Got leftovers?

November 26, 2013

By Maria Nelson

Serve up a strata the morning after a holiday feast

By Maria Nelson Thanksgiving Day leftovers make for the perfect ingredients to put into a morning after holiday strata.

By Maria Nelson
Thanksgiving Day leftovers make for the perfect ingredients to put into a morning after holiday strata.


One of the most wonderful by-products of the Thanksgiving meal, in my mind, is the abundance of leftover turkey.

If you haven’t completely exhausted yourself in the kitchen on the day of, there are a plethora of recipes to be found online and in magazines that will help you turn the humble bird into another spectacular meal.

My favorite recipes usually involve slow-cooked soups and stews, jazzed up tacos with squash, and creamy cheeses or crusty Panini sandwiches slathered in garlic aioli, roasted vegetables and avocados.

For the really committed, there is nothing quite like making homemade stock from leftover bones. While to most it might seem like more work than it’s worth, making stock is one of the simplest and most rewarding things you can do in the kitchen.

If the thought of making stock is just too much, simply package up the bones and stash them in the freezer for use at a more convenient time.

Without fail, one of our family favorite turkey recipes is this breakfast strata — a great make ahead meal to serve to out-of-town guests or a large brunch crowd. It can be prepared the night before and baked in the morning. It’s an eggy, flavorful and simple perfect leftover food.


Holiday Strata

Serves 6

  • 1 pound pre-cooked, shredded turkey meat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 large leeks, sliced half-inch thick (can use 1 onion if desired)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • ½ pound baby kale or Swiss chard, sliced
  • 1, 1 pound loaf Brioche or Challah bread, torn
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 7 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • ¼ cup pine nuts

Place the torn bread pieces in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and add the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic, sauté until soft and just turning golden. Add to the bread, and then return the pan to the heat. Sauté the red peppers just until they begin to soften, and then add to the bread mixture.

Place the kale in the pan with 1 tablespoon water and cover. Let cook and wilt for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the mixture.

Combine the milk, cream and eggs in a separate container. Season the bread mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the liquid over the bread mixture and stir gently to incorporate. Pour the mixture into a 9×13-inch casserole dish and cover with foil. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the strata on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cheese and pine nuts, and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.


Maria Nelson is a blogger and food photographer living in Issaquah. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Relish Magazine, Buzz Feed, Daily Candy and other online publications. Find her at



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