Spicing Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving Leftovers

You've just enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal with friends and family. As you open the fridge the next day, you're overwhelmed with leftovers: roast turkey slices, sweet potato casserole, bowls of cranberry sauce, and rolls of fresh bread. It seems like there's enough food for your family for the next week. So how do you create new dishes out of leftover food?

Thanksgiving Sandwich

Many families make rolls of fresh bread for Thanksgiving, which can quickly go stale in a day. We recommend using the bread first so it doesn't go to waste.

  • Slice a roll in half. Spread some cranberry sauce, turkey slices, and stuffing on the roll. A little cheese can also work, too.
  • You can experiment with what goes into the sandwich. You can also put leftover sweet potato or green beans in there, too.

Thanksgiving Casserole

You can add many of your Thanksgiving leftovers to this casserole that puts a fresh twist on the holiday feast. You'll need leftover roast turkey, a cup of frozen green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cheese- all items that you've either cooked recently for Thanksgiving dinner or have around the house.

  • Spread leftover stuffing on the bottom of a baking pan.
  • Layer turkey, green beans, and half a cup of mayonnaise over the stuffing.
  • Combine a cup of cheese with some leftover mashed potatoes in a separate bowl, then layer over the existing mixture in the pan.
  • Cook at 375 F for 30-40 minutes until done.

Turkey and Potato Pot Pies

You've probably got a significant amount of turkey left over, and maybe some mashed potatoes as well. Here's a delicious pot pie recipe using those leftovers.

  • In a skillet, cook four slices of bacon until crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • In the skillet, cook four cups of sliced mushrooms and three cups of leeks for about 12 minutes, seasoned with thyme, salt, and pepper.
  • Add three tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add two cups of chicken broth and simmer for 4 minutes.
  • Add three cups of turkey and the bacon, then cook for a minute.
  • Pour the mixture into eight ramekins for individual pot pies, then spread mashed potatoes over each ramekin.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • You can also add a golden touch to the potatoes on top by putting them in the broiler for a few minutes after the ramekins have finished baking.

Thanksgiving Salad

Leftovers are also ideal for sprinkling on top of salads. If you have leftover green beans, cranberry sauce, or turkey, you can create a delicious salad from your holiday feast.

  • You can turn cranberry sauce into a dressing by blending it up and adding a little olive oil.
  • Chop turkey up into tiny bits and layer on top of a salad.
  • If you have cheese left over from appetizer dishes, you can also cut it up into small pieces for a good salad accompaniment.
  • Green beans also work very well in salads.

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Thankful for Leftovers!

Rosemary Pie
It's the day after Thanksgiving. It's the biggest shopping day of the year and you're at home staring into your fridge full of Thanksgiving Day leftovers. Whether you're going out to take advantage of all the sales today or not, you have to eat. In all of the food available to you for reheating, nothing looks interesting, and the last thing you want to do is stand over a stove again for hours on end. You, my friend, are in luck. There are so many recipes available now that you can effortlessly make a new meal out of your leftovers in just minutes.

A traditional Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and sometimes much more. For starters, a lot can be done with turkey. Turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey salad (like chicken salad), turkey on your salad, turkey added to macaroni and cheese (a children's favorite); the possibilities are endless! Turkey is very versatile and can be used in place of chicken in nearly any recipe. Turkey can also replace beef and pork in many recipes.

Who remembers Shepherd's Pie? They served it in our elementary school cafeteria and it is such a yummy (but simple to make) comfort food. It is made up of ground beef, mashed potatoes and cheese. The beef can easily be switched to turkey, and you can even throw in a vegetable if you have left over corn or green beans. You just mix together your meat, cheese and potatoes (and veggies if you like) and heat in the oven in a casserole dish. Voila! Lunch (or dinner) is served.

A favorite of mine is "Crispy Rosemary Potato Cakes." This recipe uses up 3 cups of leftover mashed potatoes and is absolutely delicious.

3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 1/2 cup(s) chopped onion
1 tablespoon(s) finely chopped rosemary
3 cup(s) leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup(s) panko bread crumbs
Salt
Pepper

In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook until onion is soft and golden, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add potatoes, and mix. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread panko in a shallow dish. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Using a 1/3 cup measure, form potato mixture into 12 cakes. Gently press panko on both sides of each cake. Cook cakes in batches (adding more oil as needed), turning once, until golden brown and heated t

Turkey tetrazzini is a creamy pasta dish made with turkey and your choice of vegetables. There are many variations of this dish. I like this one.

8 ounces spaghetti, ready cut
1 lb white mushroom, sliced
1/3 cup butter
3 cups chopped cooked turkey or 3 cups cooked chicken
2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
salt and pepper
chopped parsley (optional)

Cook and drain pasta. In large skillet, saute mushrooms in butter. Add the turkey, sour cream and soup. Cook just till heated and combined. Fold in noodles. Season with salt and pepper. Put in buttered casserole. Top with parsley if desired. Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes or until heated through.

No matter the selection in your fridge, a quick internet search can bring endless possibilities your way. There are also cookbooks available specifically for using up leftovers. Get creative and enjoy...again!