Leftover Ham and Turkey, Grape Dressing witha Cajun Twist

     Isn't it always the case that there are leftovers after any family gathering? At least, my family just can't seem to get the quantity right. Only so many kids or siblings will take food home with them. Then we must become creative with leftovers.
     The turkey we had yesterday was seasoned with a Cajun spiced butter mixture that was placed under the skin. I really got lazy and cooked it in the crock pot. I did baste it periodically. When it was done, I removed meat from bone, made a gravy of the drippings and put meat in the gravy to keep warm. Drippings had a bit of red wine added, and was thickened with cornstarch. I think I overcooked the turkey a bit, it seemed drier than I would have thought from a crock pot.
     We also had a ham - just a plain old grocery store ha seasoned with brown sugar and pineapple and warmed in a "turkey bag". A gravy was also made from these drippings. If you have never had ham gravy, it is a bit salty - too much so for my taste. Otherwise it would be great with ham flavor.
     Third star of the meal was a sweet potato casserole. Before you say "aghhhhh!", please read the following recipe. This casserole DOES NOT contain marshmallows. It actually tastes like pecan pie. While we use it as a vegetable, it would make a good desert because it tastes so much like pecan pie. Do try it!
                                                Mama's Sweet Potato Bake
3c cold mashed sweet potatoes (prepared without milk or butter - just the potatoes)
1c sugar
1/2c milk
1/4c butter or margerine, softened
3 eggs
1tsp salt
1tsp vanilla

1/2c packed brown sugar
1/2c chopped pecans
1/4c flour
2Tbsp cold butter or margerine

In mixing bowl, beat sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, butter, eggs, salt and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a 2qt
greased baking dish. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle over potato mixture. Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until golden. Knife inserted will come out clean.
Serves 8-10.           Recipe can be doubled and put in a 9x13 pan.    Reheats well in a microwave.
Sorry I have no photos of preparation.

     Following is the dressing recipe I use. It is not for everyone, as it is a bit of a sweet/savory taste not to everyone's liking.
                                               Annie's Dressing

12 slices stale bread - I use plain old white bread, though a good bread like Pepperridge Farms would work.
torn in small pieces

1c celery, chopped fine
2 onions, chopped fine
1/3c butter or margarine, melted and celery and onions sauteed in it. Stir in the following spice mixture:
3/8tsp garlic powder
1/4tsp pepper
1/4tsp basil
1/4tsp thyme
1/4tsp sage
1/2tsp Cajun spice mix
1/4-1/2 tsp salt.
Add to bread pieces and stir well..

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4c red wine
1/2c chopped and toasted walnuts. Add to above and mix well.

Soak 1/4c raisins in 1/4c warmed red wine. Add to mixture.

Add 1/2c grapes cut into pieces.
Stir everything well. Put in 2qt greased casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

To reheat for leftovers, a bit of water or stock may be added.

     Tonight we added a BBQ sauce to some leftover turkey and had sandwiches and chips.
Tomorrow, the leftover corn, peas, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes will go into a Shephard's Pie.
( couldn't be simpler to throw together: Brown as much hamburger as you like, add whatever leftover vegetables there are - without sauces, season liberally with garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper, add 1 can cream of mushroom soup (thus the green bean casserole) and top with leftover mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes.
     The extra ham will go to sandwiches and a Ham and Noodle Casserole:
                       Cook 8oz wide egg noodles and drain.
                       Stir in: 1 medium sauteed onion, 1/2c sour cream, 2c cooked ham (warmed if leftovers), 1/2tsp caraway seeds, pepper and paprika to taste.   The original recipe called for 2eggs to be stirred in and then baked. I like it the way I mentioned, and it is way quicker to prepare.

How do you deal with all the leftovers?