For lots of probably very obvious reasons, I absolutely love Thanksgiving. Not only is it a holiday devoted to sharing a meal with family and close friends, but usually this happens after a day spent cooking and drinking with those same people. It’s also, of course, a day where we give thanks for what we have and, thankfully, don’t have to shop for any more stuff (okay, except maybe for this gorgeous Provence platter I’ve been coveting).
I also love Thanksgiving because it’s one of the rare occasions when most people make a lot of food from scratch and then give serious thought to what to do with the leftovers. I recently read a book called American Wasteland, which chronicles how we as a country waste nearly half the food we produce — that’s about $1 billion worth of food per year, according to the book’s author Jonathan Bloom. Bloom argues that people in this country have a cavalier attitude toward food — perhaps because industrially produced food can be bought for cheap — and that we therefore teach our children not to value food. I also think we waste food because we don’t plan for what to do with the leftovers.
Except on Thanksgiving. No matter who’s cooking and how many we’re feeding, on Thanksgiving we cook enough for an army, everyone arrives with Pyrex containers, and there can even be an uncomfortable moment of debate over who gets the turkey carcass (ahem, me). I’m sure you all have wonderful recipes for turkey-noodle soup, which in my house has evolved into turkey-noodle stir-fry. Last year we made a turkey–mashed-potato–stuffing shepherd’s pie that was a wonder to behold. This year, among other things, I know I’ll be making more of these slightly offbeat enchiladas, which are a nice change of pace — they only need one dish and don’t require an army of cooks or a round of Bloody Mary’s to prepare.
Turkey & Portobello Mushroom Enchiladas
Leftover turkey, shredded (about 1 oz. per enchilada)
8 oz. Baby ‘Bella mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Shredded Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheese for garnish
Green chili sauce (I like Nanita’s)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a glass casserole dish with olive oil. Wrap the tortillas in a damp kitchen towel and heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Holding a tortilla open in your hand, fill with small amounts of turkey, mushrooms, and goat cheese. Gently wrap and place seam-side down in the dish. Continue until the dish is full. If your kids don’t like mushrooms, make a few plain turkey enchiladas either in the same dish or in another, smaller one. Cover with a thin layer of green chili (or not) and sprinkle with shredded cheese, and bake for 20 minutes until cheese is bubbling.
Reducing food waste can save a lot of money, by the way. My new RealLife ReUse Class is devoted to tips and strategies for shopping, cooking, and meal planning so busy people can eat well (really well) and spend less. Please contact me for more info or to sign up.