Lessons learned from Thanksgiving and cooking in the aftermath

Thanksgiving was wonderful! So much food and good times with family! I gave my brother a tray full of food but still had lots of turkey, lobster, mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash and cranberry sauce leftover. Everything turned out mostly like I wanted it to, except the gravy! I put too much vinegar in my brining liquid (I also noticed that I typed the wrong amount on my blog about Thanksgiving! It is now corrected.) The turkey tasted great, but the gravy did not, especially when I added the liquid and veggies from the oven bag I roasted the turkey breasts in. The lemons made it in and really added a bitter taste. So lesson learned is DO NOT put already roasted lemons in the gravy to reduce. To fix this I added some brown sugar and apple cider vinegar and extra stock to take away the bitterness. It was a long day prepping, which it always seems to be no matter how simple I try to make it, but it was fun. The kitchen is my happy place!

Prepping for mashed potatoes and roasting squash and sweet potatoes.

Turkey breasts ready to go in the oven!

Appetizers: meats, cheese ball with crackers, grapes, veggies and homemade white bean hummus. The hummus didn't quite come out how I wanted, so I'll post a recipe when I try it again. I tried to substitute sesame oil and peanut butter for tahini (because I forgot to buy it) and the flavor wasn't quite right.

The table ready for food!

The lobster is ready too!

Plate of many of my favorite things!!

Rolls turned out to be the pita bread I attempted to make the day before. The came out more like rolls than like pita. I used the Grands Biscuits I bought then for a yummy appetizer recipe below. Win win!

Dessert :) Store bought pumpkin pie (delicious!), my favorite Carvel ice cream cake with a turkey on it and pretzel - Hershey's hugs bites (find here).

Leftover sandwich, yum!

I used the left over roasted squash and sweet potatoes and spinach from the salad to make these little quesadillas. Mix veggies with a cream cheese, shredded cheese, cumin and chili powder. Roll up in a tortilla and cook at 375 for about 5-10 minutes until cheese is gooey! So good and my kids loved it!

Lobster corn chowder was a fun way to use the rest of the lobsters and mashed potatoes. Sauteed 1 medium diced onion in a little olive oil until translucent. Then added mashed potatoes. Once I stirred that around a couple of times, I stirred in chicken stock until it was the consistency I wanted for the soup. Then I added a can of corn. After that, I broke down the rest of the lobsters (saved the shells to make stock) cut the meat into bite size pieces and threw it in the pot. Stirred, tasted for seasoning and added some thyme. Served with grilled cheese. Everyone except my 4 year old loved it! She is going through a non soup phase.

Last meal I made with the leftovers was from one of the Food Network specials I saw just before Thanksgiving. We had an old friend over for dinner and I made these. They were a hit. The only changes I made was to use shredded carrots instead of cucumbers, since I didn't have any cucumbers and I added some fresh ginger to the cranberry hoisin sauce.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and the leftovers are gone, I am struggling with the energy to cook and be creative. We've been eating homemade pizza, pasta and quesadillas. Last night I finally got some energy from somewhere to cook and made pork chops, polenta and peas. Tonight may be another pasta night.

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