Ah, Sundays. My little-girl memories of Sunday mornings involve flowery dresses and white tights, scribbling in the bulletin while my grandfather preached, and my mother teaching me to sing the alto lines in the hymnal. But I will admit to you that my favorite part about Sundays was coming home and smelling whatever Mom had put in the crockpot or oven before we left.
The aromas were delectable, but more than the food I remember the satisfaction that came from the joy of loved ones gathered around the dinner table. Most Sundays it was just my immediate family, but it was not uncommon to pick up dinner guests during fellowship hour or at the end of worship. Sundays also regularly featured birthday and holiday celebrations with cousins and aunts and uncles, because it was a day set aside for worship, family, and good food.
These days my Sundays are a little different—I’ve long forsaken the white tights, my grandfather is retired, and now I sing the alto line on my own. However, I recently returned to this idea of preparing Sunday dinner. In a moment of clarity a few months ago I realized the brilliance of the roast: namely, if you plan to make dinner that feeds more than your family, you always will have enough to invite others to join the feast.
It’s beautiful, really. The Sunday roast creates freedom to be spontaneous, to invest in new relationships and catch up with old friends. It offers the opportunity to practice proactive hospitality. It is also practical, because a large roast requires very quick and simple preparation, yet the time it takes in the oven allows it to caramelize into slow-cooked goodness.
When I think back to the simpler times of breaking bread with loved ones after church on Sundays, I can’t help but wonder why that tradition now seems old-fashioned when it perfectly embodies what Sundays ought to be. Can that richness be regained if I get up an hour early to preheat the oven? If I prepare to invite my church family to come over for Sunday lunch? I don’t know for sure, but I am confident that my mother was on to something sacred in her meal planning, and engrained in me something that I still crave as I set my own Sunday dinner table.
If you decide to roast a turkey this Sunday, here is a week’s worth of dinner ideas for your leftovers—and don’t forget to use it for lunches, too!
- Roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits.
- Tacos with turkey, peppers, and onions, served with Spanish rice.
- Turkey broccoli casserole, served with fruit.
- Turkey pot pie, served with a simple green salad.
- Turkey and penne pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and creamy garlic sauce.
- Stir-fried turkey, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and green beans seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil and served over rice.
- Turkey potato soup, served with crusty bread and salad.
Amanda J. Garcia is a freelance writer living in Elgin, Ill. Visit her online at instagram.com/mandyjgarcia