Amazing Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving leftovers as they are, are great for a few days, but then they become "first world problems" where you get bored of the food, it's just too much, it's overwhelming, you want to eat something different, and then slowly but surely, it goes bad and goes to waste. Don't be that person who lets good leftovers go to waste! You do not...I repeat...you do not...have to keep making the same tired turkey sandwich. Start thinking of your leftovers as components of what can be new and interesting meals for perhaps weeks to come.

Transform your leftover ham/turkey

This section is pretty easy. Any dish you normally add meat to, you can use your leftover Thanksgiving meat with. Also remember you can freeze your meat for about 2-3 months in a freezer safe bag or container if you just want to use it later.

1. Ham Fried Rice

Chop up spiral ham and some scallions (green onion) into bite size pieces, set aside. In a pan, lightly scramble 2 eggs, set aside. Next, saute half an onion in a 2 tbs oil on medium/high heat. In that pan, add 2 cups cold (once refrigerated) rice, the ham, the eggs and scallions (add a little more oil if rice starts to stick) Sprinkle on some soy sauce as you stir until rice starts to turn brown. I like to add a little bit of garlic powder, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce for more color. Be careful to go slowly when adding soy/hoisin/sesame oil. You don't want a soggy rice.

2. Turkey Pot Pie using turkey/leftover frozen or refrigerated crust

Recipe: https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/classic-turkey-pot-pie/222c3cef-31cc-4936-abfd-cc72611c16c4

3. Turkey bone broth

This is a GREAT way to use the whole animal and leave no waste behind. Take all the leftover turkey bones and scraps (you can freeze them until ready to use about 3-4 months) and make a ton of turkey bone broth which you can also freeze for use later and use exactly like chicken broth.

Recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/turkey-bone-broth

4. Stuffed empanada

Roll out some puff pastry. Place a circle on an empanada crimper (or shape by hand). Add your meat, stuffing, cranberry, whatever, and crimp together, and then bake according to package directions.

5. Your 'one leftover sandwich' if you must...

Just pile on...

Transform your leftover vegetables

1. Make baby food

Take your leftover green beans or roasted carrots or what have you and puree until smooth for some baby food. You can use it for your own kids or give them away to the mom's in your family for use on their road/plane trip back home. They freeze really well too.

2. Make soup out of sweet potato/butternut squash/carrots

Any of these vegetable leftovers can be pureed with some cream and some stock/broth, and a little salt, pepper, and/or fresh herbs for an easy soup

3. Make sweet potato gnocchi

Recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sweet-potato-gnocchi-with-brown-butter-and-sage-233379

4. Make potato pancakes/Sheppards Pie out of leftover mashed potatoes

Put a lb of mince lamb or pork of you don't have lamb on to cook until browned. Add in whatever root vegetables you'd like with a bit of stock---beef, chicken, or veg, a little cornstarch to thicken, spices to taste. Top with mounds of leftover mashed potato. Brush on some melted butter and cook until top gets all bubbly and slightly brown.

For potato pancakes, simply fold in cheese, chives, whatever else you'd like into the mash. If you'd like, optionally throw in a small egg to help bind. Then make into flat rounds and toss in a little flour so that the outside is not wet to the touch. Then put some oil in a pan and fry until golden.

Transform leftover bread

1. Make stuffing waffles

Put stuffing into cavity of waffle iron. You can add in turkey/ham, cheese, or whatever else you have lying about. Let it crisp like image. You can serve with chicken or turkey or ham, or eat on it's own.

2. Make bread pudding using stale bread or "day old bread"

Recipe: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/old-fashioned-bread-pudding/790f3338-59c6-4312-a3c1-3e4d0cf6b101

3. Make salad croutons using stale/day old bread

Cut the bread into cubes, place it on a sheet pan. Go back and forth over it with some olive oil, a bit of fresh herb, garlic powder, and then place into an oven on broil for a a few minutes or until golden brown.

4. Make Stuffin' Muffins

Recipe: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2014/11/leftover-stuffin-muffins/

Transform your mac n' cheese leftovers

1. Fried mac n' cheese balls

Recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/186033/fried-mac-and-cheese-balls/

2. Mac n' cheese cups

Recipe: http://jillgoes.blogspot.com/2013/04/mac-n-cheese-cups.html

Transform your leftover desserts

1. Make Ice cream or Milkshakes out of leftover Pie/Cake

In a blender, simply dump 1-2 whole entire pieces of pie/cake...crust and all...into a blender with some milk and/or cream, a couple of scoops of ice cream, and blend until either slightly chunky or smooth. You have either an improved ice cream or a milkshake. If you can't finish it in one sitting, put it into the freezer to eat later.

2. Make syrup out of pie

Take a few tablespoons of butter, and a bit of the pie topping (pecan pie/sweet potato/lemon) and put into a saucepan and stir to a boil to reduce down until it is broken down and smooth. Pour over your milkshake/ice cream, or any other dessert or pancakes for a rich syrup.

3. Make cranberry Popsicle using leftover cranberry sauce

Recipe: http://www.shelikesfood.com/1/post/2014/11/leftover-cranberry-sauce-greek-yogurt-popsicles.html


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What Guys Said 12

  • 13d

    I actually don't like Thanksgiving food very much

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  • 12d

    No Thanksgiving, no turkey here

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  • 13d

    You can also make BBQ Turkey sandwiches as well which is what I did with our smoked Turkey.

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  • 7d

    delicious

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  • 9d

    Spam egg and fried rice thank you very much

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  • 9d

    Nice take and interesting/tasty ideas!

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  • 9d

    Can't you just mix all leftovers together to make bubble and squeak like you do with Christmas dinner? :P

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    • 9d

      You can do that too. Bubble and squeak is delicious and by it's construction, made of scraps.

  • 9d

    There's never left overs with me...

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  • 9d

    What leftovers?

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  • 11d

    Holy lord!
    I am fucking trying to diet. Now I have to eat something. 😤

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  • 12d

    I really like your take, there's a lot of good suggestions on what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers that I'm going have to try 😊 Thank you for posting such a good take.

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    • 12d

      Thank-you. I really set out to find some alternatives to 'just another sandwich,' because I am looking at a ton of leftovers because only half of my group showed up and I'm not into wasting what was a very expensive meal.

    • 12d

      You're very welcome :) i totally agree with you there on not wasting any food. Food isn't cheap, plus the time and effort that you have to put in to prepare your meals and a place to set up for your gathering. Not being bored of the leftovers is tough, but with good suggestions like yours, they can be elevated into an awesome good tasting dish.

    • 11d

      Thanks!

  • 13d

    This post makes me wish I was American.

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What Girls Said 7

  • 13d

    I'm hungry after reading this post 😅 And I just ate LOOL

    Great MyTake! 👌🏽👏🏽

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  • 12d

    I always wonder why turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese are part of the iconic American Thanksgiving dinner. It is as if there should be no alterations to this kind of meal. The store-bought versions always seem to have overly cooked green beans, and I know they are overly cooked because lightly cooked green beans are supposed to be bright green, not this dark green sludge-pile. The cranberry sauce contains too much sugar. The mac and cheese contains too much cheese, which contains too much salt. Turkey and mashed potatoes seem to be the only things that are reasonably healthy. For once, I think Americans must introduce more fresh fruits and vegetables and allow the fresh produce to counterbalance the heavy turkey and mashed potatoes dishes.

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    • 12d

      As head cook for my family, I have always insisted that things be made fresh for Thanksgiving from the rolls to the cranberry sauce to the green beans and we've actually never served mac n' cheese or mashed potatoes for that matter, but of course other people do on their tables. Although I believe in a whole foods diet, so too do I believe in letting go every once in a while in your life. The problem is when you eat this type of heavy greasy sugary salty gluttonous meal on a regular basis. You can't be the diet king or queen for everybody and preparing a super healthy meal one day a year is not going to stop people from poor eating and poor choices the whole rest of the year; that's something each person must learn to do on their own.

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    • 12d

      Anyway, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I hope everyone has enjoyed themselves and their dinners and will create with their leftovers rather than waste because their are so many who are not fortunate enough to have these types of meals available to them. And of course, a healthy diet and lifestyle are not built in a day or two, so start making choices to do better for oneself if the goal is to get healthy in this or the rest of their lives. And if the issue is depression, giving a person an apple one day is not going to cure their depression. They need serious help on a much deeper level.

    • 12d

      No, the apple does not cure depression. You are correct. But the social environment during Thanksgiving may be helpful for the depressed person. Other people may notice that something is wrong in the person and may help. Then, they may offer fruits and vegetables on Thanksgiving as the antidote. Later, the person's family may seek the advice of a mental health counselor or therapist and holistic nutritionist that will put the person back on track holistically.

  • 6d

    looks delicious

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  • 7d

    gret idea

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  • 12d

    Wow.. I didn't realize how many things you could make with left overs. A couple of days ago I was trying to think of ways to use left overs. Awesome Mytake, thank you for sharing! :) I'll have to remember this next year since me and family already eat the left overs haha.

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  • 12d

    sorry . all of that just grosses me out .

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  • 13d

    I like to make turkey cranberry sandwiches. I also just make Thanksgiving bowls which is stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, potatos and whatever else into one big bowl and mix it around.. Might sound gross haha but it's good

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