Turkey Shepherd's Pie can use the leftover bird, along with plain, roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes or squash. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Bob Pennell

Recipe Box to the rescue

Anyone reading a food column the day before Thanksgiving better be looking for ways to enliven turkey leftovers — or simply be short one quick, easy side dish. For the sake of my fellow home cooks' sanity, I hope it's the former.

Help on both fronts, however, is just a few clicks away on the Mail Tribune website.

Our online Recipe Box, available at, is fast approaching 3,500 entries, most of them dishes vetted by newspaper test kitchens across the country and numerous other culinary professionals. Some were submitted by local chefs and cooking instructors. The majority come right out of the pages of Mail Tribune publications, including the weekly A la Carte section, Oregon Healthy Living magazine and this one.

Recipes that appear with this column, such as the one for Turkey Shepherd's Pie on the left, also appear in the Recipe Box. The vast majority highlight a piece of peak-season produce in keeping with this column's theme of eating with the seasons. That means choosing food that's fresh, often locally grown and certainly never transported from the Southern Hemisphere.

If you're unfamiliar with the column, which previously ran in HomeLife magazine, you can find archives of past months at

In nearly two years of publication, Season to Taste has provided an in-depth look at winter squash, root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, beets, greens, pears, peaches, figs, cherries, strawberries, rhubarb, peas, asparagus, avocados, zucchini, tomatoes, cauliflower, even cilantro — all in their respective seasons.

Cranberries appropriately are the topic of HomeLife's November issue, its last. Readers who didn't already clip the recipe for Cranberry-Pear Fruit Jellies can find it in the Recipe Box, as well as 85 other recipes with "cranberry" in the title. Consider shaking up the typical holiday sauce with some dried fruit, according to the recipe for Cranberry-Apricot Sauce.

Or move outside the average culinarian's comfort zone with Crab-Leg Saute in Cranberry-Orange Beurre Blanc. It's guaranteed to deliver that "wow" factor because chef Bill King, of McCormick and Schmick's in Portland, earned the title of Oregon Seafood Chef of the Year in 1988 with this recipe submitted by the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. The state's iconic shellfish is soon to hit markets by the boatload.

We want you to submit tried-and-true, family-favorite recipes, too. That's what Eagle Point resident Denise Marshall did several years ago at the newspaper's request for elegant Thanksgiving leftovers. Her Turkey Crepes Mornay has become one of my traditions in the days immediately following Thanksgiving.

There's virtually no better introduction to savory crepes, and if you've never made these delightfully thin pancakes, there's no better occasion. Although refined, they're not at all difficult, requiring just a deft flick of the wrist and no special equipment beyond a reliable, lightweight, nonstick pan.

If that isn't enough inspiration for transforming turkey, try Festive Turkey Molé, Turkey Shepherd's Pie and Leftover Turkey-and-Stuffing Meatball Soup, all submitted by Mary Shaw, culinary educator for Ashland Food Co-op. Because Shaw offers "Meal Solutions" to Co-op customers, I tapped her expertise last year and ran those recipes in A la Carte under the headline "Low-Stress Leftovers." Just type "turkey" in the title field of the search engine at

And if you have creative, mealtime solutions, by all means share.

Mail Tribune Food Editor Sarah Lemon can be reached at 541-776-4487 or email For more tips, recipes and local food news, read her blog at

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