Turkey: Take Two! Beyond Boring Leftovers

Once all the company leaves, the dishes are washed, and the wishbone has been broken, you’re probably going to be faced with an abundance of Thanksgiving leftovers.

Don’t just throw them on a plate and microwave them – get a little creative. Here are some tasty suggestions to make feeding the family post-Thanksgiving as low-stress as possible. All are quick and simple and won’t keep you confined to the kitchen for yet another entire afternoon – meaning you’re free to hit the mall!

Turkey Tetrazzini casserole is made with turkey, mushrooms, spaghetti and a creamy sauce. This version is lighter than most and you could even substitute spaghetti squash for the spaghetti. If you haven’t cooked one before, it’s super easy: Poke the squash with a fork, microwave in 5-minute increments until soft, carefully cut in half, scoop out the seeds and scrape out the “noodles” using a fork.

Open-Face Thanksgiving Sandwiches aren’t anything new, but this one has a twist.  Turn leftover sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes into Mashed Potato Cakes then spread cranberry sauce on top, add a slice of turkey and some of your leftover veggies.  Pour a splash of gravy over the top and you’re done.

Turkey Soup is the easiest thing to make with your leftovers. Just add turkey, vegetables and a scoop or two of mashed potatoes to a pot and pour in enough chicken broth to cover them.  Simmer for 20 minutes or set it up in a crockpot and let it go all day. And if you saved the turkey carcass, you can even make your own broth. Place the leftover bird in a large soup pot along with a couple of carrots, a few stalks of celery and an onion. Simmer 2 hours then strain the liquid.

Stuffed Winter Squash is a good way to use up leftover stuffing. Slice an acorn squash into 1-inch rings and place on a foil-lined cooking sheet. Scoop stuffing into the center of each ring and bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees until the squash is tender. Heat up some cranberry sauce and spoon over the top.

A Pumpkin Smoothie can be a quick breakfast treat or a post-dinner dessert. Even better is if you substitute leftover pumpkin pie for the canned pumpkin.

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Photo credit: Lauri Patterson

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