Grandma’s Make Ahead Potatoes + Best Darn Turkey Gravy Ever

Holidays are full of traditions. That is what makes them so wonderful. In my family Grandma’s mashed potatoes are part of the tradition. When I was little I called them potato cake since she would bake them up in a large disposable aluminum pan. If you don’t have any family favorite mashed potatoes I beg you to make these.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

When I asked my family what I should included on the Thanksgiving menu the number one answer was “Grandma’s potatoes”. Well of course! They are full of cream cheese, sour cream, and butter. My cream cheese hating daughter LOVES these potatoes. Which makes me giggle when she goes back for seconds.

These can be boiled, mashed, and prepared a couple days in advanced. Freeze them or refrigerate until ready to bake. I am planning on baking mine on Wednesday then reheating in the crock pot on Thursday.

Gluten Free Turkey Gravy

Good gravy! Mashed potatoes are not complete without gravy. This is a gravy that uses up all the tasty turkey drippings and basting sauce. Bonus is that it is gluten free. Double bonus is it is the BEST gravy I have ever tasted. I think using wine when cooking the turkey really helped add a depth of flavor to the drippings that wouldn’t be there otherwise.

To keep this gravy gluten free I made a slurry out of stock and cornstarch to thicken the gravy instead of the traditional flour roux. And to be 100% honest I am a busy mom of four and I did not have the time (or take the time) to pour the drippings into a separate container and wait for the fat to separate. The pan drippings went straight into my large measuring cup and stock was added until it yielded 8 cups total. No muss …and there certainly wasn’t any fuss from my Friendsgiving crowd.


So pour the best darn gravy ever over my favorite mashed potatoes and have yourself a Happy Thanksgiving!

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

5 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons salt
1 -8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened

1. Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, add salt. Boil over medium0high heat until potatoes are fork tender about 20 minutes.
2. Drain the water from the potatoes. Add potatoes back to hot pot. Mash. Stir in cream cheese, sour cream, and butter until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Place in a greased 9×13 casserole dish. Cover with foil. Refrigerate until ready.

To bake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Uncover potatoes, drizzle 2 tablespoons butter on top and sprinkle with paprika, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
3. Remove foil and continue to bake for 20 minutes. Serve as is or with gravy.

Best Darn Gluten Free Turkey Gravy Ever!

pan drippings
turkey stock
1/2 cup cornstarch


1. Empty pan dripping into a large measuring cup.
2. Add enough stock to the measuring cup to equal 8 cups total
3. Place roasting pan on two burners over medium-low heat. Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup of stock.
4. Slowly whisk in remaining drippings + stock into roasting pan heat until hot
5. Combine 1 cup of stock with 1/2 cup of cornstarch whisk until dissolved. Pour into roasting pan.
6. Bring gravy to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened. Season with salt and pepper

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Chicken (Turkey) Parmesan Casserole

Have you noticed a theme around here lately? I have become a little obsessed with using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Thinking outside of the (bread) box has been my goal when developing these recipes. Poultry pairs so well with pasta and my family never complains when I serve pasta.

Chicken (Turkey) Parmesan Casserole

The title of this recipe is slightly misleading since I used turkey here but I figured most people would recognize Chicken Parmesan more so than Turkey Parmesan. This way you can easily swap turkey for the chicken and vise versa.

Chicken (Turkey) Parmesan Casserole

This is another one of those quick dinners since the turkey is already cooked. If you don’t have any extra turkey on hand you could poach a couple chicken breasts or use the meat from a rotisserie chicken. You can get this dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Yay!

Chicken (Turkey) Parmesan Casserole

Chicken Parmesan is traditionally breaded and fried but since we are using sliced or shredded turkey (or chicken) it makes it difficult to bread and fry. So in order to get that breaded flavor I sprinkled a little Italian bread crumbs combined with Parmesan cheese over top the shredded turkey. It worked! The flavor was there without the pesky frying. Yay!

Chicken (Turkey) Parmesan Casserole

SERVES: 8 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 pound spaghetti, broken in half
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
2 cups shredded chicken or turkey
1 -24 ounce jar spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a 9 x13 casserole dish, set aside
2. Boil spaghetti according to package directions, drain
3. Pour spaghetti into the casserole dish, dot cottage cheese on top
4. Pour spaghetti sauce over the noodles and slightly stir to wiggle the sauce down into the spaghetti
5. Spread 2 cups shredded turkey or chicken over the spaghetti
6. Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan, sprinkle evenly over shredded turkey or chicken
7. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the casserole and bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly

Chicken or Turkey Parmesan Casserole


Posted in Holidays, Main Dishes, Pasta | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Turkey (or Chicken), Bacon, and Vegetable Stuffed Shells

Turkey leftovers. It always seems to happen. A cold turkey sandwich is good once but after that they seem hard to choke down. Maybe that’s just me. If you are like me though I have come up with some tasty ways to use up that leftover turkey that are far better than a turkey sandwich.

Turkey Stuffed Alfredo Shells

Ooey, gooey, cheesey, bacony, alfredoy, vegetabley goodness stuffed into jumbo shells will have you looking forward to leftover turkey. My family inhaled these stuffed shells.

Turkey (or Chicken), Bacon, and Vegetable Stuffed Shells. Covered in a lower calorie Alfredo sauce.

Now you would think cheese, bacon, and alfredo would make this dish a bajillion calories per serving but you’d be wrong. That’s right folks! You can use up leftover turkey (or chicken) AND still have calories leftover for the day to have a small slice of pie. You’re welcome. I lightened up with alfredo sauce by using stock and fat free evaporated milk. You still have that stick to your ribs creamy alfredo flavor without all those pesky calories. Yay!

Turkey (or Chicken) Alfredo Shells

1/2 box jumbo shells, cooked according to package instructions
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup turkey stock or chicken stock
1-15 ounce can fat free evaporated milk
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup asparagus, chopped into bite size pieces
1 sweet red bell pepper, diced (can use yellow or orange)
1 cup cooked turkey or chicken, shredded
4 slices precooked bacon, chopped
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease 9×13 casserole dish, set aside
2. Cook shells according to package instructions. Lift shells out with a slotted spoon or strainer. Rinse cooked shells in cool water to stop the cooking process
3. Add in broccoli, asparagus, and peppers to the boiling pasta water and cook for 3-5 minutes to soften veggies R
4. In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil and garlic sauté for about 1 minute, stirring often, making sure not to burn the garlic
5. Sprinkle flour over the garlic and cook another minute
6. Slowly pour in the stock and whisk until smooth. Whisk in evaporated milk and bring up to a simmer, stirring as it thickens
7. Stir in Parmesan cheese until melted and season with salt and pepper
8. Combine cooked vegetables with the shredded turkey and sliced bacon
9. Stuff each shell with a spoon full of the vegetable/turkey/bacon mixture
10. Once all shells are stuffed pour the Alfredo sauce over all the shells
11. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted

Turkey, Bacon, and Vegetable Stuff Shells

Another tasty way to use up leftover turkey:

Turkey or Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Turkey Wild Rice Soup


Posted in Holidays, Main Dishes, Pasta | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Turkey Wild Rice Soup

Next week is the big day. It is opening night for home cooks. You have been crafting and honing your skills all year and next Thursday you will take the stage for the big monologue you have been rehearsing so long for. I am excited! How about you? Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner? If so I hope you break a (turkey) leg!

Turkey or Chicken Wild Rice Soup

After the big dinner there are sure to be leftovers. You can only eat so many turkey sandwiches, am I right? This soup will transform your leftovers into something better than a sad cold turkey sandwich.

While this does take nearly an hour to make, the cooking time involved isn’t active cooking time. It is time were you can crack open a bottle of wine and play a mean game of Scrabble with your guests still in town. Or scarf down that last slice of pumpkin pie straight from the pie plate. No judgement from me.

Leftover turkey and any leftover carrots and celery from the relish tray will all be used up in this soup. Warm up any leftover dinner rolls or biscuits and have yourself a tasty little dinner. Enjoy your leftovers!

Turkey or Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 50 minutes
2 cups cooked and shredded turkey or chicken
1 cup wild rice, rinsed
3 cups water, divided
1/2 cup basmati rice, rinsed
6-8 cups turkey or chicken stock (directions to make your own)
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt or season to taste

For the wild rice
1. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium sauce pan, add rice. Return to boil, cover, turn down to low-medium-low, simmer for 45 minutes or cook according to package instructions.
2. Drain the rice and add to the soup.
For the basmati rice
1. When the wild rice has 15 minutes cooking time left add 1 cup of water to medium sauce pan. Bring to boil. Add rinsed rice, cover, and turn down to low. Cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork before adding to the soup.
For the soup
1. After starting the basmati rice, bring 6 cups of stock to boil in a large soup pot. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Boil for 10 minutes to soften the vegetables
2. Turn down to low. Stir in shredded turkey or chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the meat through. Stir in rices before serving.

Turkey or Chicken Wild Rice Soup

TELL ME! What is your favorite way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers? 

Another way to use up leftover turkey

Turkey, Bacon, and Vegetable Stuff Shells

Turkey, Bacon, and Vegetable Stuffed Alfredo Shells

Posted in Gluten Free, Holidays, Soups | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments
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