Are you getting tired of Thanksgiving leftovers, yet? Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday because of all the good food. But after 2-3 days of the same food, I am ready to switch it up.
While I don’t know exactly what’s in your fridge the day after the holiday, it’s safe to say that you’re likely to have turkey, some potatoes (white and or sweet), a bit of cranberry sauce, a little stuffing, a dab of gravy and probably a container of the ever-popular green bean casserole. Reheating is fine, but after a couple of meals, I’m usually looking for a change in taste.
Get creative in the kitchen
Hands down, my favorite thing to make after the holiday is turkey soup. Once the turkey bones have been stripped of all their meat, I simmer them with onion, celery, carrots, salt and pepper for a few hours to produce a heavenly stock. From there, you can do a basic turkey noodle, or add your leftover mashed potatoes for a creamy soup base. A dab of leftover gravy will add a lot of flavor—but go easy, since it’s loaded with calories. Try these turkey soup recipes.
The turkey lends itself to a million uses, but if you have so much left over that you don’t think you’ll use it in a few days, shred it into meal-sized portions and freeze. It’s great to have it handy to add to dishes like soup, pasta or burritos. Here’s something you may not have thought of—turkey lettuce cups. Heat up some minced leftover turkey with some diced scallions and a little Chinese hoisin sauce, then spoon into iceberg lettuce leaves. It’s a light and refreshing change from the usual turkey sandwiches. A few new recipes I am wanting to try this week.
Cranberry sauce is amazing on top of plain yogurt or oatmeal, or spooned over mixed fresh fruit for a quick dessert. You can also blend it with nonfat cream cheese for a tasty spread for your whole grain toast. I also like to spike my cranberry sauce with some ginger, garlic and soy sauce and serve on grilled fish or tofu. It tastes like a really sophisticated barbecue sauce.
If your original sweet potato dish wasn’t too sweet, you can dice up the leftovers with the leftover turkey, then sauté with some onions and other veggies for a one-dish hash. Serve with a green salad and you’re all set. Sweet potatoes would also make the start of a pretty great curry with some leftover turkey added. I found a few more options for you, too.
Green Bean Casserole
Stuffing and green bean casserole are some of the highest calorie leftovers, so you’ll want to use them sparingly and stretch them out with some healthier ingredients. Add some canned tomatoes and chopped turkey to your leftover stuffing to make a filling for stuffed peppers. And that leftover green bean casserole? Try heating it up with some white wine or broth, then add some garlic and hot pepper flakes and toss with some whole grain pasta.
Leave a comment below – what is your favorite way to use Thanksgiving leftovers?