Rethinking Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving leftovers are as much a part of the holiday tradition as the dinner itself.  Some people even think the leftovers are the best part of the meal.  But if you’ve had one too many turkey, stuffing, cranberry and mashed potato sandwiches, here are a few ideas to make the most out of everything you’ll be waking up to Friday morning.


  • Make tacos – sauté leftover turkey with onions, cumin, chili powder and salsa.  Top with cilantro, shredded red cabbage and low fat yogurt for a festive dinner.
  • Make a grilled cheese – add turkey, pear, Brie and arugula to thickly sliced rustic whole-grain bread for a grown-up version of this sandwich favorite.
  • Make a waldorf salad – toss turkey, chopped apples, celery, and toasted walnuts with a light Dijon vinaigrette.  Serve over greens for a healthy update of this classic dish.
  • Make bbq turkey sliders – toss shredded turkey with bbq sauce and place onto whole-wheat slider buns with a slice of pickle for the perfect game-viewing lunch.

Roasted Root Vegetables

  • Make a hash – top reheated root vegetables with a poached egg and a little shaved Parmesan for a hearty brunch option or a fun, breakfast for dinner, entree.
  • Make a soup – puree leftovers with low-sodium vegetable stock for a quick and easy soup.

Mixed or Green Vegetables

  • Make eggs – fold leftover vegetables into eggs to make a frittata or omelet for a light dinner or breakfast.
  • Make a stir-fry – add vegetables and turkey to a wok and stir-fry with sesame oil, soy sauce and scallions.  Place over brown rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds for a wholly different take on the traditional leftover meal.

Cranberry Sauce

  • Make a parfait – layer cranberry sauce with granola and nonfat Greek yogurt for a healthy and energizing breakfast.
  • Make pancakes/waffles – top fresh made waffles or pancakes with warmed cranberry sauce and orange zest for a wintery brunch treat.
  • Make baked goods – fold leftover cranberries into your favorite cake, scone, muffin, or bread batter.


  • Stuff your stuffing – stuff leftover stuffing into a whole roasted acorn squash, top with dried cranberries and pine nuts and let warm through and toast in the oven for a delicious and healthy dinner.
  • Make hors d’oeuvres  – freeze leftover stuffing.  Defrost before your next cocktail party; toss stuffing with olive oil, garlic, Parmesan and onions and stuff into button mushrooms caps.  Bake 25 minutes for a quick and tasty appetizer.



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