I always thought the strategy stopped once I served Thanksgiving dinner, but I actually think it’s just as challenging figuring out how to work efficiently with all the leftovers. I really detest throwing away food, so I try to give away care packages to my guests before they leave on Thanksgiving lest I end up with more stuffing than we can consume in two days. But instead of searching the internet for creative ways to use up our turkey and vegetables, my 14-year-old daughter had the answer all along — invite a bunch of teenagers over for dinner. Brilliant! Ten of her friends came over the day after Thanksgiving for a “pot luck.” Each kid was supposed to bring a dish for everyone to share, but I think only one boy brought a tupperware of mashed potatoes and gravy. Fine by me! I don’t think there was a shred of turkey left in the fridge.
The only thing the kids didn’t consume were a few raw egg whites and some pumpkin puree leftover from roasting pumpkin for a couple pies. The egg whites could easily find their way into a frittata, but I wanted to do something different with the pumpkin. I love making oatmeal on Monday mornings. It’s easy and starts the week off on a healthful note. After the oats were finished, I stirred in the pumpkin puree along with the typical spices that I would use in a pie — cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Everyone added his or her own twist to this new oatmeal. My husband added granola; Mr. Picky sprinkled on cinnamon-sugar; the girls ate theirs with pomegranates and walnuts. But I think mine was the best of all — fresh diced pear, chopped pecans and this crazy delicious new maple syrup my husband discovered called Noble. It was heaven — warm and comforting and nourishing at the same time.
I was really winging it with the measurements for pumpkin and the spices, so you can too. I had a heaping 1/2 cup of puree, but because pumpkin doesn’t have a strong flavor, I think you can add up to a cup and not feel like you’re eating a bowl of squash with some oats mixed in. As far as the spices go, cinnamon and ginger in particular are favorites of mine and they happen to be anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants, so I was fairly liberal. But again, this is an easy “recipe” to adjust to suit your tastes. Do you dare me to go roast another pumpkin so I can eat this again? I just might….
4 cups water
1 cup steel cut oats (you can also make this with rolled oats — just follow package directions for cooking)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ – 1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- For overnight oats: Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add oats and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand overnight. The next morning, reheat over medium heat, stirring in some milk (I usually use about 1/4 -1/3 cup) if desired for extra creaminess.
- If making in the morning, cook oats in water with salt until tender, usually about 35 minutes. Add enough milk to achieve desired creaminess.
- Add pumpkin puree and spices to oatmeal and heat through. Serve with optional toppings.
*To make 6 servings, increase water to 6 cups and oats to 1 ½ cups.