You'll probably think I'm totally crazy. I mean, who in their right mind cooks two Thanksgiving dinners in the same year...and one of them is at the end of May?
For quite a few years now, I've cooked Thanksgiving dinner at my home on the "off" year when we aren't at hubby's family reunion with 100+ other family members. (We rotate every other year.) It's a lot of work, but I enjoy it. People who come over are kind enough to help out by bringing a side dish or dessert, and it all works out well. (We don't have 100+ people in our home; we usually have 15 guests or so who are invited. I would be crazy to have 100+ people in our home!)
I try to find frugal ways of buying poultry, and one of those ways is to purchase 2-3 whole frozen turkeys around Thanksgiving when they are much cheaper than normal. Sometimes, I forget those turkeys are in the freezer until April or May.
Hmm...I wonder how I could forget a turkey in my freezer when they take up so much room? Duh.
But sometimes I do forget that they're in there, waiting to be shared with others.
Last weekend, I found out that my aunt was coming up to our town to visit her 97-year-old mother (my grandma!), my parents, and my family. It had been a l-o-n-g time since we'd been able to see her, so I decided that this was a great opportunity to have a "Thanksgiving-like" dinner with her while she was here.
I didn't want to wait too much longer in the year, because who wants to cook a turkey in 85+ degree weather? NOT me!
So here's what we enjoyed last weekend:
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy!
Orange, Apple, Pecan Lettuce Salad
Pumpkin Pie and fresh whipped cream!
...all homemade (except for the stuffing). Hubby really likes a certain brand of stuffing that takes 5 minutes to prepare. I accommodate him with this request a few times each year.
Since I always cook turkeys that are around 20 lbs., I usually have lots of leftover turkey. We enjoy leftover turkey for a day or two, but then we tend to tire of it. My mom thought of a delicious way to use up leftover turkey and gravy a few years ago, and we've been doing this ever since!
You may also use chicken in this recipe,
should you not have leftover turkey or gravy available!
Ingredients for leftovers from one whole, large turkey:
1. Combine sour cream, salsa, mayonnaise, leftover gravy, and 1 lb. shredded cheese in a very large bowl. If this mixture is too firm (you want it to be the consistency of slightly thick pudding that is still barely pourable), go ahead and add additional salsa or sour cream. My sauce ended up to be light pink/tan in color, although yours may be different depending on the ingredients and amounts you choose to use.
2. Spray baking pans or foil pans with nonstick coconut oil spray or the oil of your choice. I used six 8x8" square pans and one 9x13" baking pan.
3. Put a dollop of gravy/salsa sauce in the bottom of each pan. Spread it around so a thin layer of sauce remains as a coating at the bottom of each pan.
4. Fill tortillas with approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped turkey (or chicken or other meat). Add another dollop of gravy/salsa sauce on top of the meat. Roll them and place them with the rolled edge facing down so they won't come unrolled as you continue to work.
I can comfortably place four enchiladas in each 8x8" baking pan, and seven enchiladas in my larger 9x13" baking pan.
5. After the enchiladas are completely rolled and placed into pans, now use the remaining sauce to evenly cover the top surfaces of each pan of rolled enchiladas.
6. Sprinkle tops of enchiladas with the second lb. of shredded cheese.
Now...time to freeze these made-ahead dinners!
I wrap each pan in foil, and I write on the top with a black permanent marker the name of what's inside plus today's date.
Next, I wrap each pan in two layers of GLAD plastic wrap.
Finally, I wrap each pan in a plastic grocery store-type of shopping bag and twist the end shut, closing it with a twist tie.
...and into the freezer they go (except for one pan that we leave out to bake for our dinner the next evening!
To cook the enchiladas, here's what you will want to do:
If your enchiladas are not frozen, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until cheeses are melted and insides are hot and bubbly.
If your enchiladas are frozen, remove wrappings. You may thaw these in the refrigerator and follow the baking directions above, or you may preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake your frozen enchiladas, uncovered, for at least one hour, until cheeses are melted and the enchiladas are hot and bubbly.
Whenever we serve these fabulous enchiladas, everyone raves about how delicious they are! Sure, it does take some time to cut up or shred the cooked turkey or chicken, especially for seven pans of enchiladas, but after about 90 minutes of working on the enchiladas, including getting everything out, mixing the sauce, cutting up the turkey, making the enchiladas, and preparing the pans for freezing, that's not too bad, especially since I now have 7 meals I can pull out of the freezer whenever I've had a tiring day and need an easy dinner that will reheat in the oven! That's under 13 minutes per dinner of preparation time, and keep in mind that my "clean up" time will be minimal with these frozen dinners I've just made.
I know that it's a long time until Thanksgiving, but this recipe is so delicious (and would be really fun to assemble as a family, together!) that I recommend you copy and save it to your computer for future use if it appeals to you. Because, if you're anything like my crazy family, you'll tire of that delicious turkey within a day or two and will be wanting some unique yet delicious recipe to use with all those leftovers!
Hi! I'm Julieanne!