15 Creative Ways to Deal With Thanksgiving Leftovers


photo: stu_spivack

Somehow, after stuffing yourself with turkey, cranberry sauce and all the fixings, it’s still appealing to compose a towering sandwich layered with all the same ingredients for Round Two the next day (or heck, even post-pie on Thanksgiving Day.) But after reprising the Thanksgiving meal a few more times, chances are you’re ready to talk turkey so far as more creative leftovers are concerned. Got a favorite Turkey Day Part 2 recipe? Add it in the comments.

Cranberry Sauce

• Add to sangria. Executive Chef Jordan Mackey of Restaurant Cuvée in downtown Napa adds some Grand Marnier cranberry relish to white wine, along with some chopped peaches and tart green apple, spiced rum and some spice infused simple syrup, all to taste. Serve over crushed ice with some citrus and mint.

• Whisk into a vinaigrette. Just add red wine or balsamic vinegar, oil, and a little black pepper. Use as the dressing for a turkey salad.

• Use in muffins. Frugal Foodie subs in some of her cranberry sauce instead of dried cranberries in muffins.

• Reinvent it as salsa. Melissa d’Arabian, the host of “Ten Dollar Dinners” on the Food Network, has a recipe with more of a Tex Mex feel.

• Use as a non-turkey topper. Cranberry sauce works well with plain yogurt, oatmeal and even ice cream.

• Make a “November Benedict.” Toast leftover biscuits and top with fried eggs, thin slices of ham and “hollandaise” of leftover cranberry sauce and some sage, Mackey says. (It’s a great hangover dish, too, he adds.)


• Create a casserole. MyBargainBuddy.com founder Karen Hoxmeier makes family-favorite turkey tetrazzini every year. Heat oven to 350. Cook and drain one 7 oz. package of fettuccini or linguini according to directions on package. Mix two cups each of chicken broth and milk, a half-cup flour, one-quarter cup butter, a half-teaspoon salt and a quarter-teaspoon pepper in a large saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in the pasta, two cups cut-up turkey and one jar pitted black olives. Spread the mixture in ungreased casserole dish. Sprinkle with one cup shredded cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

• Twist the usual turkey sandwich. Ocean Spray grills its turkey-cranberry recipe to better meld the flavors.

• Prepare a soup. Simmer the turkey carcass to make stock, and then add in chopped turkey and leftover whole veggies. The Broadmoor restaurant in Colorado Springs suggests adding in the stuffing, too.

• Work into curry. Gurpareet Bains, the author of “Indian Superfood,” uses turkey and blueberries for a tangy curry. “You may assume this curry to be sweet in taste, but nothing could be further from the truth,” he says. Yogurt and spices balance out the dish. To make it, in a food processor, blend together 7 oz. fresh or frozen blueberries, ¾ oz. chopped cilantro, 2 oz. fresh grated ginger, salt to taste and two cups Greek yogurt to make a purée. Set aside. Place four chopped cloves of garlic in a deep saucepan with three tablespoons olive oil and cook over a low-medium heat until the garlic starts to turn brown. Add a teaspoon turmeric, and then stir in two tablespoons cinnamon and a teaspoon chili powder. Mix in 14 oz. chopped cooked turkey. Slowly pour in the yogurt mixture, and then bring to a simmer over a low heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Mix in one teaspoon garam masala, and serve.

• Experiment with taquitos. Wondering what to pair with that cranberry salsa? d’Arabian likes these fried rolls.


• Use as a pizza topper. California Pizza Kitchen’s Thanksgiving Sweet Potato pizza has sliced sweet potatoes and mini marshmallows on top.

• Whisk into soup. Frugal Foodie adds leftover mashed potatoes to chicken stock, cream and butter for a rich soup. Add chopped turkey, leftover vegetables and shredded cheese as desired.

• Mold into cakes. Mix mashed potatoes and fold in cheddar cheese, bacon and chives, Mackey says. Scoop them in to balls onto a cookie sheet. Let them chill overnight, then lightly bread and fry them.

• Use as empanada filling. Sweet potatoes make the perfect addition to empanadas, d’Arabian says.

Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.

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