5 Awesome Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes
This post written by guest blogger—Laurie Rockenbeck
I used to buy my turkey thinking that I would get the biggest bird I could find so I could have all these wonderful leftover turkey dinners. I could package them up into individual dinners and pop them in the freezer for a steady stream of leftover yumminess.
The problem was always the same. I would have plenty of one thing left over, but not enough of another. I might have six cups of mashed potatoes, but no turkey. Or a bunch of meat, but no stuffing. I no longer bother even trying to put together little meals.
During the two days that follow, we pile up plates with leftovers and heat them up to recreate the same meal over and over until we’re left with what’s left. Here are a few recipes that require minimal interaction with other ingredients of your Thanksgiving day meal to use up some of those odds and ends.
We usually have stuffing leftovers, even though I make really yummy stuffing. It’s sort of an extra side dish that I threaten to leave off on Thanksgiving day, but it always ends up back on the menu. I could make less, but this is the one time I buy a loaf of white bread, and I have no idea what I would do with leftover white bread, so I make the stuffing.
4 cups leftover stuffing/dressing
8 oz. low-fat bulk breakfast sausage
Cook the sausage in a cast iron or oven safe non-stick skillet. There shouldn’t be any fat in the pan if you use low-fat sausage, but you can blot it out if there is. Gently deglaze with half a cup of water to get up any browned bits off the pan. Mix in the stuffing, breaking up clumpier bits to blend with the sausage.
Cook until it is heated through and forming little crusts on the bread bits. Press the mixture down into the pan and smooth across the top, reduce the heat to low. Use a spoon to make four wells in the mixture, all the way to the bottom of the pan. Crack an egg into each. Place under a broiler for three-four minutes—longer if you don’t like your yolk all runny. Serve out of the pan. Four servings.
Here are 4 more great ideas for leftovers with recipes to come!
I love Peking duck, but it’s not exactly a quick work day evening meal you can toss together. Years ago, we used to stop by a certain fast food chain and pick up fried chicken tenders, cover a tortilla in hoisin sauce, add the chicken and some scallion to make mock Peking Duck.
This recipe came to me as I was considering the possibilities of a slightly healthier version of our fast food run around. Left-over turkey is reheated with some Asian influence and then put together with a compatible slaw and sauce to make a delicious wrap. If you are really short on time, you can just reheat the turkey with some water and broth and use purchased Asian Slaw from the market. Everyone in the family loved this one. You can fancy it up by making scallion brushes to paint the hoisin sauce on the wrappers. The brushes then can be torn apart and added to the wrap for an added kick.
When I was growing up, my mom always made turkey noodle soup after Thanksgiving. I remember her groaning about the work involved in rolling out the noodles–not so fun after spending the day before in the kitchen cooking. My husband’s family has a bit of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, and I first had this soup while dating him. It turns out the traditional form is for chicken, but my mother-in-law had made the turkey innovation early in her marriage. The thing that makes the soup so charming are the rivels—little tiny German dumplings—and are a ton easier than rolling noodles out by hand.
When clearing the Thanksgiving table, take a few minutes to remove the majority of the extra meat from the bones, leaving the little schnittles that don’t come so easily on the carcass. Set aside the meat in the fridge for leftovers and put about two cups of the smaller, spoon sized pieces, aside for the soup. You can wrap the carcass up and put it in the freezer to make stock later, or immediately put it on the stove. My kitchen is usually such a mess, I go ahead and turn the carcass into stock right away and freeze that if I don’t feel like making the soup right away.
Another turkey heavy recipe, but this is so fast, so easy, and so yummy that I had to share it. My whole family loved this one.
And for dessert—
I love bread pudding as an easy way to use up leftover bread. And, there is always leftover cranberry sauce. I used a whole cooked sauce in this recipe, but I am pretty sure that this would work just fine with any that uses fruit and sugar as opposed to the frozen/creamy/horseradish kind.
This recipe is variable with the amount of rolls you have. If you have less, any custard not soaked up in the bread will flow to the bottom of the pan and create a separate layer of just custard which is also really tasty. I added Cointreau to the custard since orange and cranberry go so well together.
So check back for the next couple days and get the recipes for the above dishes to make the most out of your leftovers! And let us know some of your favorite leftover dishes in the comments below.
Laurie Rockenbeck is a writer, knitter, and blogger in Redmond, Washington. Her blog covers a melange of subjects and can be found at www.laurierockenbeck.com