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Puttin' on The Mitts: What are you going to do with those leftovers?

Green Bean Casserole Grilled Cheese1 / 2
Thanksgiving Spaghetti Squash2 / 2

As many of you are enjoying a cup of coffee while turning the pages of today's Brainerd Dispatch, you are also probably enjoying the glorious smell of a turkey cooking in the oven. Potatoes need to be peeled and mashed. The stuffing needs more sage. The green bean casserole needs a topping of crispy fried onions before going in the oven. All time and attention is focused on this ever popular holiday meal.

But, as with everything Turkey Day, who's thinking about cooking on Friday or even the weekend? Let The Mitts do your thinking for you with these Thanksgiving leftover recipes.

You can use your leftover stuffing, turkey and gravy for Chelsey's recipe. I've got a great idea for the leftover green bean staple—Green Bean Casserole Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Yes. You read that right. And let me say, it is absolutely fabulous.

Happy Thanksgiving from The Mitts!

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

• 2 slices of Texas Toast bread (or any hearty, thick bread of your choosing)

• 2 slices of reduced-fat provolone cheese (or any of your choosing)

• 1/2 cup of green bean casserole, reheated

• 1 tablespoon of crispy fried onions (optional since the green bean casserole most likely has crispy onions in it, but I liked adding a bit of fresh ones as it added a nice crunch)

• Butter

Butter all sides of the bread slices.

Put a piece of cheese on each slice.

Spread reheated green bean casserole on one side.

Sprinkle the crispy fried onions on top of the casserole and close the sandwich.

Grill the sandwich in a small pan on low to medium heat until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

-- DeLynn

I've pretty much decided spaghetti squash is my new favorite food.

It's versatile, satisfyingly filling, easy to use and on top of all that, healthy. As someone with occasional (OK, frequent) portion-control issues, especially when it comes to carbs, spaghetti squash solves multiple problems: its likeness for pasta tricks my mind a bit, I can eat a lot of it without feeling guilty, and its neutral flavor means it can accompany a variety of cuisines.

In the mood for Mexican? Top spaghetti squash with taco meat, salsa, guacamole, cheese ... you name it. Craving Italian? Add some pasta sauce, meatballs and parmesan. Have some Thanksgiving leftovers? Well, you know what to do—follow the recipe I've created below!

This recipe was inspired by chef Gina Homolka's website, Skinnytaste. It's become my go-to for cooking at home, as Homolka lives by the mantra of cooking whole, seasonal, real foods as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy food need not be boring or bland, and Skinnytaste recipes are certainly neither of those things. I made her Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats recipe a few weeks ago, and since then, I've been thinking of all the ways I can dress up spaghetti squash for any craving. Being it's Turkey Day, it seemed only natural to devise a way to incorporate all those precious Thanksgiving leftovers. And boy, did I like the results.

It's hard to believe it, but DeLynn and I've been puttin' on the mitts together for three years now! Our second column we ever produced was on Thanksgiving leftovers, and it sure seemed a lot harder then than it does now. I think it's safe to say we've grown a lot as individual cooks and as food columnists, and we're happy you've stuck with us. Happy Thanksgiving!

THANKSGIVING SPAGHETTI SQUASH

• 3 medium spaghetti squashes

• 1 1/2 cups gravy

• 3 cups stuffing

• 18 ounces turkey, shredded

• 1 cup shredded gouda cheese

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Chopped parsley for garnish

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the spaghetti squashes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringy squash bits.

Spray each half with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Arrange on baking sheet(s), cut side down, and bake for about 50 minutes.

Once squash are baked, flip over and allow to cool enough to handle.

Using a fork, scrape the squash from the rind, but do not remove from shells.

Sprinkle 3 ounces of turkey on each half.

Top with 1/4 cup gravy and spread out 1/2 cup stuffing.

Top with about 2 tablespoons shredded gouda cheese.

Return to baking sheet(s) and bake for 8-10 minutes more, until cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Remove from oven and top with chopped parsley to serve.

-- Chelsey

Goodest Goodies contest

Just a reminder about Puttin' on The Mitts Goodest Goodies contest, a competition among our readers to find out who has the tastiest holiday no-bake recipes.

The rules are simple. Your recipe must not require an oven, but it can use the stovetop or microwave. We are looking for sweets, treats and desserts—those yummy bites you find on a goodie tray at Grandma's.

Throughout the month of November, we will accept recipe submissions in person at the Dispatch office, 506 James St., Brainerd, by mail at Brainerd Dispatch, Attn: Puttin' on The Mitts, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401, or by email at themitts@brainerddispatch.com. Include your full name, city where you live and a phone number (not for publication).

Recipes must be legible and the source must be cited if it's not an original recipe. If the source is not known, please include a short description of where you believe it came from.

After the Monday deadline, The Mitts will narrow the field down to the top three recipes. Then, DeLynn and Chelsey will make the recipes and the Brainerd Dispatch and Echo Journal staff members will vote for their favorite.

So, what will the "Goodest Goodie" win? A holiday prize package including a pretty two-tiered server set to display your "award-winning" goodie. We'll also be publishing the top three recipes in December Puttin' on The Mitts' columns.

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