Add Some Pizazz to Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Check out these recipes to make the most of all that turkey still in your fridge.

You've eaten your way through several plates of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberry sauce, drank a glass – or three  – of wine and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or your favorite college or NFL team play. Now what? 

While your holiday shopping list may come to your mind, I'm thinking about all of the turkey and side dishes left over from your Thanksgiving feast! Here are a few ideas to use those yummy holiday leftovers.

For a filling breakfast, spread butter on toasted bread. Top with a sunny-side-up egg and pour on a bit of gravy. Add a slice of turkey if you want. 

Make a sandwich, Thanksgiving style. Instead of using the usual mayonnaise and mustard, spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce and stuffing on both sides of a roll. Add turkey and top off with salad greens, like arugula, which adds a fresh peppery bite, or make your usual chicken salad but use chopped up turkey instead.

For a quick snack, try turkey quesadillas. Heat vegetable or canola oil in pan. Mix together cranberry sauce with a touch of finely diced fresh jalapeno. Spoon the mixture on half of a flour tortilla, or use mashed potatoes instead. Add shredded turkey and sprinkle on cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a little bit of both cheeses. Fold the tortilla in half and heat in a pan on both sides equally until the cheese is melted and the turkey is warm. Use these same ingredients to make nachos, but use pickled jalapenos instead. 

For something hearty, instead of chicken, make turkey noodle soup. In a large pot, heat olive oil. Sauté a small diced onion for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of finely chopped celery and carrots each. Cook an additional 4 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. Let cook for 1 minute, then pour in 6 cups of chicken broth, or for a less salty alternative, cut the chicken broth in half and use water for the remaining 3 cups. Add a bay leaf and let simmer for 30 minutes. Mix in 2 cups of chopped turkey and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. 

While the soup is cooking, make your favorite pasta noodles. To avoid a mushy texture, don't mix them in with the soup. Instead, keep separate and spoon noodles into individual bowls. Ladle the soup on top and enjoy. Store the soup and noodles in different containers.

Cooked turkey lasts about three days in the refrigerator. If you want to freeze your leftover turkey, think ahead and slice and divide into single portions. It will last a good three months in your freezer. 

Whether you try these suggestions or your own, get your whole family involved, including the kids, and be creative. Who knows? You might make a great new lunch for school, a quick dinner that's delicious year round or a delectable treat for the cold nights ahead. 


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