Thanksgiving and Every Day...

Article Published: Nov. 25, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday, because it's so simple: A time when family and friends get together, enjoy abundance, and are thankful for blessings in life. It's easy to be thankful on the designated day. But I've noticed that if I don't remind myself on a daily basis, I lose that feeling of gratefulness.

Maybe that's an aspect of living in such a pessimistic society, as portrayed in popular media. I expect politicians to insult one another and be unable to work together to benefit the people. Mainstream reporting includes a daily dose of murders and other violent crimes, environmental catastrophes, world hunger and terrorist threats. It's all so depressing.

Instead of focusing on the negative stories in the world, I attempt to think about the little things in my daily life that bring happiness. Being able to say what I am thankful for every evening before dinner helps me feel good about life. It's usually something simple, like my husband washing the laundry or a warm sunny day. Sharing "thankfuls" as a family seems to help keep spirits high, as we appreciate everyday blessings.

Thanksgiving really should be an everyday event, minus the turkey.

Here are a couple of recipes that will make you thankful for that leftover turkey.

Turkey Pie Topped with Cheddar Biscuit
May also use chicken, if you can't wait until next holiday season
Serves 8

Ingredients for Filling:
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose (may use whole wheat) flour
4 cups roasted turkey or chicken meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
44 ounces turkey or chicken stock, or 3 cans low sodium chicken broth

In a large pan with a lid, such as a Dutch oven, place 3 tablespoons butter over medium low heat. Once melted, add 1 medium chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add 3 medium coarsely chopped carrots, 1/2 butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes, 3 small potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and stir. Cook 3 minutes, then add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Stir flour thoroughly into vegetable mixture. Add 44 ounces of stock and continue to stir, turning heat to medium high. Stir continuously until stock thickens. Add 4 cups roasted turkey and mix well.
Place mixture into 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

Ingredients for Cheddar Biscuit:

2 cups all-purpose (may use whole wheat) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1/4 cup grated parmesan
3/4 stick cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cup skim or 1% milk (any fat milk will do)

In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add 1 cup grated cheddar and 1/4 cup grated parmesan and toss to coat. Cut butter into mixture using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, until mixture resembles a course meal. Add 11/4 cup milk and stir until dough forms. Drop biscuit dough into filling in 8 large mounds, leaving spaces between biscuits.
Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown.

Pasta with Roasted Turkey and Broccoli
Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 cup coarsely chopped broccoli or fresh spinach
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can or 14 ounces chicken broth
3 tablespoons black olives
1 1/2 - 2 cups roasted turkey
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
16 ounce package whole wheat noodles of choice or spaghetti, cooked

Place a large skillet over medium low heat. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup coarsely chopped broccoli or fresh spinach and stir. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Add 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and stir. Add 1 can or 14 ounces chicken broth and turn heat to high, stirring constantly until thickened. Add 3 tablespoons black olives and 1 1/2 - 2 cups roasted turkey, cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Stir in 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and stir until smooth.
Serve over cooked noodles or spaghetti.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups and is the local food coordinator for Watauga County. To contact Margie, e-mail or call (828)264-3061

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