Recycle your Thanksgiving Leftovers with these Recipes!
Tired of those same old turkey sandwiches this season? Wish you had a better idea of how to store and use Thanksgiving leftovers that are still lurking in your refrigerator? Try some of these clever and creative recipes to spice up your post-thanksgiving meals. Below, we've listed recipes for everything from the turkey to the cranberry sauce. You may even end up adopting a recipe or two for your own holiday traditions!
Turkey Homemade Ramen Noodles
We all want a clever way to reuse that holiday turkey, but turkey sandwiches get old pretty quickly. Try reinventing this leftover. You might find that you crave this outside-of-the-box meal!
- 1 leftover carcass of your turkey
- All leftover vegetables from your roasting pan (whatever the type)
- 6 scallions, divided
- 8 slices ginger
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 16 cups water
- 4 large eggs, hard boiled
- 4 ounces bacon, cooked, drained, chopped
- 4 portions fresh ramen noodles
- 2 cups leftover turkey, shredded
In a large stock pot, add the turkey carcass, leftover vegetables, 3 scallions, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, and water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat, allowing it to simmer for up to 3 hours. You can adjust the amount of water that you use based on the size of your bird, see below.
Chop the remaining 3 scallions and set aside.
Once the broth has finished simmering prepare your noodles according to the package directions.
Divide your noodles into bowls and cover with the hot broth. Add turkey, bacon, eggs, and chopped scallions to each bowl and serve.
*Note: If you do not still have your turkey carcass then just use your favorite chicken or vegetable broth simmered with scallion and ginger. For each pound of your original turkey use 1 cup of broth. For example a 16-pound bird will would use 16 cups of broth.
Leftover Vegetable Dishes
Try combining any leftover vegetable dishes that you have into a fresh breakfast frittata! It is a great way to disguise leftovers and prevent waste. Below is a basic frittata recipe, but remember you can add as many of your vegetable leftover to this as you want! Be creative!
- 6 large eggs
- 1 handful shredded cheese
- 2 cups leftover vegetables of your choice
- salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork. Add cheese and seasonings and stir to combine.
Spray your cooking vessel with a non-stick cooking spray. Add your vegetables and the pour the egg mixture over the top.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the center is set and the edges have browned slightly.
*Note: Frittatas can be prepared in non-stick skillets, baking pans, or pie pans. Just find the right pan that works for you. Also note that if you use fresh greens like spinach or kale double the amount of vegetables listed above.
Turkey & Waffles
Try this play on chicken and waffles! It’s a great way to use that leftover stuffing that doesn’t seem to have any other use. Try topping them with a savory thyme gravy instead of maple syrup.
- 5 cups leftover dressing or stuffing
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Place the dressing/stuffing into a microwave-safe bowl and heat until warmed through.
Beat in the eggs first and then chicken broth. Mix well until combined. (*Note- you may need to add more broth if you are having trouble mixing and your batter is not becoming smooth).
Spray your waffle iron with a non-stick spray and preheat until desired temperature is reached. Scoop approximately ¾ cup to 1 cup of dressing batter and press into center of iron.
Do not remove the waffle until it is browned thoroughly on top and bottom. They will cook longer than regular waffles.
Remove once they are brown and crispy! Top with turkey, gravy, and maybe even some cranberry sauce. Enjoy!
Leftover Mashed Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes
This ingenious way to save leftover mashed potatoes really helps to transform them into a totally different type of dish. This is a great hands-on recipe to do with kids. Freeze these little gnocchi and pull them out for a quick sophisticated dinner.
- 2 cups cold mashed potatoes
- 1 cup all purpose flour, divided
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
Pour 1/2 cup flour onto your work surface or cutting board. Pour all of the mashed potatoes over the flour.
Using your hands mold a small indent or well into the center of the mashed potatoes. Pour the egg and salt into this indentation. Dump the remaining flour over the top of the mixture.
Begin working and mixing the dough together. You can use your hands or a pastry scraper. Continue working until a dough forms. If the dough is too sticky to handle or roll then add more flour until the right consistency is achieved. Be careful not to add too much flour though.
Divide your dough into 4 pieces.
Roll each dough out to about ¾ inch long rolls. Using your pastry cutter or a knife cut the rope every 3/4 inch, making the small gnocchi.
Using your thumb make a small indent in each gnocchi that you make. Doing this helps the pasta hold sauce better once it is prepared.
*Note: To freeze your gnocchi place them evenly spaced on a floured baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Remove from the freezer and quickly place into a plastic bag or jar and put back into the freezer. To cook the gnocchi place them in boiling salted water and cook until they begin to float. You can then pan sear them in butter if you desire.
Leftover Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry BBQ Sauce
This is a great way to reuse that leftover cranberry sauce without throwing it away. We don’t often find uses for cranberry sauce on the other 364 days of the year, but you may find that this recipe is a good enough reason to keep some on hand all the time! Adapted from a recipe on www.feastingonart.com.
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 can cranberry sauce (14 ounces)
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup hot sauce of your choice (optional ingredient)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Black pepper to taste
*Notes: You can use cranberry sauce with or without whole cranberries.
Add all of the ingredients to the sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mixture reaches a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has reached the thickness you desire.
Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly before serving, and completely before storing.
*Note: Refrigerate your sauce for up to 2 months. Use your sauce for chicken wings, shredded pork sandwiches, or as the base for a BBQ chicken pizza. YUM! You can also freeze your fresh sauce and save it for a summer BBQ!
Common Refrigerator Times for leftovers:
- Soups & Stews: 3-4 days
- Gravies: 1-2 days
- Cooked turkey or meat dishes: 3-4 days
- Cooked poultry dishes: 3-4 days
- Casseroles: 3-4 days
- Pasta or potato salad: 3-5 days
You can get any of these things into the freezer and they will last longer!
- You can freeze all kinds of things like: Gravies, cooked meats, casseroles, pastas, fruits, vegetables, broths, soups, stews, and the list goes on and on.
- Freezing your leftover can help you keep them for 6-8 months depending on the product.
- Remember to freeze your foods in airtight containers to prevent freezer burn.
- Try freezing items in edible portion sizes to help with consistency.
Remember that your Thanksgiving leftovers need to be back into the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking or they may need to be thrown away.
When you are reheating leftovers the internal temperature of the dish needs to reach 165 degrees.
Once you thaw out these leftovers many of them can not be reheated for a third time in order to prevent the risk for food borne illness. All of the above recipes can be frozen. That's it for Thanksgiving leftovers. We hope this gives you enough to enjoy those leftovers longer!