Once everyone’s tummies have been filled and the dishes have been cleared from your Thanksgiving table, you are going to likely have a load of leftovers on your hands. This is going to be particularly true this year when so many families are cutting down their dinner guest lists because of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.
While you can also go the traditional route with turkey sandwiches the next day, why not get creative with how you repurpose all of this delicious food? Keep in mind that your leftover options are not just limited to turkey. With a little creativity, you can use your leftover Thanksgiving goodness as a creative springboard for a number of full meals and goodies.
Turkey: The star of your Thanksgiving table delivers a wealth of leftover meal opportunities. Turkey is an extremely versatile meat source that can be used as the base protein for a cornucopia of meals.
- Turkey Noodle Soup – The most popular way to get rid of all that turkey is to throw it in a stockpot with some fresh veggies and noodles. You can even use the turkey carcass to make a homemade broth. Egg noodles work particularly well in this soup. Or make it a soup with rice instead. Because of its versatility, it is nearly impossible to mess up this meal. Make a big batch and freeze some for later use during the busy holiday season when you do not always have time to cook.
- Turkey Pot Pie – Any basic pot pie recipe will help you to use up a number of dishes from your feast. Turkey, potatoes, corn, peas, and pie crusts will also find a role in this meal that you can easily freeze for later consumption.
- Turkey Pumpkin Chili – Hold on to the best taste of fall with this fabulous turkey pumpkin chili recipe. You will elevate your usual chili recipe with the addition of the creamy pumpkin puree.
Ham: If you are a family that enjoys a ham alongside your turkey, you have just doubled the leftover options that you have. Ham is a great addition to a variety of soups and casseroles along with a host of breakfast main dishes.
- Ham and Potato Chowder – Like turkey, ham can be used as a protein base for a hearty soup. A ham and potato chowder will also help you to use up any of the potatoes that you have left. You can also add any leftover corn that you have if you prefer.
- Ham and Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole – Ham leftovers are not just limited to lunch and dinner. You can make an easy breakfast casserole with just ham, frozen hashbrowns, sour cream, and ranch dressing mix. This makes a great meal that you can pull out of the freezer for a cozy brunch at home over the holidays.
- Quiche – Ham is also a staple ingredient in many quiche recipes, making this a good way to use this meat in a later meal. You can incorporate your leftover ham into nearly any of your favorite quiche recipes.
Potatoes: Regardless of if your family prefers mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes (or both!), you can use this starch in a variety of dishes later in the weekend.
- Shepherd’s Pie – If you have an abundance of mashed potatoes on your hands, your family will devour the comforting taste of a classic shepherd’s pie. This is also a good way to use up that leftover gravy. A shepherd’s pie will keep in the freezer for months, making it easy to save this meal for when you do not have time to cook dinner.
- Mashed Potato Rolls – Stretch your creativity in the kitchen by repurposing your mashed potatoes into bite-size rolls that you can pop right into your mouth. These mashed potato rolls may require a bit of time and effort, but everyone in your family will gobble them right up.
- Sweet Potato Hummus: Looking for something to do with those sweet potatoes? Try this delicious sweet potato hummus recipe. This dip is as healthy as it is delicious.
Cranberries: Do not throw that leftover cranberry sauce or whole berries away. This tart berry can serve a multitude a purpose in a myriad of goodies.
- Cranberry Baked Goods – If you have leftover cranberries that you never made into a sauce, these little morsels are just begging to be thrown into a baked item. Good ideas to consider include a cranberry orange loaf or cranberry muffins. You can also try throwing a handful of fresh cranberries along with some white chocolate chips into your pancake or waffle mix for extra sweet breakfast indulgence.
- Cranberry Meatballs – Rather than toss that leftover cranberry sauce, consider using it as a sauce with a batch of meatballs. For an easy appetizer as you watch football on Black Friday, simply throw some frozen meatballs into a crockpot with your leftover cranberry sauce and cook on low for a few hours.
- Cranberry Turkey Crescent Ring – Looking for an easy lunch to serve after a busy morning of shopping on Black Friday? Try this mouth-watering cranberry turkey crescent ring.
This is list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creative ways that you can ensure that nothing from your Thanksgiving dinner goes to waste. Once you begin looking at your leftovers as ways that you can create additional meals, you will be on your way to repurposing what is left into meals that you can serve later.