Ten Things to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers

Hopefully, you’ve had a lovely holiday.  Now the fridge is packed with pieces of turkey, bits of cranberry and stuffing galore.  What are you going to do with all this food, and how are you going to prepare it so that you don’t tire of the turkey before it gets consumed.  In the interest of frugality, you’ve got to use it all up.  So what are you going to do?

  1. If you do nothing else, make Turkey Stock:  Throw the turkey carcass into a huge pot with a little bit of oil and brown for a few minutes.  Then add water to cover the turkey, plus three cut up carrots, three cut stalks of celery, and two cut onions.  Include the carrot skins, celery ends and onion skins for extra good color.  A bay leaf and two teaspoons of thyme make excellent seasonings.  Simmer for several hours, strain and chill.  Freeze in small containers or ice cube trays and use like chicken stock.  (Here’s my chicken stock recipes for more details.)
  2. White Chili:  Traditionally made with chicken, turkey makes a fine substitute.  Check out this recipe from allrecipes.com (obviously, you’re using already cooked turkey and will have to adjust for that) or search the web for your own variety.  It freezes well, so you can easily spread your turkey into next month.
  3. Dressing Patties:  Leftover stuffing and biscuits make another dinner side dish.
  4. Turkey Pot Pie:  Start with two pie crusts, store bought or homemade.  Place one crust in a pie plate.  Mix together a can of cream soup (potato is excellent, celery is flavorful, chicken and mushroom work fine as well), a half cup of milk and a cup or two of veggies (leftovers, frozen, or canned mixed).  I like to add some pepper and thyme, as well as some onion if it’s available.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  Campbell’s biscuit topped recipe is available here.
  5. Turkey Salad:  Use your favorite chicken salad recipe, or just mixed diced white meat turkey with mayonnaise.  Add in chopped celery or onion, sweet relish, lemon juice and/or salt and pepper to taste.  Great in a sandwich or on crackers.
  6. Potato cakes:  Mix leftover mashed potatoes (between one and two cups) with a beaten egg.  Optional, yummy add-ins include some onion (sauteed or not), dried onion flakes or powder, salt, pepper, shredded cheese, hot pepper sauce, and crumbled bacon.  If the mixture is too thin, add some flour.  Form into patties and cook in a saute pan with butter until hot through, approximately five minutes on each side.  Yum!  (You can also bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.)
  7. Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole:  I can’t wait to try it!
  8. Cranberry Pork Roast in the Slow Cooker:  Season a small pork roast with salt, pepper and garlic powder and brown in a small pan.  In a separate bowl, mix leftover cranberry sauce or relish (at least 1/2 cup, a can of pineapple with juice (crushed or chunks), and 1/2 cup soy sauce.  Place one sliced onion in the bottom of the slow cooker, top with pork roast, and pour fruit mixture over top.  Cook for 5-6 hours on low, until the temperature reaches 160 degrees.
  9. Leftover Soup:  Bring 4-6 cups of turkey or chicken stock to a boil in a large pot.  Add 1-2 cups of leftover turkey and somewhere around a cup of leftover stuffing (without nuts, fruit or oysters).  Then include any or all of the following:  vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, onions, green beans, diced yams or sweet potatoes, green bean casserole ); mashed potatoes; and gravy.
  10. Curried Sweet Potato Soup:  Puree leftover sweet potatoes or yams (but not casserole) with onions or leeks, chicken or turkey stock, and curry powder.  Heat through.

I realize that most of these recipes are pretty loose with the measurements and directions.  Thankfully, they work that way.  If you’re intimidated or want more precise instructions, I highly recommend allrecipes.com.  I use them nearly daily!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.