If you’re like most people, you’ll probably be stuck with a lot of leftovers this Thanksgiving holiday season. Do you have a system for managing all the leftovers? Do you send each guest home with a dish, or maybe a little bit of everything? Does the majority of the food get thrown away or shoved down the garbage disposal? Or, do you end up cleaning out the fridge to make room for all the leftovers, but then somehow manage to end up throwing all that food away just a few weeks later?
What if you could plan out your Thanksgiving leftover meals without having to spend extra time in the kitchen or cooking a main-course meal to accompany all those side dishes? Below are some examples of great Thanksgiving leftover recipes that will help you conserve food while also saving yourself some work by enjoying some perfectly good food that is almost as delicious the day after Thanksgiving.
Day-After Turkey Soup
One of the most delicious and easiest recipes to make with your leftovers is turkey soup. Chicken soup and vegetable soup is a national favorite, and turkey is a tradition when it comes to food items on Thanksgiving. Combine both of those these, and turkey soup is the perfect day-after recipe. Cut up the turkey, thrown in some veggies, and you’re on your way to a delicious meal.
Carcass of one turkey (about 1½ pounds) without skin
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups diced skinless turkey meat (white or dark meat)
½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-dice
1 cup small dry pasta shape, such as ditalini
¼ cup loosely packed fresh dill spigs, chopped
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Put the turkey carcass, broth, garlic, bay leaves and thyme in a large Dutch oven (cut carcass in pieces if necessary so it fits) and add enough water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; lower heat and simmer, uncovered, about 40 minutes. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard the solids. Add all but 2 cups of the broth back to the Dutch oven; reserve the remaining broth for another use (it will keep refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month).
Add the turkey meat, green beans, corn and sweet potatoes to the pot; cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the pasta and continue to cook, uncovered, until the pasta and potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the dill and pepper and season to taste with salt. Serve with the bread.
Recipe via Food Network
Turkey Pot Pie
Everyone loves a good pot pie, and luckily, Thanksgiving leftovers normally provide the perfect ingredients for a delicious pot pie. Have too many sides with a lot of turkey that you’re not sure what to do with? No worries! Just dump everything into a pot pie and enjoy.
Photo Credit: foodnetwork.com
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken or turkey stock
2 potatoes, peeled diced
2 cups shredded turkey
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter in saucepan and cook chopped onion until tender. Stir in celery and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and simmer until tender. Stir in turkey, parsley and peas. Pour mixture into casserole. Top with pie crust and brush with egg. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden.
Recipe via Food Network
Pizza is a cornerstone of American food, and what could be better than creating a pizza from Thanksgiving leftovers? As long as you have chicken, turkey or sausage, some veggies, or anything else that could be thrown on top of a pizza, you have just what you need to make the perfect after-Thanksgiving pizza.
Photo Credit: southernliving.com
1 (11 ounce) can of refrigerated thin pizza dough
Preheat oven to 450°. Unroll dough; pat to an even thickness on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutesor until lightly browned. Top and bake as directed in recipes below.
Turkey Club Pizza: Stir together 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 3 Tbsp. refrigerated reduced-fat pesto sauce; spread over crust. Top with 2 cups cubed cooked turkey, 2 thinly sliced plum tomatoes, and 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion. Bake at 450° for 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded colby Jack cheese and 4 cooked and crumbled bacon slices. Bake until cheese melts. Top with chopped fresh avocado.
Mexican Pizza: Sauté 1/2 lb. sliced smoked chorizo sausage and 1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet onion in 2 tsp. hot olive oil until onion is tender; drain. Combine 4 oz. softened cream cheese, 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 tsp. lime zest, and 1 Tbsp. lime juice; spread over crust. Top with sausage mixture and 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels. Bake at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro leaves.
Apple-Goat Cheese Pizza: Sauté 1 thinly sliced Granny Smith apple and 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion in 2 tsp. hot olive oil in a nonstick skillet until tender. Spread 1/3 cup fig preserves over crust. Top with apple mixture and 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese. Bake at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is slightly melted. Top with 1 cup arugula and 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans.
Shrimp-Pesto Pizza: Spread 3 Tbsp. refrigerated pesto sauce over crust. Top crust with 1/2 lb. peeled and cooked, medium-size shrimp (4 1/50 count) and 1 cup halved grape tomatoes. Bake pizza at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle pizza with 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.
Recipe via My Recipes
As just a few of the possible recipe ideas that can come from Thanksgiving leftovers, we encourage you to be creative and come up with your own unique recipes to make out of your Thanksgiving leftovers this year. Be sure to let us know what you come up with in the comments below, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!