I’m sure you’re still on Thanksgiving leftovers overload and completely out of ideas on what to do with them. Never fear, I’ve got a unique little idea for you.
Here’s a preview, but to get to the recipe, in typical Sometimes Healthy fashion, you’ll have to endure a bit of the backstory.
A Sometimes Healthy Kitchen Ban
This may sound shocking, and in fact, downright cruel, but in my house, I’m banned from the kitchen on Thanksgiving.
I’m not really sure why, considering that my food ALWAYS appeals to a wide range of audiences. And who wouldn’t want a nice, healthified Thanksgiving?
Apparently, not my family.
This is what our Thanksgiving looked like this year.
Lots of food right? Do you think I gave an assist at all? Nope, Brother Bear and Julie cooked the whole meal! Every year, I am supposed to make a little dessert for the family, but usually my previous evening’s plans get in the way of me executing my master dish.
Ooops. In fact, it’s a running joke with my family. Because, every year, I promise to make a dessert, and every year, after Wednesday night festivities, I cannot muster the strength to do anything but lay on the couch and watch Christmas movies all day.
This year, we had a few more people coming to the Casa for Thanksgiving, so Brother Bear has a big job in front of him (luckily he had a sous chef in the form of his beautiful fiance). My mother warned me several times ahead of time that I was not allowed to bother the Master Chef. But, I knew he needed a taste tester for some of those dishes, so I popped in every now and then.
Oh, and I also managed to pull it together this year (I’m growing up SO fast!) to bang out some sugary and delicious Cinnamon Sugar Mini Pumpkin Donuts. More about those later, but here’s a preview.
Anyway, back to the spaghetti squash casserole.
On my way home from the gym last Tuesday night, having watched Iron Chef Thanksgiving while running on the treadmill, I started to think about what I needed to get rid of from the fridge before leaving the long holiday weekend.
All of a sudden, it hit me – I had a perfectly healthy spaghetti squash just sitting in the fridge waiting to be experimented with. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to play in the kitchen for Thanksgiving, I figured I might as well cook up my own little Thanksgiving dish. What do you get when you combine ALL of your leftovers from Thanksgiving with spaghetti squash??
Thanksgiving Spaghetti Squash Casserole
If you’re looking to throw the family for a loop at your typical Thanksgiving feast, throw this side dish into the mix. It fuses together all of the flavors that we know and love about Thanksgiving and mixes them with an unlikely base ingredient. Or, if you’ve run out of ideas on what to do with that last bit of stuffing, cranberries, turkey and gravy, then this is the recipe for you.
Ingredients: (amounts need not be exact – this is a casserole – you can just throw in the leftovers and I promise it will turn out)
1 medium to large spaghetti squash
1 box Stove Top stuffing (and corresponding ingredients)
2 packets instant gravy
2 cans cranberry sauce
3-4 turkey cutlets (depending upon how “meaty” you want it) (or leftover turkey)
corn flake breadcrumbs (for topping)
1. Prepare stuffing and gravy as directed.
2. In another medium skillet cook 2 cutlets over medium-high heat. Pour in 1/2 cup gravy and 1/2 can of cranberry sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes and simmer on medium heat for 5 more minutes. Do the same thing with the remaining cutlets. (if you’re using leftover turkey – simple throw in the pan for a few minutes and simmer with the gravy/cranberry to moisten the turkey and allow the flavors to become incorporated). Cut into small chunks.
3. Cook 1 medium spaghetti squash for 10 minutes in the microwave. Slice open and shred away. This should yield about 2 bowls of spaghetti squash.
4. Begin layering ingredients in greased casserole dish (or loaf pan). First, spaghetti squash. Next pour on cranberries and gravy. Layer with turkey and then stuffing. Repeat.
5. Mix remaining cranberry with about 1/2 cup of corn flake bread crumbs and spread over the top of the casserole.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until top looks slightly browned and crispy.
Now, the fun part. Showing you how it all went to in my tiny kitchen. Let’s just put it this way: I’m no Semi-Homemade Sandra Lee - that is for sure.
First, I simultaneously mixed the gravy, while making the stuffing and cooking up the cutlets.
Hello – Sometimes Healthy Iron Chef. Next, it was time to make that turkey tasty!
And yes, the raw meat still grossed me out. But at least it looked pretty as it cooked with all of the cranberry!
While I multi-tasked in the kitchen, the spaghetti squash cooked away in the microwave. Here’s where things went ever so slightly south.
The squash exploded…again.
Luckily, despite the mess (good thing my mother didn’t see this), I was able to salvage almost all of it. There may have been a few stray seeds in the casserole, but hey, a bit of seeds never hurts a soul ;-).
Next I sliced my delicious turkey.
Finally, I began the layering process.
I will admit I’ve created a fair amount of weird dishes but I could tell as I was throwing this together that this would be extremely tasty- especially once I put that cranberry-cornflake mixture on top.
Next, I put it in the oven and impatiently counted down the minutes.
Finally, my favorite part.
It was everything I had hoped for and more. In fact, it was so good that I took it to work for lunch the next day…and promptly ate it for breakfast.
This is definitely one casserole dish I’ll be making again – especially when I’m looking for some comfort food or a little taste of Thanksgiving. Hope it helps you all to empty out the last of those delicious Thanksgiving leftovers!
Sometimes Healthy, Sometimes Uninspired
As you may have noticed, my posts have become a bit more irregular lately. When I started this blog, one of my main goals was to be consistent. I know that I generally only read blogs with a consistent schedule, so I assume any readers of my blog would expect the same thing.
But sometimes life happens.
No, I didn’t have a child (by now, you must recognize Brody!). But, I have been busy running around doing fun things like attending a 2-year-old’s bday bash. Oh, and of course, I’ve also been doing a little thing called my job.
And sometimes, I’m just plain uninspired.
Lately, when I sit down to write something, I’m not really satisfied with the output. When it comes to food, sometimes I shamefully prefer quantity over quality (I <3 Buffets!). However, when it comes to writing, I have to stick with quality over quantity. I’d rather write nothing than make you waste your time reading something uninteresting.
So, please bare with me :-). I promise I’ll get back to a more regular schedule as soon as I have more “compelling” content to deliver.
With the holidays coming up, I’m sure I’ll have lots of interesting Wacky Food Combos and unique recipes to share, starting with those delectable donuts from above…
Until, then, it’s back to the grind! I’ll be back in a few with a Thanksgiving recap and this donut recipe.
What’s your favorite thing to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?