Holiday Leftovers


Creative ways to use up holiday leftovers.

We all love leftover turkey— cold turkey  sandwiches, turkey pot pie, and gallons of turkey soup. This year, try a new twist on those  holiday leftovers. Here are three amazing,  luscious recipes to help you turn your ordinary  leftovers into something special. Sweet Potato and Turkey Tamales are packed with flavor. They may take a little extra time in the kitchen, but their hearty flavor is irresistible. 

Turkey and Cream Cheese Wontons with Spicy Cranberry Sauce add just the right amount of zing to your leftover turkey. End your next dinner with dense, sweet, gluten free Lemon and Orange Zest Cake and your family will never look at leftovers the same. This year, skip the pot pie and try something new for dinner


• 10 large cornhusks (found in most local stores in the specialty food aisle)

• 1 3/4 cups masa harina (flour made from dried masa, also found in specialty aisle)

• 1 1/4 cups very hot water

• 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cold vegetable shortening

• 1/4 cup cold chicken broth

• 1 tsp. baking powder

• 2 1/2 tsp. salt (divided)

• 1 cup mashed sweet potato

• 1 tsp. cayenne powder

• 1 tsp. chili powder

• 1 tsp. cumin

• 1 cup leftover turkey meat, shredded

Place cornhusks in a large bowl and add hot water to cover. Let stand at least 30 minutes. Place masa harina in an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. On low speed, slowly add the hot water until dough forms a ball. Increase speed and mix for 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low again and add shortening, a couple tablespoons at a time, until blended. Again, increase the speed and blend for 5 minutes. Dough should be smooth and light. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. On low, slowly add the chicken broth, baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Increase speed and beat about 5 more minutes until light and fluffy.In a separate bowl, add the remaining salt, cayenne, chili powder and cumin to the mashed sweet potato and mix thoroughly. Add about 1/2 cup of the potato mixture to the dough in the mixer. Mix on high until well blended. Drain the cornhusks and pat dry. Tear 2 of the husks into 16 strips for tying the ends of the tamales. Set aside. Divide the dough mixture evenly among the cornhusks. Flatten the mixture on each husk, leaving 1 inch at the ends of the husks uncovered. Spoon 1 Tbsp. of the sweet potato mixture in the center of each tamale. Spread down the middle of each husk, leaving 1/2 inch of dough exposed at each end. Finally, spoon some of the turkey on top of the mixture in each tamale. Starting on one side, roll the cornhusks so filling is completely enclosed and husk overlaps itself. Twist ends to close and tie with the strips. Fill a large pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place tamales in a steamer basket inside the pot, making sure water does not touch the bottom of the basket. Cover with a tight fitting lid and steam tamales for 35 to 40 minutes. Watch carefully and maintain water level. Tamales are done when they pull easily from the cornhusk. Serve hot. Serves 8.


Turkey and Cream Cheese Wontons with Spicy Cranberry Sauce

• 1/2 cup leftover turkey meat, shredded

• 1/3 cup leftover stuffing

• 2 ounces cream cheese, softened

• 8 wonton wrappers

• 1 cup oil, for frying

• 1/2 cup leftover cranberry sauce

• 1 Tbsp. minced onion

• 1 1/4 tsp. lime juice

• 1/2 tsp. jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, or to taste

• 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced

Mix the turkey, stuffing and cream cheese until thoroughly combined. Place a wonton wrapper on a work surface. Spoon about 1 Tbsp. of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Moisten two opposite edges of the wrapper with a finger dipped in water. Fold the wrapper in half so it makes a triangle, and press the edges together with a fork. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Fry the wontons until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the fried wontons on paper towels. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes to set the filling.Place leftover cranberry sauce in a bowl and mix in the onion, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, garlic and water. Serve with the hot fried wontons. Serves 4.

Lemon and Orange Zest Cake (gluten free)

• 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. butter, softened

• 1 1/8 cup sugar

• 4 eggs

• 1 1/8 cup gluten-free flour (if using regular flour, increase to 1 1/2 cups and omit xanthan gum)

• 1 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum

• 1 Tbsp. baking powder

• 1 1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, fluffed with a fork

• Juice and zest of 2 lemons

For the icing:

• 3/4 cup powdered sugar

• Juice of 1/2 lemon

• Chocolates for decoration

Heat oven to 375˚F. Grease and line a deep, 8-inch round cake pan. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, one by one. Fold in the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, mashed potato, zests and juices. Scrape into the cake pan and level the top. Bake for 45 minutes until golden and a skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack. Place powdered sugar in a small bowl and mix in lemon juice until icing is stiff, but still runny. Spread icing over the cake, so it dribbles down the sides a little. Add some chocolates for decorating. Leave until the icing has set, then slice and serve. Dawn Sanborn is a professional photographer, a food addict and isn’t afraid to try new and interesting ways of using up leftovers. She spends her free time playing with her goats.

Dawn Sanborn is a professional photographer, a food addict and isn’t afraid to try new and interesting ways of using up leftovers. She spends her free time playing with her goats.