What to Do With Thanksgiving Leftovers

What to Do With Thanksgiving Leftovers

You and I both know that no matter how many plates we'll during our Thanksgiving feasts today, there will always be insurmountable amounts of leftovers tomorrow. Turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce for days—it’s hard not to get sick of the delicious yet repetitive food. Why not try some of these recipes to change up the scene a bit and incorporate some of those yummy leftovers?

Leftovers Nachos

thanksgiving leftovers nachos

1 bag tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb chopped turkey breast
1½ tablespoons Old El Paso® original taco seasoning
1 (16 oz) can Old El Paso® refried beans
1 cup cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 jalapeno peppers
Salt, to taste
1 green onion, sliced
Sour cream, for serving

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Place a layer of tortilla chips in the bottom of the pan; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Top with more tortilla chips (you may not use the whole bag).
2. Lightly toss turkey with taco seasoning; sprinkle half of the turkey over the cheese. Top evenly with refried beans. Top with remaining turkey. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
3. Bake 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted and ingredients are warmed through. Meanwhile, make the cranberry-jalapeno salsa: In a small bowl, combine cranberry sauce, cilantro and lime juice. Seed and finely dice one jalapeno pepper; stir into salsa. Add salt to taste.
4. Slice remaining jalapeno; sprinkle over top of baked nachos, along with sliced green onion. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Skinny Turkey + Wild Rice Soup

thanksgiving leftovers soup

2 Carrots, Chopped
2 Celery Stalks, Chopped
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
6 1/2 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
3 Tbsp. Flour
1 C. Long Grain & Wild Rice, Uncooked
1 Tsp. Dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
2 C. Turkey Breast, Cooked & Shredded or Cubed
1 C. Fat Free Half & Half
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Place the carrots, celery, onion and garlic into a large stock pot along with 1/2 c. of the chicken broth.
2. Sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are tender.
3. Sprinkle in the flour and continue to stir for about 3 minutes.
4. Add in the rest of the broth, along with the wild rice, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring the pot to a boil.
5. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 25-30 minutes.
6. When the rice is tender, add in the turkey.
7. Cook for 10 minutes.
8. Stir in the half & half and allow to cook for another 10 minutes.
9. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
10. Serve warm and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Stuffed Croissant

thanksgiving leftovers croissant

Puff pastry
Leftover mashed potatoes
Leftover stuffing
Leftover turkey
Leftover green beans
Leftover yams
Cranberry jam

1. Portion out your leftovers into little stacks about the size of an iPhone, layering mashed potatoes, with stuffing, turkey, green beans and finally topping with a dollop of mushed yams.  Also add a few scoops of cranberry jam to the plate & freeze overnight.
2. Being lazy I started with store bought puff pastry, but this did inspire me to want to try and make my own croissants from scratch one day.  Let it come to room temperature & set aside.  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Cut your pastry in half on the bias to make two large triangles.  You might have to stretch them out a little to get them into an isosceles shape.  At the flat end, load up your frozen ingredients.  Then start rolling neatly, making sure to seal in the gaps.
4. Lay your Croissant on a greased cookie sheet.  Brush with an egg wash & then bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
5. Let them cook on a wire rack & then serve while warm.
6. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

thanksgiving leftovers casserole

3 cups diced cooked turkey
2 cups prepared dressing or stuffing
1 cup cooked vegetables, such as corn or green bean casserole
1 cup prepared turkey gravy
2 cups mashed potatoes
4 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Press the leftover dressing or stuffing into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
3. Top with the vegetables, turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes.
4. Place pats of butter over the mashed potatoes.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
6. Serve hot!

Turkey Gumbo

thanksgiving leftovers gumbo

4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 bell peppers, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon each: dried oregano, dried thyme
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 pound kielbasa, smoked or polish sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
8 cups water
2-3 cups frozen or fresh okra
2 cups cooked, shredded leftover turkey
salt and pepper to taste
small handful fresh parsley, chopped
cooked rice

1. Heat a large stockpot with the butter over medium heat. When the butter begins to bubble a bit, use a whisk or wooden spoon to add in the flour, a little at a time. Continue stirring for a 2 minutes, until the flour is fully incorporated into the butter. Turn the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until the roux has turned into the color of peanut butter. Make sure that the roux does not burn - stay close by!
2. Return heat to medium and add in the bell peppers, celery and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook another minute or so until fragrant. Add in the bay leaves, oregano, thyme, tomatoes, smoked sausage, broth and water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 hour.
3. Add in the okra, cook 2 minutes, then add in the cooked turkey. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped parsley. Serve over cooked rice.

Got any other yummy ideas for leftovers recipes? Let me know! I’d love to hear how everyone’s “repurposing” their Thanksgiving leftovers.

About the Author
Sophia B.
Puppy enthusiast and cupcake connoisseur.