Thanksgiving dinner is full of homemade wonders. Grandma’s holiday fudge. Mom’s pumpkin pie. Dad’s turkey that comes out perfect every time. It goes on and on.
Often, though, the meal is so huge that there’s more leftovers than you know what to do with. After a couple plates, even the best stuff gets a bit “same old”. Those tasty morsels need a re-boot! Here’re some tips to use up holiday leftovers, without wasting a bite.
Extra poultry makes a great soup or sandwich. Chop turkey into chunks and stir into gravy (dilute with water or make from scratch, if there’s none to work with). Add vegetables, cheese, herbs, or anything else you think will dress it back up. I plan to make my own turkey soup, with gravy (my step-son made a ton of the stuff, making soup a no-brainer!), peas, thyme/garlic/pepper, and some gruyere I bought at the farmer’s market. I may also add some carrots.
Or, you can take those turkey slices and use them in a grilled cheese style sandwich. Butter one side of bread and slather some sauce (mayo-dijon, cranberry, etc) on the other side. Layer turkey with other ingredients, such as cheddar or gruyere and veggies, then fry/grill/panini it to perfection.
This is one of those ingredients where, if you like it enough to serve it, you tend to either kill it all on Day One or have extra that goes to waste. The tangy, sweet flavor pairs well with several foods. Especially well with sweet and creamy foods.
A “take two” serving could include yogurt and oats, goat cheese and crackers, cream cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon, etc. I’m thinking I might use the rest of mine with cream cheese and herb-seasoned biscuits, since I don’t have any goat cheese or crackers on hand.
Ham’s often done either savory or sweet, depending on your taste. I like it both ways myself. Like the turkey, this protein also makes great soups and sandwiches. Personally, I wouldn’t go too far outside of its sweet or savory profile, unless sure of the new pairing’s taste mix.
Savory ham makes a great addition to a corn chowder and your leftover green beans can get tossed in there too! Or, it can be fine-sliced, or diced, and added to a pasta dish. Breakfast casserole also comes to mind. A sweet ham (maple, honey, or brown sugar glazed, etc) can be added to baked beans and heated through, a great idea if you also serve baked beans for holiday meals.
Leftover mashed potatoes can be made into potato-cakes the next morning. Simply mix in 1 egg, 1t. butter, 1T. flour, and a splash of milk (if too thick) for every cup of mashed potatoes. Add whatever else you want…onion, garlic, cheese, ham/bacon, etc…and form into thin-ish patties. Skillet fry in butter/oil till golden brown and serve as desired. If using ham, either sweet or savory work for this.
Another winner is to coalesce various holiday meal ingredients into a sort of shepherd’s pie. Use your mashed potatoes to top it off before baking to re-heat.
These can be treated as potatoes and made into tasty breakfast cakes. If my sweet potato casseroles yielded leftovers, I’d do this and serve them up with maple syrup. Maybe add in some chopped sweet ham.
I’ve heard of others who make baked goods with theirs…cakes, muffins, etc. Others, still, concoct sweet-spicy mixes with them. The thought of adding cumin, ancho, chili powder, or chipotle to my sweet potatoes makes my mouth water…may have to give that a try sometime…
There are so many ways to dress up leftovers for an awesome Take Two meal. With a bit of creativity, the sky’s the limit. Or, if Black Friday and the shopping season leaves you with no time, the old Inter-webs has lots of recipes to choose from, to make it easy.
Hope your holiday was filled with great times with loved ones…and tasty, tasty food! If you have any holiday meal re-dos you like, feel free to comment and share them!
*Image, taken by Ben Franske, found at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TraditionalThanksgiving.jpg