Boxing Day

I have titled this entry not to call your attention to the boxes containing presents to be returned, or the boxes full of old newspaper snippets waiting to re-enclose ornaments and decorations for next year, but to the kind that hold leftovers safe in the fridge until you have room in your belly enough to think about eating again.

N.’s family does a big Christmas dinner, and I mean big: think Thanksgiving.  There’s a turkey, there’s stuffing, Christmas would be ruined without mashed potatoes, and there’s N.’s dad’s specialty: an ambrosia fruit salad complete with miniature marshmallows.

So on December 26th, while we listen to new music and test out our new toys and break in our new clothes, there are also new dishes to be considered.  After all, you can only re-eat Christmas dinner so many times in its original form before you long for a pizza.  On my work-off-Mom-in-law’s-chocolate-fudge walk this morning, through the deer-infested, hill dotted neighborhood in the Sierra Nevada foothills with the smell of fire and pine in my nose, I thought of a few tasty ways of working through the leftovers that I wanted to share.

For breakfast, or mid-morning, or mid-afternoon snack: toast a piece of whole-grain bread, with lots of nuts and seeds sprinkled along the top.  Spread it thick with cream cheese, then drape some whole berry cranberry sauce atop that.  Fold the bread over, or approach it open-face, and rejoice in the creamy rich sweet tart flavor.

As a dinner time side dish, take your leftover mashed potatoes and sprinkle with a hefty helping of black pepper and garlic powder.  Spread out on a plate or in an oven-safe dish, then cascade on a blizzard of parmesan or extra sharp cheddar cheese.  Microwave or bake in the oven until the potatoes are burbling hot and the cheese has melted into a gushy thick layer of melted awesome.  Eat.

For the turkey, there are a billion recipes out there.  This Turkey Pot Pie might be my favorite.  It’s rich, it’s homey and comforting, and as an extra bonus, it can take care of your leftover gravy too!

Hope your holiday was joyful and delicious.

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