Those who know me will know that any excuse for cooking for a crowd (by which I mean anything more than just my boyfriend and myself) means I will purchase a rather large amount of food, make huge amounts of dishes, and have lots of leftovers. Case in point: when my boyfriend told his brother that I was making Thanksgiving dinner, his brother’s first response was ‘Oh, so she’s making at least 10 courses?’ I guess there are worse things to be known for than making great quantities of tasty food.
(Yes, I ordered a lot of food)
Other coeliacs will probably understand the reason for so much cooking. If I make it myself, at my gluten free kitchen, I can eat everything I want and not worry about contamination. So I’m going to cook everything I’ve wanted to eat, and then eat it for the rest of the week too. Also, the traditional meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas are both easily made entirely gluten free. A bit of gluten free flour or corn flour in the gravy and some good-quality gluten free bread for the stuffing are all that are strictly necessary to transform a traditional holiday meal into a coeliac-friendly holiday meal. Most of the traditional vegetable sides are naturally gluten free, which to me means that Thanksgiving provided an opportunity to cook six. For six people. Plus biscuits. And two types of dessert. Maybe I do have a problem…
All of which means that I end up with a large amount of leftovers, providing multiple holiday packed lunches. (Hint: pack gluten free gravy granules with your lunch and you can have fresh gravy at work). But even I can hit a wall where having the same roast dinner every lunch/dinner can get a bit boring. And holiday meals (Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s really the same meal) can get a bit repetitive. So I’ve been experimenting with different ways of using up my leftovers, both the food I’ve cooked and the leftover fresh food that I ordered but didn’t need. I can imagine that other coeliacs have woken up on the morning after Thanksgiving or Christmas and faced the same vast quantites of food, so I thought I’d share my successes from this year.
(A tiny pot of gravy granules makes a work lunch so much better!)
First up, how to use up stuffing. My stuffing was made using gluten free bread from Artisan Gluten Free Bakery, which comes unsliced so it was perfect to make into large chunks. I used Smitten Kitchen’s apple-herb stuffing recipe, which worked a treat. I also used her ‘put an egg on it’ philosophy to transform leftover stuffing into breakfast for two days. A crispy egg (ie an egg fried until the white can almost shatter) was a great addition, adding some protein to the meal and making it feel very breakfast/brunch-worthy.
I also used up my leftover mashed potatoes with the stuffing in this weird version of a tarte tatin. I reheated my caramelised shallots and their braising liquid in a frying pan, then added potatoes and stuffing that had been mixed together with an egg for binding on top. I tried to flip it so the shallots and liquid poured over the hash, but I’m still working on my flipping skills. But it didn’t matter because it was a glorious lunch.
One leftover that shouldn’t need instructions for using up is apple crisp. But, in case any of you have not tried it for breakfast, DO IT. It’s really just baked oatmeal and stewed fruit, which is definitely a balanced breakfast. I would also recommend it with a bit of cold milk. I used Delicious Alchemy oatmeal for my crisp, but any gluten free oats are fine.
As you might have guessed from the produce photo, I also had some fresh vegetables leftover to use up. So I tried to find dishes that were completely different from a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas meal to add some variety in among the stuffing.
First up was saag paneer: curry made with spinach and paneer, a type of Indian cheese. I am a big fan of this Delicious Magazine recipe, which is naturally gluten free, really easy to make and doesn’t involve the huge amounts of cream or ghee you often find in curry recipes. I used up onions and the entire 450g bag of spinach I had leftover, as well as the cream from the pumpkin pie (I would usually use the yoghurt recommended by the recipe). The curry was delicious and a good break from roast dinners.
Even though I made two separate sweet potato dishes for Thanksgiving I still had about a kilo leftover. So I continued on the spicy trend and went for chili. The chili was inspired by this recipe from Simply Quinoa, but I didn’t feel the need for extra grains after all the stuffing I’d been eating and added extra beans and sweetcorn instead. I also made the chili on the stovetop, rather than a crockpot. It took about 35-45 minutes of simmering, just be sure to check if the sweet potatoes are becoming too soft.
The chili was a great way to wind up the post-holiday overeating. It’s vegetarian, vegan and grain free, but very hearty so you’d never know. Also good if you’re coming down with a cold in the winter, the spices really clear you out.
Hopefully some of these ideas will be helpful in your quest to eat up all your gluten free leftovers. None of them require much onerous cooking, which is great if you’ve had to cook an entire Thanksgiving or Christmas meal recently! And all of them are vegetarian, if you either can’t face any more turkey or want to make sure everyone can eat. I would love to hear any other ideas people have for using up their holiday leftovers. As of writing, it’s only one month to Christmas!