When the biggest eating day of the year has come to a close, you’re left with a full belly and a kitchen full of food. Of course, you could simply recreate your turkey day plate for countless more meals. Or, you could try something different and create meals your family won’t even recognize as Thanksgiving leftovers. I vote for the latter. Give some of the recipes below a shot and you’ll be enjoying those piles of extra food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert!
On Black Friday, you may be happy to down a slice of leftover pie before you hit the sales, but on the weekend, try these cheesy leftover mashed potato pancakes. Use extra stuffing in this morning-after stuffing and eggs dish. If you’re looking for a simple leftover use-up, try this cranberry butter, which would be perfect on french toast, pancakes, biscuits or just toast.
Melt some of your leftover cranberry sauce with maple or pancake syrup to use with breakfast hotcakes or waffles. Throw sauce or whole cranberries into a smoothie for a refreshing start to your day.
By midday, the leftover bird will also add to the sweet and savory combination in this ultimate grilled cheese sandwich. Leftover gravy, stuffing and turkey will let you whip up these hot open-face turkey sandwiches in a jiff, top with a dollop of cranberry sauce if you like.
Get the waffle iron for these mashed potato waffles (think thick waffle fries) or stuffing waffles — just add the egg and stock to your leftover stuffing. Turkey cranberry quesadillas can also be thrown together pretty quickly.
Leftover mashed potatoes can be stiff and gluey, but with a few additions (an egg, maybe some bacon or ham), they can become a tasty casserole. Top with cheese and bake till the top is brown and bubbly. Or make them into mashed potato cakes. They make a good, traditional topping for your favorite shepherd’s pie recipe.Or use them to make Irish potato bread.
Instead of just reheating that stuffing, add some more ingredients (maybe sautéed mushrooms or chopped water chestnuts) and an egg, then make the mixture into patties and fry them to create a new side dish for turkey leftovers. Or try fried stuffing bites with cranberry pesto from chef Sunny Anderson of the Food Network.
If you’ve got leftover sweet potatoes, try Bobby Flay’s sweet potato soup recipe for a hearty lunch dish.
When it’s time for dinner, give this Turkey Tetrazzini a try. Or to warm up on a chilly evening this leftover turkey soup uses your veggie and mashed potato leftovers too. Crockpot turkey chili might also hit the spot. These mashed potato & stuffing patties make a great all-in-one dinner. Swap leftover gravy for the usual marinara in this stromboli.
Use sweet-tart cranberries to glaze a ham, Cornish game hens or duck for another holiday meal. Just melt gently in a saucepan and brush it on toward the end of roasting.
The meal I look forward to after every Thanksgiving is this Turkey Dinner Leftover Casserole. I love it so much that I purposely make too much food on Thanksgiving Day just to be sure I have enough. As a bonus, this recipe makes two casseroles. You can freeze both for later or eat one now and freeze the second. Simply butter two 8-inch square baking dishes. Layer mashed potatoes, veggies, and cranberry sauce in each dish. Heat leftover turkey in gravy to warm up the gravy. Place turkey slices and gravy in the dishes, then top with stuffing. Bake at 375 degrees about 20 minutes (longer if starting from frozen), or until brown and bubbly.
And don’t forget those all of those turkey bones. Don’t waste them by throwing it in the trash — try making homemade turkey stock/broth. The stock you make can be frozen in 1 cup portions and used whenever you have a recipe calling for chicken/turkey broth.
For those keeping track, I didn’t forget dessert. For a milkshake-like treat, use leftover cranberry sauce to make this cranberry sauce smoothie. For that extra bag of cranberries, give these cranberry orange muffins a try or these zippy lemon glazed cranberry cookies. Even try the whole-berry cranberry sauce as a fruit topping for plain cheesecake.
One dessert I’ll be making this year will be leftover pie ice cream. This summer I tried, and quickly became addicted to, this simple and delicious no-churn ice cream. To turn your leftover pie into a frozen delight simply take a slice of your favorite fruit pie or pecan pie and cut it up into a little smaller than bite-sized pieces. When you get to step five in the ice cream directions, gently stir in the pie pieces. Then you just need to freeze, serve, and enjoy.
Some pie recipes call for more or less than one regular can of pumpkin. If you have leftover pumpkin, you can use it for pumpkin bread, muffins and pancakes. Or throw some into your morning smoothie (it’s already cooked, so it’s ready to eat). You can even make a sweet or savory dip with it, to serve at a holiday party.
Make a sweet potato pie as a follow-up to the pumpkin one. As long as you didn’t doctor them up too much, you also can use sweet potatoes in muffins and other baked goods. They’ll add nutrition and moistness.
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