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The Day After: What do you do with the leftovers?

Of course, sandwiches, and soup from the frame - but have you any unusual suggestions about what to do otherwise w/ the rest of the goods?

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  1. I love to make ham salad. I dice the ham, then I add some mayo. If I have any kind of cream cheese and olive filling left from stuffed celery, I would add that too . If I had a good leftover creamy salad dressing, some of that would go in. Next comes a bit of celery, salt, pepper, black olives and a handful of grated Swiss. So yummy heaped on a toasted English muffin.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sisterfunkhaus

      We didn't have a ham, but I'd buy one for this!!

      1. re: mamachef

        Hey turkey salad is great too. And I sometimes make it with cream cheese, then put it in crescent rolls rolled in butter and parsly, to make a nice 70s retro meal.

      2. re: sisterfunkhaus

        Ham salad, my favorite! I have only found one restaurant in the SF Bay Area that still does ham salad, aka deviled ham on their menu. Honeybaked Ham used to make a version.

      3. I'm assuming that we're talking here about the traditional American leftovers of turkey? In which case, I'll have to jump us forward a few weeks as turkey is the usual Xmas Day meal in the UK.

        Stock from the carcass, of course. And decent pieces of meat go in sandwiches or there's a turkey and chips meal.

        The more scaggy bits get mixed with leftover stuffing , any chestnuts, sausages , bits of bacon and a moistening of cream. It gets piled onto a sheet of supermarket ready-rolled puff pastry. The corners of the pastry are then drawn almost together, so you have a sort of open pasty type thingy. It's then baked.

        Any leftover veg and spuds - normally crushed together and fried as a sort of "bubble & squeak". Good lunchtime food - needs a slice of ham and a dollop of HP brown sauce. Possibly a poached egg if you feel particularly peckish.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Harters

          Scaggy bits - love that!! Must try it!
          And the veg and spuds one, too: I have a feeling I'll be feeling just that kinda peckish today. I had planned to make the stuffing & bird into croquettes for lunch....but I'm reconsidering, after this. I have some creamed onions, and some plain shredded cabbage that needs a place to be, and they'd both fit in beautifully for this one....

        2. Any quick reheating tips for a mini-Thanksgiving plate of the usuals (turkey, potatoes, mac and cheese, stuffing)?

          6 Replies
          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Yes indeedy: I've got to do the same thing. Bring it to room temp., and cover w/ a dampened paper towel, and nuke. Alternatively; bring to room temp. and heat, covered, in a medium oven.

            1. re: mamachef

              Great, I was hoping for a microwave option as I don't feel like bothering with the oven :) The carby sides always get piping out in the oven, I was just worried about the turkey, but perhaps if I cover with gravy before heating it help keep it moister.

            2. re: fldhkybnva

              Mac & cheese on Thanksgiving? An embarrassment of riches! The gilded lily!

              1. re: EWSflash

                Staple on my grandmother's Thanksgiving for 85 years now :)

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  Lucky you!! I don't make it for this holiday, so it's become a lovely, heartwarming tradition for me to go totally moooooooch a plateful from the naybs. At least, I find it lovely and heartwarming - they may have another word for it altogether - but they always have some for me!!

            3. I like to eat my left-over mashed potatoes by putting a big dollop in my bowl of turkey broth.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chatsworth

                Hey!! I used to love canned CN soup poured over my leftover mashies!

              2. Turkey enchiladas are one of our favorites leftover dishes, either a red or green chile sauce, tacos, too. Sometimes I get a wild hair and mix together diced turkey, sliced black olives, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed diced onions, a few fresh-roasted and diced poblano or Anaheim chiles with some gravy and a little sour cream and serve over rice, pasta,a baked potato, etc., with some parmigiana grated over the top.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: EWSflash

                    we love the leftover turkey enchiladas too...nice to have spicy Mexican after so much bland but salty Thanksgiving foods...Epi's recipe works for us.

                  2. I make turkey gumbo. It takes a little time, but it's soooo good!

                    Here's a twist, and a great way to put to use your leftover turkey. If you can't find fresh okra, you can buy it in a jar. I find a hot verison at local supermarkets that works well. Don't skip it though...It acts as a necessary thickener. If you are not experienced at making a roux, be patient. Don't allow it to burn, or you'll have to start over. It's easy if you take your time, don't overheat, and stir it constantlly.

                    3 cups okra, sliced 1/2 inch thick
                    1 pound smoked sausage or andouiIle sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
                    Turkey (or chicken) meat, about 2 pounds, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
                    Louisiana hot sauce or ground cayenne pepper to taste
                    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
                    Salt to taste
                    1/2 cup oil or shortening or bacon drippings
                    1 cup all-purpose flour
                    1 cup chopped onion
                    1 cup chopped green onions
                    1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
                    1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
                    1/4 cup chopped celery
                    1 gallon of stock, (16 cups) more or less, made from the leftover turkey, or use chicken stock.
                    1 tablespoon chopped garlic

                    Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat, then add the flour, reduce heat a bit and make a dark roux. Stir constantlly, and make sure not to burn the roux! This will take about 30 or 40 minutes.

                    To the roux add the onions, green onions, bell pepper, parsley, and celery, stirring after each addition, and cook until the onions are clear. Add 1 cup of the stock and stir well to form a thick paste. Stir in the minced garlic, then the remaining stock. Stir in the okra, sausage, and chicken. Season with hot sauce, Worcestershire, and salt; stir to mix well. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve over cooked rice. This can be frozen in containers to be eaten another day


                    1 Reply
                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Definitely creative; at least in the sense that I'd never ever even think of it!

                      2. Leftover lamb will be turned into a tagine tonight with the leftover olives, some preserved lemon and some dried fruit.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                          That would go so nicely w/ a good, not-fruity red wine!! How many bottles shall I bring for dinner?

                          1. re: mamachef

                            I do have a Carmenere that I think will work but please bring whatever you prefer. Better hurry though... it smells so good I know it won't last long..... :)

                        2. I haven't ever formally done this, (except on my own plate) but Taste of Home (as well as several other sites) have a Thaksgiving leftover casserole that I am trying this year. The recipe i'm leaning toward at the moment involves making sort of a nest/crust of leftover stuffing, and then layers of leftover sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, turkey, the recipes mainly call for cream of something soup ( I will use mixture of cream and turkey gravy and or stock) topped with mashed potatoes and sprinkled with shredded cheddar, baked for 15 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.

                          My other usual use is a turkey tetrazzini. But I don't put mashed or sweet potatoes or cranberry in that, so not quite as efficient as use:)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sunflwrsdh

                            I'm a big fan of the sweet/salty thing, but both the sweets and the crans would put it "over" for me. If I had to choose, I'd definitely use the crans - it sounds like a sort of inside-out hot turkey sandwich plate. Then to use up the sweets and the potatoes and the rest of the berries, I'd puree the first two, w/ some stock and cream to make a soup, and swirl the berries into it at serving, for garnish and a counterpoint. Maybe even throw a little ginger and coco milk into that puree, exit the crans, and sprinkle w/ some minced cilantro. You've really struck my creative culinary nerve, sunflwrsdh!

                          2. We never have left-over's (thank god), menu planning goes a long way to make sure you don't over prep. But at the end of the evening we let everyone take home whatever they want, we even have to go containers and viola, no left-over's and it makes it a snap to clean and organize the kitchen. The only item I have that I don't usually stock in my kitchen that is some fresh tarragon, but I will be using that up tonight.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: RetiredChef

                              I do the whole big Thanksgiving dinner thing just so I *can* have leftovers! Turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pies, turkey enchiladas ... I freeze meal-sized portions of leftover turkey and stuffing for quick meals in the coming months. I also freeze leftover stuffing. One of my new favorites is pumpkin/ancho mole (recipe at http://patismexicantable.com/2011/10/...), which goes well with turkey. Leftover sweet potatoes make for good pies.

                            2. I make a kind of raggedy pot pie. Layer of mashed potatoes in a casserole dish, toasted, sometimes a layer of sweet potatoes, then filled with turkey, thinned gravy, vegetables, topped with biscuit dough. We've added layers of corn and green bean casserole, too. Sounds like it might be gross, but we all love it.

                              1. Make our guests take them home with them.

                                1. One thing I doi with leftover slices of Turkey.....if I'M going to have them hot...........is to reheat them in some Chicken or Turkey Broth, rather than using the microwave ( althought you could heat the broth in it)......Keeps it more moist

                                  1. Most will get eaten (by folks that like them more than I do), carcasses are in the crockpots making stock, leftover creamed spinach will go into a frittata tomorrow-it was a nice T'giving...

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: thistle5

                                      The leftover turkey cut-up meat, all vegetables, lemon zest, chopped onions, a few chopped potatoes, gravy, celery, some pepper, and the remaining herbs (Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley) go into chicken broth, and simmer for 2 hours.

                                      The emphasis is on a hot, thin, but hearty broth to deal with the snow and ice, while packing everything out from the mountains and getting back home.

                                      1. re: thistle5

                                        I had to jealously hoard the last of the spinach so I could have it under poached eggs this morning. I love the idea of using it for a frittata.

                                      2. We have a lot of leftover turkey and my brother and mom have left town, leaving the leftovers to our family. My husband is a vegetarian, and I don't really love turkey so that leaves my daughter to take care of the leftovers. Since we have a lot of turkey left and I have some homeless men to feed next week, I am going to make a couple of turkey and something or other casseroles for next week.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jlhinwa

                                          J, that's so kind of you. I know where your radar goes, and I love that it's not just a holiday thing w/ you and your loving community. That hot meal can go a long, long ways towards a brighter day for somebody. Thanks for doing that. :)

                                        2. For lunch, we took turkey salad (Duke's, celery, Penzey's Sunny Spain, and dill) over to a friend's, along with the sweet potato and apple leftovers, and had sandwiches with her leftover spinach salad and our sweet potatoes, cold. For dessert, after a walk around her property and feeding pears to the donkeys next door, we had frozen peanut butter pie from another friend. And she knocked some of the pears out of the pear tree for me, so I have a bucket of those to can soon.

                                          Needing a quickie light meal for dinner later, I made soup - turkey broth that I'd made from the carcass yesterday, dark and light meat, cannellini, some little orange pastas made of carrots and squash, mushrooms and chiffonade of the kohlrabi leaves from the farmer's market the other day. Sprinkled some shredded parmesan on top. It was really good, and the kohlrabi leaves were a nice treat.

                                          Oh, and our friends who hosted our Thanksgiving dinner made way too much of their shiitake mushroom cream gravy, so they gave me about a quart of it. Since it's not very thick, I thought that ir would make a great base for oyster bisque. So that's what we will have in the next day or two. I don't think I'll need to add a thing except the oysters.

                                          I'm thinking of trying to make turkey hash the same way I make corned beef hash. Don't know how that will work, but it sounds like it could be good.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                            Resourceful and totally delicious-sounding, jmc. Especially the bisque. And the hash will work fine; just add some gravy and a splash of cream for browning, and eat up. Would be awesome w/ some diced potatoes, either sweet or white, and maybe some chopped apple and leeks....or plain, for that matter.

                                          2. My suggestion is to postpone your leftovers because on some busy night a month from now you will be SO glad to find them in the freezer. Put the stuffing in a baking dish (if you don't have any left, make up some Stove Top). Cover this with slices of turkey. On top, put the gravy (if you don't have any left, use some Campbell or Boston Market from cans or jars). Wrap this up and hide it away in the freezer. Life gets very busy on toward Christmas and this dish will be a treasure to find. Not sure what you mean by "the rest of the goods" but most vegetable dishes can be frozen as well and would go nicely with your turkey, dressing, and gravy. Ditto cranberry sauce.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Querencia

                                              That's a hit of good (maybe sanity-saving) suggestion, lady. :)

                                            2. Thanksgiving Cakes. Equal parts chopped turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Moisten with leftover gravy or a little turkey/chicken stock. Make into patties and fry until crunchy on the outside. Works best if the ingredients have been brought to room temp in the microwave. Great with a side of cranberry sauce.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                Oh my gosh...that sounds soooo good!

                                              2. Once again Chef John comes up with a timely blog post that looks pretty good to me - Leftover Turkey Manicotti.

                                                1. I mention this every year but don't think it will ever catch on for too many. Wife of Kit Carson Soup....I am looking for the recipe that I pulled out, along with my Turkey Pot Pie recipe and you know what? Looks like I threw it out along with my Thanksgiving lists. Haha what else is new. Luckily I haven't put garbage out since Tuesday so looks like I'll be getting the rubber gloves out and digging shortly. Glad I mentioned it now.

                                                  1. I always go for a traditional re-do Thanksgiving plate but always wrestle with dry turkey breast. This year I finally was clued into a perfect solution - microwave in a damp paper towel. The meat was perfect, perhaps even moister than the first round on Thursday. Just thought I'd add that tip in case someone hadn't heard of it to the leftover wrap up.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                      In a lettuce leaf would work well too.

                                                    2. I like Jimmy Kimmel's approach. He carefully removes all the turkey meat from the bones and puts the meat in Tupperware or sealed in plastic bags. Then he puts it in the fridge. Two weeks later he comes back and throws it all out. Says he's been doing it like this for years!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Bob Brooks

                                                        LOL. I'm genetically programmed to not be able to do that, but it gave me a good chuckle. Which I needed today. :)

                                                      2. Our favorite leftover go-to's are hot open-faced turkey sandwiches - turkey slices/pieces reheated in gravy & served up on toast with Swiss Cheese slices melted on top. Sometimes we sub in Blue Cheese; Turkey Tetrazzini - always a favorite; plain old cold turkey sandwiches - turkey slices with Swiss cheese with mayo, lettuce, & freshly-ground black pepper; Turkey a la King - turkey heated through with mixed vegetables in a cheesey bechamel sauce & served over Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells; different soups of course. Honestly, the list is endless. Leftover turkey can be used in literally ANY recipe calling for cooked poultry.

                                                        1. When we had a full carcass, I used to make turkey jook and dump in the leftover stuffing, brussel sprouts, gravy and bits and pieces of meat and skin.