Helena, as a community, consists of people who genuinely and deeply care about each other and about making sure that nobody has to go hungry. That feeling is especially true at Thanksgiving when we can’t bear the idea of someone not being able to sit down to break bread and celebrate with friends and loved ones.
After our huge success last year, our annual Thanksgiving Turkey Challenge will again be a virtual event this season and kicks off on Friday, Nov. 19. Helena always rises above in their support of our annual Turkey Challenge that allows us to fill every kitchen with love and kindness in the form of holiday meals.
We at Helena Food Share are glad to do the work, but it’s you, our friends in and around Helena, that make all of this possible, and we could not be more grateful. Thank you for making not only the holidays possible for our friends in need, but for helping to fill their daily cupboards as well.
In anticipation of the holiday feasting, here are a few ideas for what to do with some of the leftovers this year.
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Wild Rice Sweet Potato Patties
1 ½ cups cooked wild rice
To cook wild rice, bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add ¾ cup wild rice, reduce heat to a high simmer, and cook until the rice is tender and has split open, about 50 minutes.
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 pat butter
½ cup flour
1 large sweet potato, partially baked (350 for 20 minutes) or microwaved for 4 minutes, then grated
1 cup spinach
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup toasted pecans
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Optional: 1 cup cooked turkey, diced small. If you add the turkey, also add a ½ tsp ground sage.
In a sauté pan, cook the mushrooms in the butter over medium-high heat until they just start to get golden, about 5 minutes. Add the green onions and the spinach and cook for 2 more minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, combine the sweet potato, wild rice, mushrooms, green onions, spinach, cranberries, pecans, and seasonings, tossing well to incorporate everything. Add the flour and toss well. Break the eggs into the middle and scramble them with a fork and then mix everything together well. You can add a little more flour if you feel that it needs more for better binding; it kind of depends on the moistness of your ingredients. Your patties will be loose but should hold together when cooking.
Heat a small amount (3 tablespoons or so) of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and drop loosely formed patties (about ½ cup per patty) and shape them with a fork if necessary. Cook for about 4 minutes and then flip them over. Continue to cook for another 4 minutes or so, flip them again and cook for a final minute before removing them to a plate lined with paper towel.
Nice to serve them with cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, or applesauce.
Turkey Wild Rice Soup
This is a quick, easy soup to make using leftover ingredients from Thanksgiving such as cooked turkey, wild rice, and canned beans.
3 cups cooked turkey
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
Pat of butter
6 cloves garlic, peeled. I like to leave the cloves whole, but you can slice them if you prefer.
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
6 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
1 ½ cups cooked wild rice
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup small white beans; I used canned ready-to-use beans
2 cups fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
In a heavy soup pot over medium high heat, sauté the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and parsnips for about 7 minutes until they are just barely tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the broth, the garlic, bay and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a medium-high simmer for 15 minutes. Add the turkey, wild rice, and beans, and cook for another 15 minutes. Add the spinach and cook another 5 – 10 minutes. Adjust your seasoning, remove the bay leaf, and serve.
Leftover Turkey & Coleslaw Sandwich
A nice alternative to the always popular hot turkey-with-gravy sandwich.
Sliced leftover turkey
To make cranberry sauce: In a saucepan, bring 12 oz fresh cranberries, juice and zest from 1 orange plus enough water to equal 1 cup of liquid, and 1 cup of sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat to a high simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until all of your cranberries have popped and your sauce has started to thicken, about ten minutes. Remove from heat and pour into your serving dish. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
To make coleslaw (a staple on my family’s Thanksgiving table): shred ½ a head of green cabbage, grate a carrot, small dice a half of a green pepper, thinly slice 3 scallions. Dressing: ¼ cup mayonnaise, juice of 1 lemon, ½ tsp dill, salt & pepper to taste, mixed well. Toss everything with the dressing.
Bread of your choice. I like lightly toasted sourdough.
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pile your ingredients on your bread and enjoy!
Fresh Cranberry Relish
12 servings or so
12 oz cranberries
Juice and zest from 1 orange
¼ cup honey
½ cup sugar
1 apple, grated. Peeled if you prefer.
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced very small
½ cup chopped parsley
Pinch of salt
Pulse your cranberries in a food processor until they are chopped small but not mush. In a bowl, combine the orange juice, honey, sugar, salt and pepper. Add the chopped cranberries, apple, and parsley, and toss to combine. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend well.
Our mission at Helena Food Share: Serving our neighbors in need by providing food in a respectful and dignified way and by working with others to eliminate hunger in the greater Helena area.
To sign up to get a holiday meal grocery box, if you are in need of food and would like more information, or if you would like to make a donation, contact Helena Food Share at 406-443-3663, or visit our website at www.helenafoodshare.org Donations are currently being generously matched by Town Pump.
Sally Beck works at Helena Food Share, where she regularly demonstrates new recipes on the Charlie Cart mobile kitchen. She is a food enthusiast, professional baker and has owned her own restaurant.