrazzini. Enchiladas. White chili. Turkey and noodles. Turkey noodle soup. Turkey sliders. Nachos. Turkey salad. Chef salad.

Any favorite recipe using cooked chicken should shine with substituted turkey. One of our favorite uses of leftover turkey was when my mother-in-law made soup by boiling the carcass. She added beans and made it Southwestern-style. Nothing went to waste.

Put the turkey to good use with leftover mashed potatoes and gravy for a hot turkey sandwich. Fry up potato pancakes with the mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes can become a dessert pie. Cranberry sauce can cover meatballs, be added to a muffin mix or warmed as an ice cream topping. Pumpkin pie, crust and all, makes a tasty shake when blended with ice cream.

With both my mother and That Joplin Woman no longer with us, I hold onto the memories of families together and hope I appreciated those times that can no longer be. I have so much for which to be thankful this Thanksgiving and every day.

The turkey bake recipe brings back memories. Biscuits always topped my mom's pot pies. Bits of leftover veggies were added, and we enjoyed a delicious comfort food dinner. This recipe, from Taste of Home's "Holiday Celebrations Cookbook," calls for frozen peas, but just about any vegetable you have in the fridge from Thanksgiving will work. Double for a 9-by-13-inch pan.

That Joplin Woman always prepared my husband Chris' favorite cake for his birthday. In honor of his birthday this past Saturday, I'm sharing the recipe. I don't always have the orange extract and don't worry about not adding it. I certainly understand why Chris loves this cake.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, and happy eating.

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Turkey biscuit bake

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup diced cooked turkey
  • 1 can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Dash each cumin, dried basil and thyme
  • 1 tube biscuits

Combine all ingredients except biscuits. Pour into greased 8-inch baking dish. Arrange biscuits over top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Yields 5 servings.

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Orange cake

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 large package orange gelatin
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 4 eggs, well beaten

Sauce:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water and let cool. Mix remaining cake ingredients with gelatin and pour into sprayed 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degree for 30 minutes.

While cake is hot, poke holes all over cake. Mix together sauce ingredients and pour over cake. Yields 12 servings.

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Cheryle Finley is a food columnist for The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.