Thanksgiving weekend may be coming to a close, but our fridge is still stuffed with traditional Thanksgiving leftovers. My father’s vegan stuffing and my aunt’s cranberry sauce are among the dishes taking up the most room on the leftover-shelf.
Instead of making dozens of Tofurk’y sandwiches or recreating Thanksgiving dinner again and again, I tried to dig up some healthy, refreshing alternatives to the usual Thanksgiving Stuffing Bread Pudding or Cranberry Sauce Sandwich Spread.
For dinner, I was inspired by a New York Times article, “A Radical Rethinking of Thanksgiving Leftovers,” which offered inventive ways to transform the remains of Turkey Day Dinner.
I took their Stuffing-Stuffed Bell Pepper suggestion and made it the perfect Little Bite, using an assortment of red, orange, and yellow sweet miniature poblano peppers.
After cutting off the peppers’ stems, I cored them, removing the seeds and the bitter membranes. Each pepper held about two tablespoons of stuffing, making a serving of two peppers with a quarter cup of stuffing.
Once the peppers were full, I cut two narrow slits on either side to allow them to ventilate, and spritzed them with a tiny spray of olive oil. They were baked at 475 for 15 minutes, or until the skin began to pucker and soften.
Served as is, these stuffed peppers make a delicious vegan dinner, utilizing the stuffing in a way that moderates the caloric level. For those not adhering to a vegan lifestyle, a grating of fresh parmesan on top adds an additional layer of flavor.
For dessert, I searched for a way to incorporate the Orange Apple Cranberry Sauce. A healthy cornbread recipe, with a few important tweaks, made the perfect vehicle for this side dish.
A loaf of Cranberry-Sauce Cornbread, meant to serve 10, contained:
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Cornmeal
2 Tablespoons Sugar Substitute
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Nonfat Milk
1/2 Cup Cranberry Sauce
1/4 Cup Egg Beaters
After whisking together the dry ingredients, and slowly incorporating the wet, the thick, pancake-like batter was poured into a 9×11 baking dish. Cooked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, the cornbread turned a pale puple color, and was a delicious combination of sweet corn and tart cranberry sauce.
Using egg beaters instead of eggs, nonfat milk [we keep Calorie Countdown in the house, which has only 35 calories in a cup), and a sugar substitute such as Truvia or Stevia, each slice of cornbread was less than 100 calories.
Other enticing options for reimagining Thanksgiving leftovers included a Savory Gruyere Bread Pudding with stuffing, or Cranberry-Glazed Brussel Sprouts.
No matter how many leftovers you have, there are always healthy alternatives to the Thanksgiving-Pot Pie or panini that will have you looking forward to the Day After Thanksgiving – and maybe even the day after that.
Now that all the cranberry sauce has been baked into cornbread and the stuffing has been turned into a major main-dish component for the lingering family members, I’m putting away the Thanksgiving dishes.
Until next year, I’m off to find another little bite.