Remains of the day

Thanksgiving leftovers can be more than sandwiches, casseroles.

A serving dish filled with turkey. Image by Julie Rothe from Pixabay

Three days from now when you open your refrigerator, they'll be there waiting for you -- the Thanksgiving leftovers.

This likely means turkey sandwiches for lunch and some sort of casserole for dinner. That however is just the tip of the leftover iceberg..

Many of us will spend the next few days reheating and eating the same things the same way until the last morsel of stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy are gone.

That gets tedious, along with moans of "turkey, again?"

Fortunately chefs and other creative cooks have helped with some fresh ideas on how to repurpose the meal. Better yet, these leftover recipes are simple -- a reward for all the time put in on the original feast.


This may sound a bit unconventional but how about a Thanksgiving pizza? Using a store-bought crust you could add gravy or tomato sauce to the crust, even cranberry sauce, then bits of turkey, leftover mashed or sweet potatoes and cheese sprinkled over the top. With pizza, anything goes. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Salad is an easy, healthy way to keep the leftovers going. I'm thinking of two favorites: a Chef salad with a variety of greens, bite-sized chunks of both white and dark meat, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, avocado and a favorite dressing.

The second is a turkey Waldorf salad with pieces of apple, celery, grapes, nuts, and dressed with a little Hellman's. You could even add a shake or two of curry powder to the Hellman's for good measure.

Or you could go in a more ethnic direction.

An Indian-inspired curry can use turkey, leftover vegetables and be served over either mashed or sweet potatoes. Rice is a good substitute if you've said goodbye to potatoes.

Mexican dishes are especially delicious with left-over turkey. Try quesadillas with turkey and cheese, and turkey tacos filled with turkey and all the fixin's like cheese, avocado, sour cream, lettuce, salsa and even cranberry sauce.

Or how about a gumbo-inspired turkey Cajun stew? In a large pot mix together, turkey, shrimp, andouille sausage and okra along with Cajun seasonings. It's a one-pot meal.

Then there's the cranberry sauce which seems to increase rather than diminish once it goes from the table to the fridge. The good news it will keep several weeks in the refrigerator, but it also freezes. Of all the leftovers, it is one of the more versatile.


It goes well as an accompaniment to salmon, pork, duck and can be topped or mixed with yogurt and oatmeal. Try serving some with Swedish meatballs instead of the usual lingonberries, although Swedish cousins may scream sacrilege.

Pasta can also come to the rescue. In addition to chopped turkey, add pesto, chopped leftover vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli and even peas.

Once you consider new ways with the leftovers you'll be surprised at what goodness you bring to the table.

But for now, let's not worry about that. Instead be grateful for the Thanksgiving feast and for those who are with us around the table.


ln a saucepan, saute a small chopped onion and minced garlic clove in olive oil. Add one 15-19 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed. Add strips of turkey and heat through. Roll up in warm flour tortillas with salsa, shredded cheese and sour cream.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter


3-4 cups leftover dressing

4-6 large eggs

3 tablespoons grated cheddar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using the butter, grease an 8-inch square baking pan and put in the dressing. Using the back of a spoon make 4 to 6 indentations into which you'll later crack the eggs. Put into the oven to heat, 10 to 15 minutes. Take the heated dressing from the oven and crack the eggs into the indentations. Sprinkle with the cheese and put back into the oven until eggs are set the way you like them.


1/4 cup unsalted butter

3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

6 tablespoons flour

1 cup chicken or turkey broth

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

3 cups cooked wild rice

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups cooked turkey

1 small jar sliced pimento, drained

1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Melt butter in skillet and saute mushrooms until tender. Blend in flour whisking, then slowly add broth and evaporated milk. Cook on medium stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Stir one minute, then add rice, salt, turkey, pimento and water chestnuts. Pour mixture into a buttered 8x12-inch casserole, sprinkle with almonds and bake covered for 30 minutes at 350..Then uncover and bake until center is bubbly, another 20 to 30 minutes. (If you have left-over gravy you can also stir that in when you add the turkey.)

Food writer Holly Ebel knows what’s cookin’. Send comments or story tips to .

Food for Thought - Holly Ebel column sig

Food for Thought - Holly Ebel column sig

Post Bulletin food writer Holly Ebel knows what’s cookin’. Send comments or story tips to
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