Creative Ways to Use Leftovers
Thanksgiving leftovers don’t have to be the same old boring sandwiches and soups. Here are some Greatist-approved healthy, delicious, and creative ways to use up those leftovers.
Photo: Raymond/Ang Sarap
Turkey and Corn Enchiladas: This remix takes that turkey south of the border. Shred leftover turkey and roll in whole-wheat tortillas with corn and grated cheese. Lay the wraps flat in a casserole dish, top with store-bought enchilada sauce and a sprinkle of cheese, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
Turkey Hash: Sauté diced potatoes, peppers, and chopped onions in a splash of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add chopped turkey and parsley or cilantro. Serve with eggs for a hearty breakfast!
Turkey Chili: Start by sautéing a chopped pepper and onion. Add one can of diced tomatoes, one can of drained and rinsed beans (superfood alert!), and 2 cups of chicken or turkey broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer until a bit thickened, about one hour. Stir in shredded leftover turkey and heat until warmed through, 15-20 minutes.
Photo by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Turkey-Stuffed Peppers: Warm shredded turkey, marinara sauce, grated Parmesan cheese, leftover greens (like spinach or kale), and stuffing (or any combination of leftovers available). Fill large bell peppers with the mixture, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Potato pancakes: Combine leftover mashed potatoes with one egg and grated Parmesan cheese (about ¼ cup). Season with salt and pepper. Heat a lightly greased pan and spoon batter into the pan, cooking until lightly browned. Top with nonfat Greek yogurt and enjoy!
Mashed potato soup: Slice two or three leeks crosswise, and sauté in a tall-sided pot until soft. Add leftover mashed potatoes and chicken broth (about twice as much broth as mashed potatoes). Heat until warmed through, stirring frequently. Puree the soup (immersion or standard blender work equally as well) and serve warm.
Stuffing meatloaf: Combine 2 cups of leftover stuffing, one pound ground meat (any kind), 1 egg, salt, and pepper. Form into a loaf in an oven-safe dish and bake for 45-50 minutes at 400 degrees, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serve with store-bought marinara or leftover cranberry sauce.
“Meat”balls: Add dried fruit and nuts to leftover stuffing. Rehydrate slightly, if necessary (with broth or marinara sauce, for example), and form into meatball-sized spheres. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet for 20-25 minutes at 375.
Sweet Potato Hash: Warm stuffing and cooked sweet potatoes together in a pan and cook until lightly browned. If necessary, moisten with broth and toss in leftover greens. Heat until warmed through.
Omelet or Frittata: Combine assorted leftover veggies with a few eggs for an easy-peasy breakfast (or lunch, or dinner). Cooked greens, starches (like cubed potatoes or sweet potatoes), corn, olives, mushrooms, and onions are all great additions. Cook as omelet (with the veggies as a filling) or frittata (with the veggies mixed in).
Salad Toppers: This one’s easier than pie. Start with a bed of spinach— one of the healthiest salad greens around— and top it with any and every leftover veggie (or meat… or cranberry sauce).
Pizza: Start with a store-bought whole-wheat crust (or, use mashed potatoes to make the crust). Swap out cranberry sauce or mashed sweet potatoes for standard pizza sauce, then top with cheese and any other leftover veggies.
Cranberry syrup: Syrup of any sort could hardly be called healthy, but this version is the closest we’ve found. Reheat leftover cranberry sauce with a small amount of water (about a 1 ½ tablespoons water per cup of sauce). Strain out the whole berries, leaving a liquid syrup than can be used to top pancakes or flavor cocktails.
Photo by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Cranberry salad dressing: Simply add oil and vinegar and whisk for a quick and easy salad or sandwich topper.
Cranberry Yogurt: Mix cranberry sauce and chopped nuts into nonfat Greek yogurt for a sweet-n’-tart protein-packed breakfast. To sweeten it up, add a drizzle of honey.
Syrup: We’d never leave behind wine, but the various drips left in all those bottles can be combined to make a delicious syrup. Combine the equivalent of one bottle of leftover wine, a cup of sugar, a small palm-full of cloves, a cinnamon stick, and the zest of one orange. Heat in a saucepan to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the syrup reaches the desired consistency. Strain out the cloves, zest, and cinnamon stick. Try with red meat, or for a healthier dessert, serving over ricotta.
Future Flavoring: Drain the ends of all those wine bottles into an ice cube tray. Freeze and transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Pop out a cube or two anytime a recipe calls for wine.
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