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 I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and will find joy and excitement in the days leading to Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. 

This busy season is such a special time to celebrate families and good friends.

Food is part of that celebrating  --- whether you’re still trying find ways to turn Thanksgiving leftovers into new dishes or looking for ideas for the Christmas meal, parties or gifts.

This blog will be featuring day after day of holiday cookie recipes starting Dec. 4 in a Countdown to Christmas, so watch for many different types of goodies. I’ll also share ideas for other holiday foods throughout December.

Readers are welcome to send in their own favorite holiday cookie or other recipes by adding a comment to this blog. You can also request a recipe, and I’ll try to comply with a post on this blog.

Coming Wednesday, Dec. 3, you also can find recipes for Christmas and even New Year’s celebrations in the monthly Relish magazine inserted into print copies of The Billings Gazette.

The Dec. 3 issue of Relish includes stories and recipes for making Ham Gruyere and Dijon Palmiers from frozen puff pastry; Chip and Dip Cookies and German Drop Cookies; a simple Italian dinner featuring roast pork; Banana Chocolate Chip Soufflé; Tangerine Granita; and more.

Meanwhile, to help with those leftovers taking up space in your refrigerator or for use later with the extra turkey that you have frozen, here are two ideas from The Associated Press:

 Fried rice uses up holiday leftovers Associated Press 

Be sure to use cold, cooked rice when making fried rice.

Otherwise, the grains will be too sticky and will clump. This recipe from Cooking Light magazine calls for white rice, but brown would be a healthy substitute.

 TURKEY FRIED RICE Start to finish: 25 minutes 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce2 tablespoons turkey stock or chicken broth1 teaspoon rice vinegar2 teaspoon dark sesame oil1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper5 teaspoons canola oil2 cups shredded green cabbage1 cup sliced scallions1-1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger5 cups cooked long-grain white rice, chilled4 cups chopped cooked turkey (light and dark meat)2 cups leftover green peas or frozen peas, thawed1 cup leftover carrots or frozen carrots, thawed1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro 

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, turkey stock, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic sauce, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the canola oil. Add the cabbage, scallions and ginger, then sauté for 3 minutes, or until tender.

Add the rice, turkey, peas, and carrots, then sauté for another 3 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Stir in soy sauce mixture and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Makes 6 servings.

 Give Thanksgiving leftovers new life at breakfast By J.M. HIRSCHAssociated Press 

If yet another round of soups, sandwiches and casseroles cobbled out of Thanksgiving leftovers leaves you uninspired, try these popover-style breakfast treats studded with chopped turkey and stuffing.


The combination of eggs, stuffing (think toast) and turkey works wonderfully together. They would be delicious served with maple syrup.

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 LEFTOVER TURKEY POPOVERS Start to finish: 25 minutes 1 cup heavy cream3 eggs1 teaspoon thyme1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper1/2 cup all-purpose flour1 cup chopped cooked turkey1/2 cup stuffing1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese 

Heat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coat a 6-cup muffin tin with baking spray.


In a blender, whip the heavy cream until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs, thyme, salt and pepper, then blend again until smooth. With the blender running on low, sprinkle in the flour and blend until smooth.


Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Divide the chicken between each cup, dropping it into the egg mixture. Top each serving with a spoonful of the stuffing, then sprinkle it with cheese.


Bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed and lightly browned. Cool briefly.


Makes 6 servings.