Story and images provided by Karyl Henry, KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com
Every year I pledge to myself that I won’t go overboard between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. And then every January my clothes are just a little bit tighter. Daily treats at the office, holiday parties, bowl games, Thanksgiving, and Christmas meals. You name it, it’s an excuse to eat and drink. On the plus side, I do work off at least some of it at the gym, so I don’t have to completely start from scratch come January 1.
Growing up, we ate leftovers all the time. Sometimes it was just meat, sometimes it was an entire meal, but it was almost always about 3 times a week. When I finally moved out and on my own, I swore off leftovers. I learned to portion my food for just me, and cooked dinner every night. My mom thinks I’m crazy, but that way I don’t get tired of any one thing. Of course I still have some favorite meals, but I only make them a couple of times a month. My Baked Homemade Mac and Cheese is the one dish I could eat as leftovers every single day, and I always make a batch large enough to enjoy for a few days.
Since moving to Oklahoma I normally stay in town, and often spend a quiet Thanksgiving day at home. Whether I stay at home or spend the day with friends, I always end up with leftovers. And Thanksgiving is the one day when leftovers are kind of a requirement. After cooking a huge meal, and having so much extra food, there’s no need to cook for a couple of days. I don’t go overboard when I stay at home, but even with my Roasted Cornish Game Hen (see the November issue of SLM for this recipe) I can enjoy a few extra meals.
What I really like about Thanksgiving leftovers is the versatility. I can come up with several ways to use different leftover ingredients, and create completely new meals. Sandwiches are one of my go-to leftover meals, like Roasted Turkey Cranberry Grilled Cheese.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE PERFECT ROASTED TURKEY CRANBERRY GRILLED CHEESE
- Roasted turkey – I’m a 100% dark meat girl, but there’s never any leftover dark meat turkey by the end of the day. So I use turkey breast, and slice it thin so it doesn’t dry out any more.
- Cranberry sauce.
- Cheese – I use a combination of Brie and Provel.
- Crusty bread – I have used Sourdough and Boule.
- Softened butter.
The Roasted Turkey Cranberry Grilled Cheese comes together quickly, and is so delicious. The softened butter creates a golden brown exterior, and adds crunch to every bite. I discovered Roll Butter from an Amish Market about 6 months ago, and use it all the time. Real butter has so much more flavor than imitation butter, and it’s well worth it. Soft Brie cheese has a very nice mild flavor, and is a thick and rich cheese that melts well. I discovered Provel cheese about 2 years ago, and have never looked back. You can find it in most grocery stores, and I found it at Wal Mart in the gourmet cheese section. I don’t buy it unless I’m using it for a recipe, otherwise I would eat the whole container in record time.
I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of cranberry sauce for the longest time. I’m a big texture eater, and I just didn’t care for the jelly texture of the sauce or the very tart bite. Over time I’ve overcome that, but still don’t eat it much more often than over the holidays. I really like the sauce in this Roasted Turkey Cranberry Grilled Cheese, because the tart bite complements the creamy cheese so well.
MORE OPTIONS FOR ROASTED TURKEY CRANBERRY GRILLED CHEESE
What I love about the Roasted Turkey Cranberry Grilled Cheese is the versatility. Don’t like or have turkey? Use chicken instead! Of course, then the name changes, but that’s not the point. If you can’t find Provel cheese in your local grocery store, no worries…just use Brie. Or, if you want to use another cheese, try Gruyere, Swiss, Provolone, or even Goat cheese. Instead of sourdough or boule, try ciabatta, multigrain, or even an English muffin. Don’t skimp on the butter. Use the real thing, and make sure it’s soft so it doesn’t rip the bread.
Roasted Turkey Cranberry Grilled Cheese will remain high on my list of favorites to enjoy with Thanksgiving leftovers, and even all year long. You can find roasted turkey at the prepared foods counter in grocery stores. You can still find canned cranberry sauce year-round, just not at every turn in the store like during the holidays.
Roasted Turkey Cranberry Grilled Cheese from KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Course: Main Dish
Servings: 1 sandwich
4 slices Sourdough or Boule bread, cut in 1/2″ slices
1 tablespoon butter, softened
4 ounces roasted turkey breast, sliced thin
2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
2 ounces Provel cheese, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 ounces Brie cheese
- Spread butter on one side of all slices of bread. Lightly spray skillet with cooking spray. Add 2 slices of bread, buttered side down, into large skillet.
- Place roasted turkey slices onto bread in skillet. Top with cranberry sauce, then Provel cheese, and then brie.
- Turn heat to medium, and allow bread to toast and turn golden. Once bread turns golden, place top slices of bread on each half sandwich, buttered side up.
- Using spatula, turn sandwiches over, and toast opposite side until golden brown and cheese has melted. Remove from skillet, cut sandwiches in half, and enjoy!