Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lunch Week 30: Thanksgiving Leftovers

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Thanksgiving Leftovers
Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. I live for this day every year. Why? I'm in charge of my family's Thanksgiving dinner. I plan it, I host it, I cook everything. The only thing my guests bring are their stomachs and drinks. And Cheez Doodles. That's a tradition in my house growing up. Trust me, the kids love it (and the adults too!).

This year, in my haste to get everything done on time and perfect (meaning to my own high standards), I forgot to document and take pictures of everything. So I'm left with just the leftovers to photograph which aren't nearly as photogenic when the dishes are plated beautifully and untouched.

But maybe you'd like to know what I made this year. The dishes remain nearly the same every year but I do make tweaks until I'm completely satisfied. In the first picture above, I have ham on the left with shallot and honey mustard sauce, roast sweet potatoes with dried cherries and onions, boursin mashed potatoes, and roast turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce. Errr, excuse the pictures as they're taken when the food is cold hence the gelatinous texture of the sauces and fat.

Below, I have the same meats but now with corn souffle and sausage dressing as sides.
And lastly, there's mac and cheese and roasted brussel sprouts.
I did lots of different tweaks this year. Some successful, some not so much. First the ham. I used a real smoked ham purchased from the butcher this year instead of the kind your get at a generic supermarket. The flavor and texture is much superior. Sure, it takes a lot more work but I think it's worth it. You can see my previous post about it at an earlier dinner party last year here. Another tweak were the sweet potatoes. I roasted them then tossed it with dried cherries and sauteed onions. It's a dish that was discovered on the same night as the ham last year. I just swapped out the squash with the sweet potatoes. The next couple of tweaks were minor like the mashed potatoes with Boursin cheese instead of just butter and cream and the sausage dressing with an extra pound of hot Italian sausage. It made all the difference.

However, the biggest change to this year's festive menu was the garlic bread. I've been happy with my garlic bread in the past but this year was something else. It was the garlic bread of my dreams. Everyone confirmed my thoughts by telling me it was the best garlic bread I've ever made. It all started with slow poaching garlic in butter for 30 minutes until the fat ran clear and the garlic softened. Then I schmeared it on some rustic Italian bread with salt, toasted it under the broiler, and garnished it with parsley. It was so rich and garlicky. It was incredible. Really, it was the highlight of this year's meal. It was that good. And well worth the extra effort. I'm definitely going to only make garlic bread that way going forward.

I was pretty happy with this year's meal except for a few minor issues with the turkey not being as juicy due to over roasting (the 3rd round of bacon was too much) and the apple pie was really off with a too floral filling (was it the nutmeg or the weird lemon zest? I'm not sure) and the too crumbly crust. Otherwise, the overall meal was a success.


  1. wait...did you already celebrate thanksgiving?

  2. I most certainly did. twice. one more time on Thursday.

  3. Whoo Hoo to ham AND turkey!!

    Mmm brussel sprouts. I'm glad I grew fond of eating the veg. To this day, I still see plenty of people refusing to eat it whether it is because of its reputation or preparation.

    1. Just found out that my MIL doesn't like them. I'll change her mind.

  4. I've always hated sweet potatoes, or, as my family called them, "Candied Yams." They weren't yams, and, augmented with a few cups of brown sugar, they were so sweet and gooey it made me ill looking for too long. This year, we augmented our usual roasted butternut squash with bits of roasted sweet potato (for the healthiness of it). I weep at what I've been missing all these years!

    I think even your leftovers look superb--I think Thanksgiving feasts reheat better than just about anything!

    I'm new here--really enjoying!


    1. Welcome! I do not like candied yams either. Roasted sweet potatoes are my preferred preparation. They're fantastic and very easy to make.

  5. Looks and sounds delish! Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday - what's not to love about all the amazing food and leftovers that come with it!! (oh ya, I'm super thankful for all the awesome stuff in my life too, of course!)


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