Thanksgiving Leftover Makeover


November 16, 2021 | Food Lion
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During the day (or, let’s face it, the entire weekend) after Thanksgiving, you might feel a bit “over” cooking. After all, you just prepared an impressive holiday meal complete with appetizers, sides, a turkey and dessert. But, while you’re spending cozy, post-holiday time with family and friends, the fact remains that you’ll find that people are going to get hungry and need to eat! The good news is that you don’t need to start from scratch — if you’ve got leftovers, then you’ve got plenty of ingredients to turn into all kinds of other delicious dishes.

We’ve got some great recipes using Thanksgiving leftovers that not only minimize your time in the kitchen, but also are helpful for feeding a crowd. Plus, they help to empty all those extra food storage containers on your refrigerator shelves.

Turkey Sandwiches

Leftover turkey salad sandwiches on white plate, cranberries, croissants, and fresh celery, wood table background

One of the most popular ways to use leftovers is to make a turkey sandwich! If you prefer to keep it classic, layer pieces of hearty bread or rolls with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and thick slices of turkey breast.

That’s not the only way to turn leftovers into a filling lunch! Leftover Turkey Sliders are another fantastic recipe that bakes up in a sheet pan in the oven. Make these before watching a game for super-easy prep and clean up. Soft rolls are stuffed with a combination of turkey, cranberry sauce and provolone cheese, brushed with butter and then baked until golden and melty.

You can also take a cue from deli salads and turn your bird into a Leftover Turkey Salad Sandwich. Much like making chicken salad, the cubed meat is tossed with a mayonnaise-based dressing plus chopped carrots and celery for crunch. You can serve these on croissants with lettuce for a nice presentation, or use your favorite sliced bread.

French dip sandwiches are often served with roast beef, but leftover turkey works just as well! This Turkey French Dip is savory and comforting, with sliced turkey tucked into a roll and smothered with melted cheese. Heat some leftover gravy and dip the sandwich in it for the ultimate leftover experience.

Leftover Stuffing

Cast iron pan of leftover stuffing hash with 3 sunny side up eggs on top, fresh red peppers and celery in background

There always seems to be more leftover stuffing than anything else. But, that’s actually a good thing, because there are so many creative ways to use it! The fragrant herbs, onions and chicken stock used to make stuffing work seamlessly with other fall-inspired ingredients.

As social media videos have taught us, waffle irons can be used for all kinds of things beyond traditional waffles! For example, in just 20 minutes, you can turn stuffing into Leftover Stuffing Waffles. Make a big batch for breakfast — or breakfast for dinner — alongside eggs, bacon and fruit. The batter includes eggs and cheese to ramp up the flavor, and a sweet-tart cranberry maple syrup provides a tasty topping.

You can also start your day off in a different way by transforming all that stuffing into Leftover Stuffing Breakfast Hash. Sausage, peppers, onions and cheese are added to four cups of stuffing and then baked with eggs on top! Try shredded turkey in place of the sausage to stretch your Thanksgiving leftovers even further.

At dinnertime, the whole family will enjoy a Leftover Turkey & Stuffing Biscuit Bake, which falls somewhere between chicken and dumplings and a pot pie. A scrumptious, saucy turkey mixture is topped with stuffing-infused biscuits and baked until golden and bubbly. A simple green salad rounds out the meal for a perfect leftovers-based supper. 

If you’re having friends over for drinks or to watch a game, there’s no need to go to too much trouble to make a shareable snack. Simply wrap bite-sized pieces of leftover stuffing with strips of bacon and bake in the oven for half an hour or so to create Bacon-Wrapped Stuffing Bites.

Turkey Transformations

Mini taco bar, 3 mini tacos with turkey, radishes, green peppers, shredded cheese, and red onions on white plate, fresh ingredients in serving dishes surrounding plate

Leftover turkey is so versatile! You can always enjoy it warmed with a selection of your favorite sides, but having cooked turkey in the fridge also provides a shortcut to a bunch of other quick and easy recipes.

Turkey Tetrazzini is a classic creamy skillet bake with spaghetti, veggies and turkey in a rich and savory sauce. It only needs 30 minutes on the stovetop and an additional 20 minutes in the oven!

For a light lunch that will travel well to work or school, try Turkey & Fruit Waldorf Pasta Salad. Tender turkey breast is given new life with the addition of shell pasta, sweet apples and grapes, crisp celery and toasted walnuts. To incorporate more veggies, serve it over a bed of lettuce.

If there’s still leftover turkey by the time the new week rolls around, set up a fun, interactive Quick Mini Taco Bar for Taco Tuesday! Use shredded turkey in place of ground turkey, and set it out with mini tortillas, cheese, salsa, sour cream and any other toppings you enjoy.

When you Holiday the Food Lion way, feeding your guests before, during and after the holiday celebration is a breeze! We’ve got everything you need to turn your Thanksgiving leftovers into breakfast, lunch and dinner in the days following the feast.

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