Try to recall what was on the Thanksgiving menu from, say, two years ago, and you might be hard-pressed to remember anything but the turkey.
Nobody forgets the leftovers, though.
One reader wrote to tell us that her mother used to wrap up doggy bags to send home with her guests. "Her live-in family hardly ever had leftovers for us," e-mailed Marion O. Celenza of Melville.
And while at midnight last night you may have stolen a spoonful of stuffing or stuck your finger in the cranberry bowl, it is today that you actually get to plan out exactly what to do with the remains of the big day.
We asked readers to send in their favorite leftover recipes.
Here are some of them:
From Marion Maino, Southold
This simple recipe will vary according to what the cook prepared for Thanksgiving and how much there is left over. Measurement of ingredients is not important and the amount of servings will vary. I usually make an abundance of everything for the holiday just so I can make this dish for the crowd that stays over for the next day.
Cooked turkey meat (sliced, not cubed)
1. Spray a roasting pan or casserole dish with vegetable spray. Layer turkey meat on bottom of the pan.
2. Top turkey with a layer of stuffing, then a layer of vegetables.
3. Dilute gravy with small amount of water and heat in microwave or on stove top; stir until smooth. Pour over other ingredients.
4. Freshen mashed potatoes with a little water or milk while stirring over medium heat (or microwave). Spread mashed potatoes over other ingredients, spreading to all edges. If you do not have enough mashed potatoes to cover other ingredients, make a batch of instant mashed potatoes and add it to the leftover potatoes. Spray top of potatoes with vegetable spray and sprinkle top with paprika.
5. Bake in 350-degree oven until potatoes are golden brown and gravy bubbles around edges, about 45 minutes.
From Grace Zampella, Lindenhurst
1 1/2 cups turkey gravy
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 (7-ounce) package frozen pea pods, cooked and drained
1 (2 1/2-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 (4-ounce) can sliced, drained water chestnuts
1 1/2 cups leftover turkey, diced
Chow mein noodles
1. Place turkey gravy in a saucepan and heat through.
2. Stir in soy sauce, pea pods, mushrooms, water chestnuts and diced turkey.
3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated. Serve with rice and chow mein noodles.
AFTER THANKSGIVING TURKEY SOUP
From Peggy Devenish of Massapequa
Leftover turkey frame with meat on it and/or any parts
10 cups of water
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans of chicken broth
3 ribs celery, diced and leafy tops saved
2 bay leaves
3 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Uncooked noodles, pasta or rice (optional)
1. Put turkey frame with leftover parts into large pot or Dutch oven. Add water, chicken broth, tops only of celery and bay leaves. Simmer, covered for 1 hour.
2. Carefully remove turkey frame and parts to heatproof bowl. Discard bay leaves. Cut off all turkey meat and put small pieces back in broth. Add diced celery, diced carrots and diced onion along with thyme, oregano, parsley flakes and salt and pepper.
3. Cook another 1/2 hour until vegetables are tender. Add noodles, pasta or rice, if desired, during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
MASHED POTATOES-POTATO CROQUETTES (LOGS)
From Mickey Wolf, Farmingville
1/4 cup Italian grated cheese
1 1/4 cups bread crumbs, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces mozzarella, diced
2 cups cold mashed potatoes
1 cup flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1. In large bowl, combine egg, cheeses, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper and mashed potatoes and mix well until blended.
2. Take about 3 tablespoons of potato mixture and shape into log about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. Continue making logs with rest of potato mixture.
3. On wax paper, combine flour and remaining 1 cup of bread crumbs and mix well. Add salt to taste.
4. Roll croquette logs one at a time in the bread-crumb mixture and place on board or a dish.
5. Heat vegetable oil until hot in 8-inch skillet. Fry croquettes, about 4 or 5 at a time, until golden brown, turning once. Do not overcrowd.
6. Drain on paper towels. Makes 15 to 20 croquettes.