Getting Creative with Thanksgiving Leftovers

by Stephanie Goins on November 23, 2012

If you are lucky enough to be the one cooking for your family this Thanksgiving, you may just be lucky enough to have some leftover turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes: just a few of the most common items that American families serve during the culinary holiday. But as it is sitting in separate plastic containers, cluttering your refrigerator, you may be wondering, “How am I going to eat all of this? I’m really not in the mood for another full Thanksgiving dinner.” Fear not. Some simple recipes can transform your Thanksgiving leftovers into some completely new dishes.

The Sandwich
Sure you can throw some turkey between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich. But why not take just a couple more steps and turn it into a restaurant-worthy one? Take Paula Deen’s Turkey Cranberry Monte Cristo for example. Her recipe calls for arugula and Fontina cheese, but let’s face it – how many people have those items in their fridge the day after Thanksgiving? Since the tartness of the cranberry sauce and the richness of the turkey are the real stars, it is somewhat safe to experiment with whatever cheese you have in your fridge, except maybe American. Simply make the sandwich with as much turkey, cranberry sauce, and cheese as you like; dip in the egg mixture, and prepare as stated in the recipe. You can’t go wrong!

The Salad
After stuffing yourself with a week’s worth of carbohydrates, a nice green salad may be exactly what your body is craving. It may even be worth investing in some greens when you do your Thanksgiving shopping for the sole purpose of preparing this salad. It is simple enough, using leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, and pecans; but tastes completely transformed and delicious.

That turkey and stuffing may still be calling your name when you wake up in the morning. Satisfy the calling by making a breakfast hash. A hash is typically some sort of meat and potatoes served with eggs. Why not use turkey and stuffing? This recipe involves cutting and boiling potatoes, but who wants to do all that prep the day after Thanksgiving? Try using frozen hash browns instead. Plate alongside your favorite style of eggs and breakfast is served.

Share the Love
Be a rock star host or hostess when you send your guests home with these both cute and convenient leftover jars. You can assemble them in individual mason jars using whatever leftovers your guests prefer. Just be sure to put the items to be reheated on the bottom with cold items (cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie) placed on top, separated with something like a cupcake wrapper for easy removal.

 Although you can make a Thanksgiving meal any day of the year, there is a certain amount of extra effort and affection that is put into it when prepared for the ones you love. Make it last an extra day or two by making Thanksgiving leftovers something to celebrate once again.