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2013 Thanksgiving Leftovers

These threads pop up every year but I think they are fun for new and different ideas and remembering the old favorites. I have a ton of leftovers so better come up with a few good ideas other than a plate of Thanksgiving over again. Tonight I plan to repurpose the mashed potatoes to serve with a flat iron steak, turkey soup is on the menu for the weekend as well as turkey tacos. How are you planning to use your Thanksgiving leftovers?

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  1. I'm dealing with both turkey and lamb since we had turkey earlier in the week and lamb last night.

    Turkey will be turned into enchiladas and enchilada like casserole (for me, no tortillas.) Several pans will be labelled, wrapped and frozen for easy meals on nights we're busy.

    Turkey and queso fresco stuffed green chilis will be made and frozen.

    Mulligatawny soup will be made this weekend (originally planned for tonight- I seem to be out of coconut milk.)

    The thicker, rarer parts of the lamb (this is always planned- I temp the thinner parts to make sure they aren't overcooked and we eat those the night of cooking,) are usually turned into a Moroccan tagine with dried fruit, preserved lemons, olives, etc.

    We kept sides simple- bacon green beans, chipotle scalloped sweet potatoes and cranberry orange sauce (which remains pretty tart which is how I like it.) Those will be eaten as sides, the green beans will be gone at lunch.

    12 Replies
    1. re: weezieduzzit

      Great idea to strategically undercook so it won't be overcooked when you reheat later.

      1. re: weezieduzzit

        Ooh mulligatawny sounds good! I have never tried to make that. Is there a specific recipe you recommend? Thank you!

        1. re: Skamper

          I'll be digging for my recipe over the next few days and will try to remember to post which one it is! Remind me if I don't!

          1. re: weezieduzzit

            Breakfast of stuffing with a dash of gravy topped with a fried egg.

            1. re: rjbh20

              Great idea, much more inventive than the plate of scrambled eggs with leftover turkey I enjoyed this morning. I might have to borrow your idea for breakfast tomorrow.

            2. re: weezieduzzit

              Would still love the recipe when you find it. thanks!

            3. re: Skamper

              This one is awesome. I keep ghee all the time for panfrying and sautéing. I got a bag of garbanzo flour that keeps forever.

              I think this was a Sarah Moulton recipe.

              Mulligatawny Soup

              • 2 tablespoon ghee or canola oil
              • 1 large onion, chopped
              • 3 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
              • 1 jalapeõ chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped
              • 1 tablespoon ground corriander
              • 6 clove garlic, chopped
              • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
              • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
              • 1/4 cup all purpose or garbanzo flour
              • 1 3/4 cup red lentils
              • 9 cup chicken stock
              • 3 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
              • 1 cup low-fat unsweetened coconut milk
              • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
              • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
              • freshly ground pepper


              1. Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until browned, about 12 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, stir in the garlic, coriander, cumin and turmeric. Cook until fragrant, stirring, for 45 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute more.

              2. Pour in about 2 cups of broth and cook with the veggie until they're soft. Using a stick blender, whirl until as smooth as possible. Add the rest of the broth and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Add the lentils to the thickened broth, lower the heat and simmer, covered, until very tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit.

              3. When the lentil mixture has cooled some, puree until smooth using an immersion blender. Stir in the cilantro. Return to the heat and bring back to a medium temperature.

              4. Whisk in the coconut milk, lemon juice, and salt. Season to taste with pepper.


              I don't grate the ginger. I peel it and cut thin slices across the fibers.

              I prefer my soup with a little texture so I add only enough chicken broth to the aromatics to get a thick liquid that I purée to liquify the jalapeño and ginger root. Once that's done, I continue adding the broth and cooking the lentils. I cook the lentils until they are very soft and beginning to fall apart on their own so I end up with a thick soup with pieces of lentil. Then I add the cilantro and lemon juice.

              1. re: rainey

                Low fat coconut milk is nasty, nasty stuff full of water and stabilizers to make up for the fat not being in there- considering how little goes into each serving, use the real stuff.

            4. re: weezieduzzit

              Oh, and I'm going to attempt cranberry orange kefir smoothies.

              1. re: weezieduzzit

                Great minds think alike! Turkey enchiladas and mulligatawny happening this weekend at my house too.

                Aside from that, we have pretty manageble amounts of leftovers. The mashed potatoes, gravy and spinach souffle will probably be gone by tomorrow morning.

                1. re: weezieduzzit

                  How do you handle not overcooking the turkey in the enchiladas?

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    My filling always has enough moisture in it to keep the turkey from drying out (cheese, a splash or two of the sauce, sometimes some cream cheese if I want trashy enchiladas,) and since everything is already cooked you're really just heating everything up and melting the cheese on top when you're baking it.

                2. I didn't cook an entire dinner, just contributed a bunch of different dishes. I have a ton of sweet potatoes, turkey dressing and turkey gravy left.

                  My fiancé & I don't eat a whole lot of sweet potatoes; In fact, we didn't eat any yesterday. My future MIL made a sweet potato quick bread with walnuts yesterday that I loved so I'll be using the sweets in a rendition of the quick bread and a sweet potato layer cake with cream cheese butter cream.

                  Since I didn't cook a turkey, I have none (well, I have one in the freezer but not going to pull it out within December) so I'm thinking of pounding out chicken breast, stuffing it with dressing and making a roulade. Dip in egg wash & panko then pan seared & finished in oven. Some turkey gravy to be spooned over the top.

                  Another dish to use the dressing in will be chicken hash patties; serving with mashed potatoes & some of the gravy.
                  Rest of the gravy will be used in a soup latter on.

                    1. re: magiesmom

                      I've never had tetrazzini, but I think I should give it a try it seems like a favorite.

                      1. re: magiesmom

                        Love turkey tetrazzini. Great use for the dark meat I don't enjoy on my sandwiches.

                      2. I have already fixed turkey hash like my granny made with some of the dressing, turkey ,& gravy.
                        Turketti casserole.
                        Oh and fried potato (and sweet potato) pancakes.

                        1. I have crusts from two loaves of French bread left over. (I'm sure the stuffing would have been just as good if I'd left them on.) Any ideas as to how to use them? I hate to throw food away. Thank you!

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Skamper

                            Bread crumbs and or cut & added to a bread pudding off the top of my head....until you decide, store in your freezer.

                            1. re: Cherylptw

                              Breadcrumbs are easy and last forever if stored correctly.

                              1. re: Cherylptw

                                Finally got around to processing all the bread bits in my freezer, glad I did it, but I have a pitiful amount of crumbs compared to a square foot of frozen bits!

                                1. re: BangorDin

                                  Makes you think about just how much bread goes into a, for example, breaded chicken breast. Probably several slices of bread worth!

                                  Put that breaded chicken breast on a bun and wow. That's a lot of bread.

                              2. re: Skamper

                                I now always keep the crusts on the sourdough loaves that I cube and toast up for the stuffing; it's all good.

                                1. re: Skamper

                                  Soak in milk, puree, and add to thicken a soup

                                2. I came very close to my dream Thanksgiving, enough turkey and rolls for a few sandwiches during the UT game, about a pint of dressing with enough mushroom gravy to top it, and maybe a half cup of cranberries. No more roasted sweet potatoes. No more garlic and Romano green beans. It drives me nuts to spend days after "the event" with the fridge crammed full of tubs of unidentifiable beige foods and tents of foil.

                                  1. May or may not get around to it, but croquettes would be wonderful.
                                    Also chow mein.

                                    1. We don't have all that much turkey left over. So most of that will go to sandwiches and turkey salad. The carcass and bones are going into a stock pot with some aromatic veggies. From that stock I'll make turkey/wild rice/veggie soup.

                                      For tonight I'm thinking about making mashed potato soup with the leftover creamed pearl onions added to it. Will use the turkey stock that I made the other day for tonight's soup. I'll turn some of the leftover dinner rolls into croutons for the soup and serve the leftover cheeses, venison summer sausage and crackers on the side.

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          The turkey/wild rice/veggie soups I just make up. This is the basic "mashed potato soup" recipe I have been using for years (minus the mushrooms). I generally add or omit things depending on what I have on hand. http://www.food.com/recipe/leftover-m...

                                          Today, I have mashed potatoes and about a cup of creamed pearl onions leftover, so I'm using those instead of the sour cream, half & half and the chopped onions. Will blend it with an immersion blender.

                                      1. The braised Brussels sprouts I think are just going to be re-purposed into roasted Brussels sprouts for my mom's dinner tonight. I'll also be trying to unload my collard greens there, but they aren't really a greens crowd. Gravy is going, as well.

                                        Turkey is probably just going to go into our sandwiches next week.

                                        What I don't really know what to do with is a bunch of corn (canned) and green beans that were brought by others and then left. I guess I could make some kind of soup with the carcass?

                                        1. I just made a turkey pot pie for a Thanksgivukkah potluck at the synagogue tonight (so it had to be dairy-free--I used coconut oil for the crust, which was highly iffy).

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sciencediet

                                            Not iffy at all, coconut oil makes great crust.

                                          2. My MIL makes creamed turkey (roux, milk, salt, pepper, shredded turkey) and serves it over the leftover mashed potatoes. divine.

                                            1. I was invited to dine with friends. My assigned dish was mashed potatoes. I must have channeled a mess Sergent and made way too many...I didn't take into account how many of the diners were 70+!

                                              I'll have some with sliced leftover lamb, use the lamb and mashed for shepherds pie and add some to stock, leeks and cream for soup.

                                              I'm open to ideas! Guess I'll put off the low-carb plans for another week! :-)

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                I abandon my low carb lifestyle for a week, join me on the bandwagon. The shepherds pie sounds like a great way to use the leftovers especially with the leftover lamb.

                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                  Leftover mashed potatoes = mashed potato cakes! We've made them with and without eggs, and both methods are great. They will be served with leftover gravy, green bean casserole [made from scratch, Campbell's should be ashamed of themselves.], a ham steak that just kind of showed up and cranberry relish. Spouse's turkey is packed and frozen for sandwiches. Toasted cranberry bread for breakfast for a few days! And that's Thanksgiving......

                                                  1. re: nikkihwood

                                                    Any tips on how to turn them into pancakes?

                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                      Some recipes actually call for pancake mix, which kind of icks me out; I think that the recipes with egg make them more pancake-like.

                                                      If you flatten them well in the pan kind of smash them down, and turn them carefully with a monster wide spatula, you will get a pancake-like effect.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        This is basically how I make them, with or without the scallions or cheese.


                                                        1. re: Springhaze2

                                                          Thanks for the recipe SpringHaze2 - I do have mashed potatoes to use up.

                                                          Rolls are gone. Rest of turkey will be enchiladas with green sauce and then the remaining in turkey noodle soup using the turkey broth I made. Only one serving of green beans remain and I have no clue what to do with the gravy.

                                                2. Just made pot pies with cut up turkey meat, sauteed onions and carrots and peas with gravy and a couple of tablespoons of turkey stock to thin it. The topping was a breadcrumb mixture I made that went with green beans.

                                                  1. Freeze meat in broth. Wait 2 months. THEN I'm ready to think about pot pies and croquettes.

                                                    1. I know its over and everyone should be done with their leftovers but just to have in the back of your mind for next year. . . .

                                                      Left over stuffing - reheated in the waffle iron!

                                                      I read about it on another blog and this year I cooked Thanksgiving in another house with a waffle iron, so we gave it a try. It worked really really well - at least with the "in the bird stuffing" (which I know not everyone does these days), but it was a little wetter than the out of bird left overs. It got a nice outside crust, the inside stayed moist. I was really impressed and we all enjoyed doing it.

                                                      1. My freezer is still filled with leftover cranberry orange sauce. This stuff never ends!
                                                        I've stuffed it in a toasted sandwich filled with roasted sweet potatoes, feta and spinach.

                                                        Also made these oatmeal muffins...

                                                        1.5 cup flour
                                                        1 cup rolled oats
                                                        2 tsp baking powder
                                                        1/2 tsp baking soda
                                                        1/4 tsp salt

                                                        6 tbsp butter, softened
                                                        1/3 cup white sugar
                                                        1/3 cup dark brown sugar
                                                        1 egg
                                                        1 cup cranberry sauce (mine was pretty congealed)
                                                        6 oz vanilla yogurt

                                                        Preheat oven to 375F
                                                        Mix the first 5 dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and set aside
                                                        In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy and then beat in the sugars until nice and light. Beat in egg, cranberry sauce and vanilla yogurt.
                                                        Mix the dry mix to the wet mix until just incorporated.
                                                        Bake for 20-25 mins or until tops are golden brown


                                                        great for quick breakfast