10 Creative Uses for Thanksgiving Leftovers


Are you knee deep in pies and stuffing and dirty dishes yet? I certainly hope so, because tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

As discussed in last week's post on how to eat normally on Thanksgiving, the idea that indulging on turkey day has any lasting consequences is totally misplaced. Thanksgiving is for celebrating food, not fearing it.

Buuuuuut, when Thanksgiving is extended another week because you've got so many leftovers, that may start to take a toll. Rather than living off mac & cheese and stuffing for the next week, I like to freeze some of my leftovers for later while incorporating others into vegetable-centric meals the rest of the week.

Here are 10 creative uses for Thanksgiving leftovers:

LEFTOVER TURKEY NOODLE SOUP // Literally, the only reason we make turkey.

STUFFING MUFFINS // Scoop stuffing (or mac & cheese) into lined muffin tins and freeze. Once frozen, place in a zip top bag, press out all the air and store in the freezer. Now you've got individually portioned side dishes you can defrost and reheat in the microwave as needed!

VEGETARIAN SHEPARD'S PIE // Use leftover mashed sweet or white potatoes to make a topping for vegetarian shepard's pie, with a filling made from lentils and meaty mushrooms.

CRANBERRY PARFAITS // Top plain yogurt with a dollop of cranberry sauce, a drizzle of honey (if needed) and chopped nuts. If you've got spiced nuts leftover, even better!

TURKEY AND WILD RICE SALAD WITH TART CHERRIES // Bonus - there's cranberry sauce in the dressing!

BUBBLE & SQUEAK // A popular British dish designed to use up extra roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes, two things you might have in abundance the day after Thanksgiving ;) Mix vegetables in to mashed potato, bind with egg and a little flour, then pan fry and serve with a side salad. If you don't mind the awful pictures from my early days of blogging, here's a recipe for ratatouille inspired bubble and squeak you could easily adapt.

POTATO MASH WITH KALE, WHITE BEANS AND GRAVY //  Use leftover mashed potatoes and gravy to make this comforting meal in a bowl!

BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND BROWN BUTTER PASTA  // We never have any Brussels sprouts left, much to my dismay. But if I did, you know I'd be whipping up this pasta!

FROMAGE FORT  // We always serve a plate of various cheeses for an appetizer on Thanksgiving, and despite my best attempts to polish it off, there's always leftovers. Since we always tailgate for our rivalry game that Saturday and I don't feel like cooking/shopping, this would be an easy way to use it up.

TURKEY & SWEET POTATO QUESADILLAS  // After Thanksgiving, my taste buds are definitely craving spice. Enter Mexican food.

Bonus idea: give it all to me!!! We're off to Hawaii for my sister-in-law's wedding and leaving on Thanksgiving, so instead of turkey and dressing, we have plans for Vietnamese food (naturally). I will gladly take all your leftovers off your hands when I return!