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Got Leftovers?

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. If you are like me, the day after Thanksgiving I need a good rest, and I don’t want to be in the kitchen. But those leftovers, well, as my mother always said, “Waste not. Want not.” Following are two of my favorite recipes to transform my Thanksgiving dinner into something spectacular. If your family is like my husband and doesn’t like leftovers, these recipes are so delicious they’ll never guess that’s what they’re eating.

Turkey, Brie, and Cranberry Panini Serves 4

The Dijon mustard/mayonnaise mixture is optional. If you love Dijon mustard, use it when making this sandwich. I make it with and without. I’m the Dijon mustard lover in our family, and my husband isn’t.

4 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional) 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (optional) Extra virgin olive oil for brushing 8 slices artisan bread, sliced about ½-inch thick Leftover Thanksgiving turkey, to taste Brie cheese, sliced thin, rind removed, to taste 1 cup cranberry sauce, or to taste 4 lettuce leaves

Preheat the panini grill according to manufacturer’s directions. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and mustard. (These ingredients are optional). To assemble 1 panino: In a small bowl, place olive oil. For 1 sandwich, use 2 slices artisan bread. Using a pastry brush, brush outsides of bread with olive oil. Spread the insides of one slice of bread with the mayonnaise mixture. (This is the top of the sandwich.) Using a knife, spread cranberry sauce on the insides of both slices. Layer turkey and Brie on the bottom slice. Top with leaf lettuce.

Place panino on the panini grill. Close the lid. Apply light pressure for 10 seconds. Grill panino for 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutes or until cheese is warm and partially melted and bread is toasted to the desired level of golden brown. Using a spatula, remove panino from the grill and serve immediately.

If you don’t have a panini grill, you can prepare your sandwich on the stove. Place a skillet over medium low heat. Add butter or oil to the skillet. Add sandwich, then press a heavy pan on top to weigh it down. Cook until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup Serves 6 to 8

If you have any leftover vegetables, like green beans, you can add them to this soup at the same time you add the turkey.

For the stock:

1 turkey carcass 2 yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered 3 carrots, unpeeled and cut into thirds 3 celery stalks with leaves, cut into thirds 1 parsnip, unpeeled and cut into thirds 1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise 10 sprigs fresh parsley 10 sprigs fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Using a sharp knife, remove turkey meat from the carcass and set aside. Remove the skin and any fat. Clean any stuffing off the bones. If your turkey is large, break it apart at the joints so it will fit into a kettle.

In a large kettle, place turkey carcass, onions, carrots, celery, parsnip, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Fill the kettle with cold water, about 8 to 12 quarts, so that it covers the carcass. Add salt and peppercorns and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over a high heat. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 4 hours. Skim off any foam that comes to the surface. Take the kettle off the heat and let it cool. Using tongs, remove turkey bones. Using a slotted spoon, remove vegetables. Strain the contents of the kettle through a fine mesh sieve or a strainer, reserving stock.

For the soup: 4 tablespoons butter2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced 1 parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced 1 small white onion, chopped 4 tablespoons flour 2 quarts turkey stock 1 cup uncooked wild rice 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 1 tablespoon fresh snipped parsley 1 bay leaf 2 teaspoons salt ¼ teaspoon large grind black pepper 3 cups cooked turkey, chopped or shredded Leftover vegetables ½ cup half-and-half

In a large kettle, place butter and melt it over a medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, parsnip, and onion and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Add turkey stock slowly, stirring to combine, and bring the stock to a rapid boil. Add rice, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is done, about 30 minutes. Add turkey, any leftover vegetables, and half-and-half and simmer, uncovered, another 15 to 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked through and turkey is heated. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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