Thanksgiving Leftovers

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here are some ideas for what to do with all of the food sitting in your refrigerator.

Turkey Pot Pie

Potato Croquettes

Pumpkin Bars

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Shepherds Pie

Turkey & Mashed Potato Frittata

Mr Breakfast's Holiday Leftover Tips

  1. Mix leftover cranberry sauce with cream cheese to make a spread for toast and muffins.

  2. Cranberry sauce makes an excellent topping for pancakes and waffles. Its flavor even blends well with maple syrup.

  3. Shredded turkey can be added to almost any omelet recipe. Take a mushroom and cheese omelet; add some leftover turkey and it becomes a Turkey Tetrazzini Omelet. Here are 122 omelets you can experiment with.

  4. Refrigerate your leftovers as soon as possible. Use leftover turkey within 3 days. Cranberry sauce keeps for about a week.

  5. You know those crispy French Fried Onions on the top of your green bean casserole? Toss a little handful over scrambled eggs or omelets. Trust me.

  6. Instead of hashed browns, fry up some leftover stuffing in a little bit of oil. Pat it down in rounds as its frying and it turns out like little pancakes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers!

New Blog Design

Yes! This is The Jolly Kitchen! My friend Felicia at Go Graham Go made this awesome design for me! I'm still working on getting the tabs to work. It will probably be a few days before I have everything worked out so please bare with me.

Thanksgiving Series No.9-Timesaving Tips

Make Thanksgiving a relaxing day for all by planning and preparing ahead of time. There are many time saving tips that will help lessen the workload on Thanksgiving. This way you can have a relaxing, stress-free holiday as well!

1. Chop any vegetables you will be using to make your stuffing or casseroles. Place them in airtight containers.
2. Bake your pies or desserts the day before. Cover tightly with saran wrap.
3. If you are making mashed potatoes, go ahead and boil them until they are fork tender. Place them in an airtight container. The following day reheat the potatoes in the microwave and follow your recipe from that point.
4. Assemble your green bean casserole the day before. Do not add the french onions though. The next day, add the french onions and heat right before it's time to eat.
5. Wash all of your glasses, plates, polish silver, iron linens, make centerpieces, print place cards, and arrange flowers.
6. Set the table.
7. Remove turkey from packaging. Rinse with cold water and pat dry. Store in the refrigerator tightly covered with foil or saran wrap. Make sure to place a platter underneath to catch any liquid.
8. If you will be serving any cocktails, go ahead and premix and store in decorative decanters or bottles.
9. Tidy up the house if it needs it.
10. Gather anything you know you will need or will be using the next day.

Thanksgiving Series No.:8-Setting the Table Part 2

Here are some free Thanksgiving printables that I found online.

Adorable turkey place cards from Martha Stewart

Place Cards

Conversation Starters

Thanksgiving Series No.:7-Setting the Table Part 1

All of the senses are involved when you sit down to a meal. This is why having a beautifully set table is so important. Of course, using the perfect recipe creates the perfect taste, but without visual appeal, the meal can seem boring or unattractive. This is especially true at Thanksgiving, which is an important and greatly anticipated holiday. A beautiful table setting is the perfect introduction to a festive dinner like Thanksgiving.

There are Thanksgiving table setting ideas all over the internet. Of course, Martha Stewart, the uber hostess is filled with every type of table setting ranging from elegant to quirky and playful. Here are some adorable place settings from Martha's site.

Thanksgiving Series No.6-Pies

I have to admit I have a bad sweet tooth! I never buy anything sweet for our home because I will devour it in 1.2 seconds! During the holidays, though, I totally indulge on Thanksgiving Day, the day after, Christmas, and the day after! One of my favorite desserts is pie. Any type of pie. I love pie! Here are some links to recipes from various websites that I have used before and I know are delicious! I do want to note though, that at Thanksgiving I don't bother with making crusts. I just buy the rolled Pillsbury crusts instead. There is way too much to bake and cook to bother with making crusts.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

French Apple Tart
I make this tart for my family ALL of the time! It is delicious, but a bit time consuming to make. I always cringe a little when I get requests for it at times other than the Holidays.

Thanksgiving Series No.5-Mashed Potatoes

There's nothing like creamy mashed potatoes. When you make mashed potatoes, never ever use a hand mixer or food processor. You will get glue. Instead, use a potato masher, ricer, or food mill. I like my mashed potatoes lumpy, but if you don't just keep mashing until you reach the consistency you like.

Mashed Potatoes

4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
Coarse salt
1 8oz container of sour cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

Place potatoes in a large pot; cover with cold water by 1 inch, and add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain; return potatoes to pot.
Stir potatoes over medium heat until dry (a film of starch will form on bottom of pot), about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Add butter to mash potatoes and mash just until smooth. Add sour cream and stir until combined. Stir in parsley and chives; season with salt. Garnish with more herbs.

Thanksgiving Series No.: 4-Crockpot Dressing

Slow Cooker Dressing Recipe

Oven space is always limited on Thanksgiving so using the crockpot to make your dressing will free up some much needed space. This is also an easy way to make 'extra' stuffing for a large crowd. I haven't tried this recipe yet, but I am going to make it for this year's Thanksgiving.

1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup parsley sprigs
1 (12 ounce) package mushrooms, sliced
12 - 13 cups slightly dry bread cubes
1 teaspoon ground poultry seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups chicken broth or turkey broth
2 eggs, well beaten

Melt butter or margarine in a skillet. Saute onion, celery, mushroom and parsley.
Pour sauteed vegetables over bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl.
Add all seasonings and toss together. Pour in enough broth to moisten. Add beaten eggs, and mix together well.
Pack stuffing lightly into slow cooker, and cover.
Set to High for 45 minutes; then reduce to Low to cook for 4 to 8 hours.

Makes 8 servings

Thanksgiving Series No. 3: Turkey Recipes

Roasting a turkey at high heat produces the most flavorful, moist turkey. If you choose to roast at high temperatures, you cannot stuff the turkey with traditional dressing. The stuffing will not be heated through because of the short cooking time. Of course, this can cause salmonella poisoning and you do not want that! You can use fruits such as lemons, oranges, apple, figs, etc to stuff your turkey. Please be sure to have a very clean oven for high heat roasting. The temperature will cause any food bits to smoke.

What you will need:
One 16 pound turkey
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For brine:
2 cups kosher salt
8 quarts water

If brining, dissolve salt in water in a large stock pot. Add turkey and refrigerate overnight. Remove from brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Proceed as below.

For stock:
Neck, gizzard and heart from turkey, rinsed and dried
canola oil
1 medium onion cut in half
1 medium carrot
1 stalk celery
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon pepper corns
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
Place a small volume of oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add neck, gizzard and heart and cook, turning until browned. Add the remaining stock ingredients and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, skimming foam from time to time. Strain and set aside. This can be done well ahead of the rest of the meal.
Roasting the turkey:

Rinse inside and out, dry with paper towels and bring turkey to room temperature, keeping skin covered with a moist towel to prevent drying. Preheat oven to 500 degrees (450 degrees works nearly as well; cooking times will be slightly longer). Sprinkle turkey with ground pepper and salt and place into a roasting pan. Cook, rotating pan 180 degrees after 1 hour; add 1 -2 cups water or chicken stock to pan if drippings appear to be turning too dark. Check temperature in the thickest part of the thigh at 1 ¾ hours. Remove from oven when temperature is 170 degrees, about 2 hour’s total cooking time for unstuffed turkey. Add approximately 30 minutes if you have stuffed the turkey. Let turkey sit for 30 minutes, during which the temperature in the thigh should reach 180 degrees.

While turkey is resting, pour fat from roasting pan and place pan over medium – high heat. Pour stock into pan; boil, scraping up the browned fond from the pan. Boil until reduced nearly by half, check and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep hot and serve with turkey.

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Thanksgiving Series No. 2-The Turkey Part 2

This is number 2 in The Jolly Kitchen's Thanksgiving Series. Today, I will be offering tips and instructions on how to roast and carve your turkey!

Roasting Your Turkey:
1. Place turkey, breast side up on a shallow roasting pan and brush with melted butter or oil. I suggest that you use an oven proof thermometer. If you do, insert it into the thickest part of the thigh and make sure it is not touching the bone.
2. About 2/3’s of the way through cooking time, make sure to untie the drumsticks so that the inner thighs cook through.
3. Start checking doneness about an hour before the end of recommended roasting time. Your bird will be done when the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees and juices run clear. If you stuffed your bird, then the stuffing should reach 165 degrees. If your turkey is already golden brown, but it is not done yet, then loosely place an aluminum foil tent over the turkey.
4. When the turkey is done, transfer it to a carving board and cover with aluminum foil. Let the bird rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. This is a very important step in ensuring that your turkey is moist and easily carved.

Roasting Turkey Timetable:

Carving Your Bird:

Thanksgiving Series No. 1-The Turkey

It’s almost Turkey Time and many of us are starting to prepare our menus for the Big Day. We hosted our first Thanksgiving last year and we were really nervous. It feels so overwhelming and intimidating to host such a special dinner for a lot of people. If you take it a step at a time and plan ahead, it really is not bad. We will be hosting Thanksgiving at our home again this year. I have to admit that I am still nervous about it so I am posting this series to help you and me too! Let’s get started!

The turkey is really the main event at Thanksgiving and deserves and requires the most attention.

Selecting the Perfect Turkey:
To have enough for your Thanksgiving feast and enough for the ever popular leftovers, allow 1 pound of turkey for every person. Make sure that the turkey you choose is plump and meaty with smooth, moist skin. The cut ends of the bone should be pink to red in color. If you decide on buying a fresh turkey, make sure that you will be cooking 1 to 2 days after buying and store it in the refrigerator. If you buy a frozen bird, it will keep for up to 6 months and follow the thawing instructions offered below.

Thawing: There are three safe ways to thaw your turkey.

1. Slowly thaw in the refrigerator. Place your turkey (keep in packaging) on a platter to catch juices. You should allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of whole turkey. So, an 8-12 pound turkey will take about 2 days to completely thaw.
2. Slowly thaw in cold water. If you need to quickly thaw a turkey, then place the turkey still in its original packaging in your sink or container filled with cold water. Make sure to change out the water often. Allow 30 minutes for every 5 pounds of turkey. So, an 8-12 pound turkey will take about 5 hours to thaw.
3. Microwave. I don’t recommend this method, but it can be done in a pinch if you need to thaw the turkey very quickly. Remove the turkey from its packaging and follow your microwaves thawing directions.

Preparing Your Turkey: If you have decided to stuff your bird, make sure to do it right before cooking to avoid bacterial contamination. Make sure you never prestuff a turkey and then store in the refrigerator or freezer.

1. Take your turkey out of the packaging and make sure to remove the package of giblets. Seriously, make sure to remove the giblets-lol! My mom has forgotten before…not pretty. If you are making gravy from the giblets, then set aside. If not, then discard the giblets.
2. Wash out the neck and cavity of the bird with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the skin and cavity of the bird with salt. However, if you are stuffing the turkey, do not salt the cavity.
3. Stuff turkey if you would like. I honestly prefer not to because it is more difficult to get a juicy bird. If you decide to though, make sure you pack the stuffing lightly since the stuffing will expand as it cooks. Using skewers, attach the neck skin to the back and fold wings across the back with wings touching. Finally, tie the drumsticks together or tuck under the band of skin at tail.
4. If you are not stuffing your turkey, then fill cavities with various fruits like lemons, oranges, or apples or season with herbs. Then, close up the cavities as described in step 3.

I hope that these tips are helpful! Make sure to tune in tomorrow for the second installment in my Thanksgiving Series in which I offer directions and tips on roasting and carving the perfect turkey. See you then!

Apple Muffins

First, I must give credit to The Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog! I got this Apple Muffin recipe from their AMAZING blog that you must visit. Seriously, those girls can cook and their blog is beautifully done.

I did subsitute the white flour with white wheat flour (healthier option) and they were delicious! The husband and the toddler gobbled them up. I made them 2 days ago and there are only 3 left-we had 12! I have eaten 2-you do the math-LOL!

Now, for the recipe:
Apple Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup salad oil
1 cup coarsely grated apple
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or sub with white wheat flour)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Beat egg. Stir in milk oil and apples.
2. Mix in remaining ingredients, just until flour is moistened. The batter should be lumpy.
3. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full.
4. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes or until golden. Immediately remove from pan.

Weekly Menu

This week's menu is:

Oven Roasted Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
Bruschetta Chicken Bake
Apple Meatloaf and Couscous with Carrots and Cauliflower
Classic Chicken Pot Pie

For the munchkins lunch, I will be making spinach nuggets and mini tarts again because he loves them!

Apple Muffins
Organic Whole Grain Waffles
Eggs and Toast
Various Fruits

Creamy Hot Cocoa

It's getting chilly down here and I feel like hibernating! A wonderfully delicious way of warming up is with a good cup of hot cocoa. Here is a recipe I found a while ago that is really, really good. Perfect for chilly nights spent reading a good book by the fire. If you don't have time to make your own, then store bought is fine too. I always add half and half to store bought so that it is creamy and delicious.

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3-1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half
Cooking Instructions
Combine the cocoa, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch.
Stir in milk and heat until very hot (do not boil!) Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between four mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

Chicken Dijon & Baked Macaroni & Cheese

My husband says this is the BEST meal ever! It really is great. The chicken has a tangy taste from the mustard. So good!

Chicken Dijon

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp paprika
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp butter


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Pound the chicken breasts with a mallet to a uniform thickness of about 1/2 inch. This is so they cook evenly and quickly.
2. In a shallow bowl or plate, combine the bread crumbs, flour, and paprika. In another shallow bowl or plate, combine the mustard, honey, water, salt, and pepper. Coat both sides of the chicken breasts with the mustard mixture, then the bread crumb mixture, and place them on the baking sheet.
3. Melt the butter in the microwave and drizzle it over the chicken breasts. Bake the chicken for 10 minutes or until the thickest part is no longer pink inside.

**Note** I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because it tastes a lot better and is harder to dry out. However, if you use chicken thighs, you will need to cook longer. I cooked them about 20-25 minutes.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Tomatoes


8 oz (2 cups dry) macaroni
1 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
2 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbsp bread crumbs


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Cook the macaroni according to package instructions and drain it.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the milk, salt, and mustard. Set it aside.
4. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the macaroni with the butter, the beaten egg, and 2 cups of cheese. Stir it thoroughly.
5. Place the macaroni mixture in the microwave on high for 2 minutes to melt the cheese more thoroughly. Mix well.
6. Add the milk mixture and tomatoes to the macaroni and toss it. Place it in the casserole dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and the bread crumbs and bake it, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until set.