Hello again, Juggling in Heels readers! I’m so happy to be back to share some serious thoughts about a very important topic, something that is probably on all of our minds as we approach my very favorite holiday…
Leftovers are the reason we all buy turkeys that are WAY over the “1-pound-per-person” recommendation.
If I followed that recommendation for our holiday gathering (allowing just a ½ pound for each little mouth under 5 years old), we’d be enjoying a 7 ½ pound turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
Umm…NO. Not happening here.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever bought anything less than an 18-20 pounder…for reasons like this Turkey Root Vegetable Pot Pie.
This pot pie is a spin off of Mama’s Pot Pie, my very first post on Sweet Peas and ABCs, and my daughter’s favorite meal. This one, though, uses those delicious turkey LEFTOVERS and is more seasonally appropriate with all those colorful root veggies. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onion, celery, green beans… that’s straight-up autumn on a platter.
Side note: Never tried parsnip? It looks like a cream-colored carrot and tastes sweet and nutty. They actually get sweeter after frost turns the starches to sugar, so they’re wonderful in winter too. And the carrots? Try purple or yellow ones to add a pop of color!
I think I may even enjoy leftovers more than Thanksgiving dinner itself. Something about cooking all day… even though I LOVE it, I don’t really feel like eating it when we sit down for our holiday meal. But I adore a turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce sandwich later that evening. And the next day? This. Pot. Pie.
No need to step foot in another grocery store, after all the time spent shopping and cooking for Thanksgiving. Here’s the breakdown on the LEFTOVERS you’ll be able to use up for this pot pie:
- Poultry seasoning, parsley and thyme
- Sweet potatoes
- Red or white potatoes
- Celery and onion
- Green Beans
- Chicken or turkey stock
- Pie dough
Set aside a handful of each ingredient as you’re prepping your holiday meal and this next-day pot pie is nearly done.
After a long day of holiday shopping, wouldn’t this be nice to come home to?
Bring on the LEFTOVERS!
Little Hands Can…
- Wash and scrub the root vegetables
- Toss the vegetables with oil and spread them on a baking sheet
- Shred the turkey with forks or clean hands
- Pick herbs, wash them and pull the leaves off
- Roll out pie dough and use cookie cutters to make fun shapes
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 small red or white potatoes
- 2 carrots (we like to use purple or yellow carrots for a different color)
- 2 parsnips
- 1 cup frozen green beans, cut into small 1 inch pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion (1 small onion)
- 3/4 cup chopped celery (3 large stalks)
- 1 cup chicken broth or stock (or turkey stock if you have it)
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups cooked cubed or shredded turkey
- 1 sheet pie dough (homemade or store bought)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash and scrub the root vegetables (sweet potato, potatoes, carrots and parsnips) with a potato scrubber. Peel and chop the vegetables into small 1/2 inch cubes.
- Place the chopped root vegetables and green beans on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the vegetables are tender. Use a paring knife to pierce the vegetables to check that they are soft. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool slightly while you make the sauce.
- In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the onion and celery until soft, but not brown. Stir frequently, about 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small pot, heat the milk and chicken broth together on low heat. You just want to warm them through. (You could also warm them in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes).
- When the onion/celery mixture is soft, add the flour to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the warm broth/milk mixture and cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the parsley, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
- Toss the cooked, cooled vegetables and turkey in the sauce.
- Pour the filling into a greased 9×12 inch baking dish.
- On a cutting board or counter top, roll out your pie dough to about 1/4 inch in thickness, using a sprinkle of flour as needed to prevent sticking. Invite your child to cut out fun shapes using cookie cutters. Lay the dough shapes on top of the filling, overlapping them to completely cover the top.
- Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let the pot pie cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
On the Side
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips are all root vegetables. But what exactly are roots? What do they do? What do they look like? Why are they important? We’re exploring some of these questions by growing our own potato plants!
Roots, by definition, are the part of a plant that attaches to the ground, bringing water and nourishment to the rest of the plant. They are the lifeline of the plant, taking air, water and nutrients from the soil so the plant can grow. Roots also help anchor the plant in the soil, which is important during heavy rain or wind.
Using a potato or sweet potato from your recipe, you can explore how roots grow using just water and sunlight. Make your potato grow into a potato plant…which can then grow more potatoes!
- a potato or sweet potato
- a large glass (preferably clear, so you can see the roots growing)
Insert four toothpicks into your potato, pushing them about ¼ to ½ inch into the potato. Space your toothpicks around the middle of the potato, as if you were positioning them at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock. Assist your child if needed. The toothpicks will rest on top of the glass and allow your potato to be suspended in the water so roots can grow.
Fill your glass about 2/3 of the way up with water. Place your potato into the glass and rest the toothpicks on top. The potato should be suspended in the water and should not touch the bottom of the glass. Place your glass with the potato near a sunny window. Change the water every few days so the potatoes aren’t sitting in cloudy water.
Within a week or so, you should start to see roots growing. We are currently 8 days into our potato plant experiment and are starting to see very small white roots growing out of both our potato and sweet potato. Within 2-3 weeks, stems and leaves should sprout up from the top. After a month or so, you can plant the potato in a small pot with soil and let it continue to grow.
In the spring, we hope to plant our potato plants in our backyard garden…and then, harvest our own potatoes. Maybe we can use those potatoes for next year’s pot pie!
Side note: With Mama’s Pot Pie, we learned about “Eating a Rainbow” and made colorful rainbow drawings to document which colors we were eating. Don’t forget to add the vegetables from this recipe to your rainbow!
For more delicious recipes and learning activities to try with your kids in the kitchen, check out Sweet Peas and ABCs.
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