Cook: Thanksgiving leftovers surpass holiday meal

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and I’m already thinking about what
to do with the leftovers, which my family and I enjoy almost as much as
the holiday feast.

The only problem is, I almost never cook Thanksgiving dinner. We
visit relatives, so we don’t get custody of the leftovers such as
turkey, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cranberry sauce and the like. To
compensate, every year I prepare a pre-Thanksgiving meal just for us,
making sure there are plenty of our favorite trimmings and turkey to
enjoy afterward.

Here I’ve repurposed the leftovers into a flaky, savory phyllo pie and a fruity side dish.

For the Turkey Phyllo Pie, it’s fine to substitute the greens with
chopped leftover vegetables, such as string beans or broccoli. Mashed
carrots, acorn squash or pumpkin make good stand-ins for the butternut
squash or sweet potatoes. If you have more or less than 2 cups of
cranberry sauce left over, adjust the other quantities accordingly for
Spiced Chunky Apples with Cranberries.

Turkey Phyllo Pie

Serves 4-6

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. paprika

1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin

1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper

1⁄4 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. plus about 3 Tbs. olive oil

2 cups thinly sliced onion

2 cups shredded, cooked turkey

2 Tbs. plus 1 Tbs. chopped parsley

1⁄2 tsp. plus 1⁄2 tsp. sugar

15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 Tbs. lemon juice

6 phyllo dough sheets (see note)

1 cup cooked kale or other greens, squeezed dry

2 cups mashed, cooked butternut squash or sweet potato

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Have all ingredients at room temperature.

Make the spice mix by combining cinnamon, paprika, cumin, pepper and salt.

Heat 2 Tbs. oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté until very
soft and browned. Stir in half the spice mixture. Stir in turkey.
Remove from heat, and stir in 2 Tbs. parsley and 1⁄2 tsp. sugar.

Mix chickpeas with half the remaining spice mix, 1 Tbs. parsley and 1 Tbs. lemon juice. Lightly mash.

Grease a 2-inch-deep, 9- or 10-inch pie plate with oil. Lay phyllo
sheet across middle, pressing it up the sides of the pan and letting
the edges hang over. Brush top of phyllo with oil. Lay second phyllo
sheet perpendicular to the first, press in and let extra hang over.
Brush with oil. Lay third sheet diagonally across, press in, let extra
hang over and oil. Lay fourth sheet on the opposite diagonal, press in,
let extra hang over and oil.

Layer chickpeas on bottom, then greens, then half turkey-onion
mixture, then squash. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and spice mix.
Spread rest of turkey on top.

Fold top layer of the overhanging phyllo over filling. Brush with
oil and repeat with remaining overhang. Take fifth phyllo sheet and
center on top, brush with oil, and tuck extra into sides of pie plate.
Repeat with last sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown.

Note: Follow directions on package for phyllo defrosting, handling and storage.

Spiced Chunky Apples with Cranberries

Makes 4 cups

6 cups 1⁄2-inch cubes Granny Smith apples (peeling optional)

1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves

1⁄4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1⁄4 tsp. ground ginger

1⁄4 cup water

2 Tbs. lemon juice

2 cups whole berry cranberry sauce (15-oz. can)

In a large pot, stir together apples, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and
ginger, water and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring
occasionally, until apples are softened but still firm in the center.
Stir in cranberry sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples
are soft but not mushy.

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate
with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs at
Contact her at

Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at Contact Faith at