Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwiches!

Today is Black Friday, and I don’t care.
That’s not entirely true.
I do care.

I care because the retail stores of today have let the almighty dollar dictate the destruction of the true meaning of Christmas, while their hunger and greed have created such a calamity of what was once a quiet and peaceful Thanksgiving.

I had absolutely no plan, nor desire to go out into that madness, and instead, I spent a quiet and peaceful Black Friday, listening to Christmas music, and put decorations up, while a big pot of turkey stock simmered on my stove.  With my strong convictions about Black Friday, I totally kept my fingers crossed hoping that my Christmas lights all worked, and I didn’t have to go out for replacements.

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Maybe it’s because I’m older, that I don’t have the desire, drive, or yearning that I used to have, to go out and try to grab those promised deals that were almost always sold out by the time I arrived at the store. And that’s because they only would have one or two of the wonderful bargains in stock to begin with!  So yeah, don’t let me lead you on…I was totally caught up in that hype for a lot of years.

But today, I stayed in my warm cozy house and remained stress free while I put my trees up and hung the ornaments…and while Sophie stood guard over the stove to make sure that no one came close to that pot of turkey stock.

Life is good.  Life is cozy good inside my house, while the Black Friday crazy world swirls around me beyond these quiet walls.

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So Katie and Jessica had to work until 1pm today. Mike got home from work at 1am (yes, 1am) last night, and had to go back in at 1pm today. Jessica came home and went straight to bed, not wanting to eat anything because she had to go in at 3am last night, and had been loading up on caffeine and sugary foods to stay awake. Yes, 3am…don’t get me started on the Thanksgiving/Black Friday thing again! You know that really bad hangover feeling that you get from staying awake for 24+ hours?  Jessica was suffering from that, so food wasn’t even on her mind.  But Katie mentioned that she might stop in after work.  I decided that if she does, I thought that I’d make some sandwiches from the leftover turkey for the two of us.

The first sandwich is inspired by Sprague’s Maple Farms in Portville, NY.  It’s about 30 minutes from our cabin, and we go there quite a bit when we’re down there. I kind of do the “craving-visioned” thing when I’m at Spragues, because they make this turkey, stuffing, cranberry/horseradish sandwich in which I can’t seem to see anything other than that sandwich on the menu. I order it every time.  They make it with wheat berry bread; which is so, SO fresh that it sticks to the back of my teeth as soon as I take a bite. It is insanely delicious.

I have wanted to make this sandwich at home, and today was the perfect day to do just that.  I had the ingredients, but changed it up a little, using my mom’s cranberries and leftover stuffing, but added some two-year old Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar, and used fresh Marco Polo bread that I bought from Wegmans.

I wasn’t sure that Katie would be a fan of the horseradish, but I knew that she would enjoy a grilled cheese type of sandwich, so I thought that I’d make her a grilled brie, with cranberries, turkey and clover sprouts, also on the Marco Polo bread.

As it turned out, Katie was willing to try both sandwiches, so I cut each of them in half and we shared them. Katie said that she loved each one separately, and couldn’t say that there was one that she liked better than the other. I have to say that I agree; and guess it depends on what you’re in the mood for. The grilled brie and turkey is definitely more mild, and much lighter, while the grilled cheddar, turkey and stuffing definitely has a sharp bite, and a much heavier texture. I think if both of these sandwiches were on that menu, I’d have a very difficult time choosing.

I’ll make the sandwich for Jessica tomorrow…since she’s still sleeping.. And if you’ve been following my blog, then you know if I offered one of these sandwiches to Michael, he’d look at me as if I had lost my mind. He wouldn’t even consider tasting either sandwich.. Hey, I’m just keeping it real here!

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Grilled Cheddar, Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich
For each sandwich:
2 slices Marco Polo Bread, sliced thick
3 oz turkey breast, or chicken breast, sliced thin
1/3 cup stuffing
¼ cup cooked cranberries
¼ cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp horseradish
About 1 oz or more sharp white cheddar cheese, such as Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar, sliced thick
2 tbsp butter

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Melt one tablespoon of butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Mix the cranberries, mayonnaise and horseradish in a small bowl until well blended. On one slice of the bread, layer the cheddar cheese, turkey, stuffing, and cranberry/mayonnaise mixture. Top with remaining slice of bread, and spread the remaining tablespoon of butter on the top slice of bread.

Place the sandwich in frying pan with the melted butter, and fry until the one side is golden brown.  Flip the sandwich, and fry until the opposite side is golden brown.  If the cheese isn’t melted before the sandwich is fried to golden, remove from heat and place a lid on the pan until the heat melts the cheese.  Serve immediately.

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Grilled Brie, Turkey, and Cranberry Sandwich  
For each sandwich:
2 slices Marco Polo Bread, sliced thick
3 oz turkey breast, or chicken breast, sliced thin
¼ cup cooked cranberries
¼ cup mayonnaise
About 1 oz or more mild brie, sliced thick
½ cup clover sprouts
2 tbsp butter

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Melt one tablespoon of butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Mix the cranberries and mayonnaise in a small bowl until well blended. On one slice of the bread, layer the brie, turkey, cranberry/mayonnaise mixture, and clover sprouts. Top with remaining slice of bread, and spread the remaining tablespoon of butter on the top slice of bread.

Place the sandwich in frying pan with the melted butter, and fry until the one side is golden brown.  Flip the sandwich, and fry until the opposite side is golden brown.  If the cheese isn’t melted before the sandwich is fried to golden, remove from heat and place a lid on the pan until the heat melts the cheese.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Pancakes

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day is relaxing and delicious…

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My daughter Katie and her boyfriend Ryan inspired me to make the recipe that I’m about to share with you…. Cranberry pancakes…. And they gave me their blessing to post about them.

Every year my mom will make a double batch of her cranberry relish a couple of days before Thanksgiving. And then the day before Thanksgiving, she and I will start preparing the stuffing, bake the pies, etc… and we will sneak a spoonful of her cranberry relish here and there while we are cooking. On Thanksgiving, she will put it in a pretty dish for dinner, and then afterward, she will split the cranberry relish for the both of us and put my half in a jar to take home. I love to bring that jar home, it’s readily available for me to just take a spoon and eat right out of the jar when the mood strikes me, which is pretty much all day long!

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But last year…Katie and Ryan came along and announced that they love it too. And then… they took it one step further…

It was a few days after Thanksgiving last year when I received a text from Katie. She and Ryan were making pancakes for breakfast one morning, and they decided to add some cranberry relish to the batter.

Cranberry Pancakes?!
Genius.

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I didn’t get to taste them, but Katie talked about them all year long, and just how delicious they were. I could only imagine, because I love cranberry anything.

And then….

A couple of weeks ago, she informed my mom that she would like to take a jar of the cranberry relish home too, so that they could make the pancakes again.

Ok….What??
I mean, seriously?
You’re treading on my territory, Kathryn.
Yes, you’re my daughter, but I’M supposed to get that jar of cranberry relish….

My mom always comes to the rescue…

My parents made a five gallon bucket (I exaggerate, it was more like four batches..) of the relish to meet the needs of her one and only daughter, and her eldest granddaughter. I do have the recipe, which I’m about to share with you… but you know, nothing tastes as good as your mom’s cooking… and this relish is high up there in the food rankings of one Marcia Bucolo.

For the record…I would have given my jar to Katie without a second thought… but I think you already knew that..

I do believe that this is a common recipe, but this is the one that my mom has been making ever since I can remember, pretty much all of my life…

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The Cranberry Relish
1 – 12 oz package cranberries
1 large orange cut in wedges
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Blend cranberries in food processor till chopped. Add the orange wedges and process till finely chopped. Pour into a bowl and add sugar to your taste.
And then Marcia says: Add nuts and enjoy!

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The Pancakes
This recipe will make about 8 to 10 large pancakes.

When I asked Katie how they made them last year, she told me that they made a basic pancake recipe, and then added a spoonful to the top of the pancakes while they were cooking. I made them with my own pancake recipe for the first time this past Monday night. Of course, my laziness compelled me to stir the cranberry relish into the batter, rather than add it to the pancake while it was cooking. Yeah, it didn’t work. The pancakes were really dense rather than the light and fluffy texture that they usually have.

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So tonight, I tried them again. This time I followed Katie’s advice, and added a spoonful to the raw side of the pancake while they were cooking. They turned out so light and fluffy…absolutely perfect!

If you know me, then you’ll know that I started building on this recipe with a ton of last minute thoughts… While I was cooking the pancakes the other night, I started thinking that it would be really delicious to have cranberry syrup to pour over the pancakes. Better yet, wouldn’t it be really delicious to have cooked cranberries to pour over the pancakes? And…wouldn’t it be really lovely to have some orange butter to melt over the top? While we’re at it, let’s just add a little whipped cream to top it off.

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Honestly? The pancakes are perfect for any holiday breakfast!!

3 cups cake flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup vegetable oil

Vegetable oil for greasing pan

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and vegetable oil just until the ingredients are moistened and blended. If you want really fluffy pancakes, don’t over mix the batter.

Grease the frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil, and heat over medium-low heat. It’s ready when a drop of water dances when splashed onto the pan. For each pancake, add 1/3 cup pancake batter to the pan. Sprinkle two teaspoons of the cranberry relish on the raw top of each pancake while it is cooking. When the top of the pancake begins to bubble, it’s ready to flip. Cook for about another minute and a half. Remove from the frying pan to a dish. Repeat until the batter is gone.

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The Cooked Cranberries
1 – 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Add the cranberries, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until thickened into a jam type consistency, about 20 minutes or so. Remove from heat, and pour into a bowl to cool. Serve this cranberry sauce cool, or while it’s still warm with the pancakes.

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The Orange Butter
¼ cup butter, room temperature
½ tsp orange zest

In a small bowl, mix the butter and orange zest until well blended. Serve with the pancakes.

The Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla

In a small bowl, whisk or with a hand mixer beat the heavy cream until peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla, and mix until blended. Serve a dollop with the pancakes!

Enjoy and Stay Safe this Holiday!!

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