A year ago, I prepared a last minute Thanksgiving feast for my husband, kids and myself. In the end, it was a lot of food for just four people and sure enough, we had a lot of leftovers. While I was grateful for God’s bounty, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down at the thought of eating the same thing for the next four days.
But letting even a morsel go to waste wasn’t an option, so I improvised that year and lovingly turned those mundane extras into something better.
There is beauty and joy in such things. Turning an inferior “has-been” into a shining star is somehow so fulfilling and therapeutic. Like the restoration of a rusty classic car or the renovation of a once-stately building, our human nature relishes the return of a forgotten and unremarkable outcast.
And so does our Lord. For without his redemption, our souls would be corrupt and unworthy — even worse than four-day old turkey. But with Christ’s saving grace and redemption our souls can be made new and perfect and desirable again.
So while Thanksgiving is a great time to pause and express our gratitude for what we have, I find that by creatively reworking the leftovers on the days that follow Thanksgiving, we participate in a great metaphor for redemption. And that is what we should all be most thankful for!
So when that surplus of turkey has run its course, introduce a few additional ingredients, and you’ll realize that even the most unexciting leftovers can be redeemed.
(makes 2 large wraps)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups leftover turkey, shredded
¼ cup leftover cranberry sauce
½ cup diced apples
¼ cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
2 slices of Swiss cheese
Large bunch of dark greens or spinach
Large whole wheat or white sandwich wraps
In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and extra virgin olive oil. Set salad dressing aside. In a larger mixing bowl, combine turkey, diced apples and walnuts. Add the dressing, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
Spread 1-2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce in center of wrap followed by a slice of Swiss cheese. Scoop half of the salad mixture over the cranberry sauce and then top off with a small handful of greens. Fold each end toward the center (over the ingredients) and then roll tightly to form the sandwich wrap.
Tired of heating up stuffing in a microwave? Substitute leftover stuffing for the filling in any stuffed mushroom recipe. Top off with Parmesan cheese before baking.
Got mashed potatoes? Use them on a shepherd’s pie. For the recipe, read a previous column, Remembering a Shepherd.