Too many leftovers to handle?
Scrap that tired cold turkey sandwich and turn to one of our creative ideas for transforming yesterday's leftovers into delicious new meals.
Thanksgiving Turkey Salad
Mix chopped turkey with dried cranberries, walnuts, chopped celery and a little minced red onion. If you like blue cheese, crumble some in. Stir in some mayonnaise and serve on toasted brioche or leftover rolls from Thanksgiving dinner.
Butter a baking dish and line it with leftover stuffing that has been mixed with packaged french-fried onions, pressing the stuffing up the sides as best you can to make a little stuffing “pie shell.” In a bowl, mix together a can of cream of mushroom soup, 3/4 cup milk, frozen peas (or leftover green beans) and chopped turkey. Pour mixture into stuffing shell and sprinkle some cheese over the top. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, or until the filling is set and the top is golden and bubbly.
Saute a chopped onion in olive oil until translucent. Add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Stir in shredded leftover turkey, 1 cup salsa and 1/3 cup water, and cook over low heat until the mixture looks soft and stew-like (about 15 minutes). Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, then fill taco shells with the mixture and top with shredded lettuce, cheese and sour cream.
Peel and dice 3 to 4 sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces and cook in boiling water for about 5 minutes, or until tender; drain. Saute a chopped onion and green pepper in oil until soft, then season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix the onion-pepper mixture, the sweet potatoes and chopped leftover turkey. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add the sweet potato mixture, flattening it to the pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook potatoes until they form a crispy crust, then flip and cook until crispy on the other side.
Asian-Style Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Mix together equal amounts of hoisin sauce and barbecue sauce (use enough to generously coat the amount of turkey you have). Saute minced garlic and ginger in sesame oil for 1 minute, then stir in the hoisin mixture. Mix in finely chopped leftover turkey and minced scallions, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve with romaine lettuce leaves for wrapping up the mixture.
Saute chopped onions and green peppers in olive oil until softened. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add finely chopped leftover turkey, spaghetti sauce and a splash or three of red wine, then cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Toss with cooked spaghetti and Parmesan cheese.
Corn Bread and Ham Muffins
Prepare your favorite corn bread mix according to the directions on the box. Before baking, fold in some chopped leftover ham, some shredded cheddar cheese and a sprinkling of sliced scallions. Fill muffin cups halfway with the mixture and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.
Mashed Potato Gratin
Saute onions, shallots or garlic (or all three) until soft. Blend with leftover mashed potatoes, minced leftover ham, a tablespoon or two of mustard and a small amount of milk or cream (just enough to make the potatoes soft again). Fill a buttered baking dish with the mixture and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 300 F until heated through (about 15 minutes).
Turkey Tortilla Soup
Slice corn tortillas into thin strips and cook in hot oil until crisp; remove to paper towels to drain. In a large pot, combine 32 ounces of chicken broth, 1 cup salsa (or stewed tomatoes) and a chopped zucchini. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chopped leftover turkey and heat through. Serve soup topped with your fried tortilla strips, sour cream and a splash of fresh lime juice.
Cranberry Sauce Chutney
This recipe assumes you have about 2 cups of leftover cranberry sauce to work with—adjust measurements to suit. Chop a medium onion and half an apple and saute until soft. Mix in 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger and cook for 1 minute, then add the cranberry sauce and 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature and enjoy with cheese on crusty bread.
Ultimate Day-After Turkey Sandwich
Generously spread mayonnaise and ketchup on 2 slices of your favorite bread. Layer stuffing, turkey (dark meat is great here), cranberry sauce and a bit of mashed sweet potato on one slice of the bread. We’ve been known to sprinkle on some leftover fried onions from the green bean casserole as well. Top with remaining bread slice.
Leftover Hors D'oeuvres Soup
This is a great way to use up the crudites and cheese tray that no one touched. Cut your vegetables into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Saute a few chopped shallots in some butter until softened. Add your chopped vegetables and a few sprigs of thyme; saute for a minute, stirring to coat the vegetables in the butter. Add about 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock for every 2 cups of vegetables that you’ve used. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Puree half the soup, then add it back into the pot and season with salt and pepper. Toast a few slices of leftover bread, sprinkle with cheese and broil until melted and golden. Float the cheesy croutons on top of the soup.
Curried Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Saute chopped onions in olive oil until golden. Add a tablespoon of curry powder and some minced garlic and fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in a can of cream of chicken soup and 1/2 cup white wine. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened but still fluid. (You can add a bit more wine if it gets too thick.) Mix in some frozen peas and some finely chopped leftover turkey meat and pour into a buttered casserole dish. Spread or pipe mashed potatoes over the mixture and top with some shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
Cook enough rice for four people and let it cool. In the largest skillet you have, saute chopped onions, minced garlic and chopped pepperoni in olive oil for 4 to 5 minutes. Add chopped leftover turkey, diced apple and sliced scallions. Mix in a generous helping of curry powder and cook until everything is heated through. Thoroughly mix in the cooked rice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with some more fresh scallions before serving. This recipe was invented by a kindly husband who wanted to give his wife a break from cooking the day after Thanksgiving.
Cranberry Sauce Fudge Sundaes
In a small saucepan, mix cranberry sauce with a few tablespoons of Gran Marnier and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, warm up your favorite hot fudge sauce in a separate saucepan (or in the microwave). Scoop vanilla ice cream into bowls and drizzle the two sauces over the top. You might never look at cranberry sauce the same way again.
Green Bean Casserole Pasta
Saute generous amounts of chopped garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes in olive oil. When the garlic is soft, toss in shrimp and cook until just pink. Add leftover green bean casserole and 1/2 cup white wine (or water) and let bubble for 3 to 4 minutes, or until heated through. Toss with hot penne or fusilli pasta.
Black Friday Power Breakfast
Heat butter until it foams, then add thick slices of cold leftover stuffing and fry until crispy on both sides. Remove stuffing slices to a plate and top with a sunny-side up egg. Drizzle with reheated gravy. Shop without fear of ever getting hungry.
Toast leftover corn bread and slather on butter and cranberry sauce.
Stuffing and Cheese Strata
Saute mushrooms in a little bit of butter until they have released most of their liquid and have started to brown. Add minced garlic and a couple handfuls of spinach and cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted; remove to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together 2 cups whole milk and 3 eggs to make a custard; season with salt and pepper. Add crumbled leftover stuffing to the mushroom-spinach mixture, then pour into the custard. Stir in handfuls of grated cheese—a nutty cheese like Gruyere works well here—before pouring the mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until strata is puffed and golden.
Turkey or Ham Calzones
Mix chopped turkey or ham with a good-quality marinara sauce. On a floured cutting board, roll out ready-made pizza dough into a circle (you can make either one large calzone or several smaller ones). Put a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese on one half of the circle, being careful to leave an inch-wide border free of toppings around the edge of the dough. Spread a layer of the turkey mixture on top of the cheese. Moisten the edge of the dough and fold the empty half of the pizza dough over the filling; crimp the edges together to seal. Carefully transfer the calzone to a baking sheet and bake in a 450-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Pulled Turkey Sandwiches
Saute a large minced onion in oil until golden and soft; let cool. Add 1 cup ketchup, 1 cup barbecue sauce, 1/3 cup white vinegar and 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce and mix well. Add shredded leftover turkey and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator. When it’s time to eat, simmer the turkey mixture in a covered pot for 20 to 30 minutes, then uncover and simmer another 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning, adding more water (or a splash of beer) if it’s too salty for your taste. Serve on toasted rolls—with grated mozzarella cheese if you’re feeling decadent.
Vegetable and Tortellini Bake
Toss leftover roasted vegetables with cooked tortellini and butter until the butter melts and coats everything nicely. Pour into a shallow casserole dish or pie plate. Sprinkle the top with generous amounts of grated Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese, plus a little bit of Parmesan. Broil until golden and bubbly.
Ginger and Chocolate Bread Pudding
Cut leftover bread (you need about 1 pound) into 1-inch cubes. Toss the bread with 8 tablespoons melted butter and 1 cup chocolate chips; transfer to a baking dish. Make a custard by mixing together 2 1/2 cups half-and-half, 1 cup sugar, 6 large eggs, 4 large egg yolks, 2 tablespoons vanilla and 1 tablespoon grated ginger. Pour custard over the bread mixture and let soak for 30 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons brown sugar over the top and bake at 350 F for 1 hour.
Thanksgiving Ole 9-Layer Dip
In a small bowl, mix one 14.5-ozcan of drained black beans with the juice of half a lime, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, a can of drained green chiles and a pinch of salt. In another small bowl, mix 1 cup sour cream with 1/2 cup mayonnaise. In the bottom of a glass pie plate or casserole, create a thin layer of leftover stuffing. Top that with a layer of minced leftover turkey, then layers of the bean mixture and sour cream mixture. Top this with a layer of guacamole, then a layer of salsa (drained if necessary). Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese and thinly sliced scallions and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Salmon Croquettes With Leftover Mash
In a medium bowl, mix together equal parts leftover mashed potatoes and drained canned salmon, 1 egg, some minced celery, thinly sliced scallions, 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Form mixture into golf-ball-size balls, then flatten into patties. Coat the patties with breadcrumbs, then pan-fry them in canola oil until golden and crispy on both sides.
Cranberry Chicken Skillet Supper
Chop a medium onion and saute in a few tablespoons of butter until translucent. Add strips of chicken breast and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in a cup of whole-berry cranberry sauce, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard and 1/2 cup ketchup. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over rice or potatoes. (You could also use leftover turkey in place of the chicken. Just add it after the sauce has simmered to heat it through.)
Stuffing Stuffed Squash
Pierce a whole acorn squash in a few places with a sharp knife, then cook on high in the microwave for 4 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 4 minutes. Carefully cut the squash in half and remove seeds and strings. Fill the cavity with a mixture of leftover stuffing, crumbled cooked sausage, a pinch of red pepper flakes, some minced garlic and 2 to 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Brush exposed squash flesh with melted butter, then bake on a cookie sheet at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes.
Candied Yam Bread
This is a great way to use up that extra just-in-case can of candied yams you bought. Pour a 14-ounce can of candied yams into a medium bowl and blend with 4 eggs, 1 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 cups canola oil until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons each of baking soda and baking powder. Gradually blend the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. If you like, add a handful of chopped pecans or diced crystallized ginger. Pour batter into a well-greased and floured Bundt pan and bake at 350 F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
In a medium bowl, mix together your leftover stuffing, finely minced leftover turkey and enough leftover gravy to moisten the mixture (if you don’t have any more gravy, try Marsala wine, sherry or chicken stock). Add a pinch each of dried sage and thyme, and some finely minced garlic. Using ready-made piecrust, cut out circles of dough large enough to line muffin cups. Carefully ease the dough circles into the muffin cups and fill with the stuffing mixture. Brush the edges of the pie dough with water and top with a circle of pie dough that just fits on top. Crimp the edges together as best you can, make a vent on the top with a knife and bake at 375 F for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the stuffing mixture is heated through.
Saute chopped onions in butter until golden brown. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until soft. Take the pan off the heat and add 1/2 cup or so of Marsala wine. Return skillet to the heat and scrape up all the tasty brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add 2 cups of liquid to the pan (a combination of leftover gravy and chicken broth would be ideal) and let simmer until reduced by one-third. Add slices of turkey to the sauce and heat through. Season with salt and pepper and serve over pasta or rice.
Honey-Mustard Turkey Pasta Salad
Cook pasta (fusilli or farfalle would be nice) according to the directions on the box. Rinse pasta in a colander under cold water to cool, then drain and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the pasta with 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon honey, chopped leftover turkey, minced red onion, chopped basil and cherry tomato halves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.