Even with having lots of friends and family join us for Thanksgiving, I can almost always guarantee that we will have loads of leftovers. Granted, I almost always freeze at least a full turkey breast, and any other miscellaneous leftovers that freeze well. There are things though, which don’t freeze well and need to be used up. This year, my new concoction is what I call Thanksgiving Empanadas. One of the kids (Thomas’s girlfriend Sarah’s roommate, Tess – follow that?) came up with the name of “Heather’s Little Pockets of Heaven”. Whatever you want to call them, they’re easy and surprisingly VERY tasty. You can put almost any kind of Thanksgiving leftover into your filling mixture, we’ve tried a few variations and have yet to be disappointed. Here’s what we did this year:
2 c. leftover turkey, diced
1 c. leftover stuffing, slightly warmed
1 c. shredded potatoes, cooked (this wasn’t a leftover, but mashed potatoes didn’t sound right for this)
1 c. leftover green bean casserole
1 c. leftover cheese, grated (whatever is in your fridge will work)
2 boxes of pie crusts (the kind that are already made, you just unroll them and put into your pie pan)
Salt, pepper, etc to taste
Preheat your oven to 350. Place a piece of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet (this will aid in clean up later).
Mix the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, and cheese together in a bowl.
Roll out your pie crusts and cut out 2-3” circles with a biscuit cutter, or cookie cutter. (You should be able to get 9-10 circles out of each pastry crust.) Use some flour if your cutter is sticking to the dough. The filling makes quite a bit, so generally I’ll stop after making 40 or so. If I’m feeling particularly frugal, I roll out the pastry scraps and cut out more circles rather than throwing them away.
Put about 1 tablespoon of the leftover filling into the center of a pie crust circle. Using a pastry brush (or your fingers if you don’t mind getting messy), brush a bit of egg around the bottom half of the circle and fold the pastry circle in half. Using a fork, crimp the edges of your pastry crust pocket to seal. Place onto your cookie sheet. .
Once the cookie sheet is full, brush each of your empanadas with a bit of egg (this will make them shiny and golden brown when they’re done). Put the cookie sheet into the oven and bake until the empanadas are golden brown. Don’t forget, since these are all leftovers, everything is already cooked. You’re just warming everything up and cooking the crust!
Because there is quite a lot of filling, I froze what was left in 2 cup portions to use for another day’s meals. I know the kids really loved these, and so having the filling on hand will be great when they’re over studying for finals, or when my grocery budget is shot and they’re over to hang out.