It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving Day without lots of leftovers – but there’s much more that can be done with leftovers than just standing around the kitchen all evening and pulling at what’s left of the turkey! But after all the time and effort you put into planning your Thanksgiving Day dinner, you’ve earned a rest. Read on, and you’ll discover that you don’t need any complicated advance planning to turn those leftovers into a variety of tasty dishes that can last you through the holiday weekend and even longer!
Quick and Easy Ideas for Thanksgiving Day Leftovers
You probably already have your own favorite ways to serve the remains of the Thanksgiving turkey. But what about all those other leftovers? If you made a vegetable side dish and there’s still some left over from Thanksgiving dinner, cut up the veggies and they’ll be great the next day as part of a delicious and healthy breakfast omelet. Turn cold mashed potatoes into skillet-fried potato pancakes or hash browns for a finishing touch. Sweet potatoes will work for this too. You can also toss leftover vegetables, potatoes (not mashed) and the turkey carcass, along with extra seasonings, into a big pot to make a hearty soup or stew. Or stir fry the vegetables with some turkey that you’ve cut into strips, and toss in a handful of walnuts for some extra crunch. Blend leftover cranberry sauce with softened cream cheese, and you’ve got a unique breakfast spread for toast or bagels. If you want something a bit fancier, spread the cranberry sauce on the top of a small round brie cheese, then heat it in the oven or microwave, just until the cheese softens. Serve with crackers as a tasty game day hors d’oeuvre. And to give those leftover turkey sandwiches some added flair, buy a loaf of artisan-style bread (available at many supermarkets or specialty food stores) and some flavored mayo or mustard.
Thanksgiving Day Leftover Storage
Post-Thanksgiving cleanup can be almost as exhausting as preparing the meal. But instead of hastily wrapping up leftovers after dinner and shoving them into whatever spare space you can find in the refrigerator, take a few extra minutes to carefully package them for quick and easy after-Thanksgiving eating. Use smaller containers, which are good for individual servings at home or work or school. If there’s sliced turkey left over, wrap up just a few slices for sandwiches or salads or late-night snacking. Freeze an untouched casserole, and you’ll have a handy main dish or appetizer for later use. Make sure to remove leftover stuffing from inside the turkey before putting it away, to prevent bacteria from developing. And remember to store Thanksgiving Day leftovers in airtight and leak proof containers and refrigerate them just a few hours after cooking.
Thanksgiving Leftovers for Others
Sometimes the thought of looking at one more after-Thanksgiving turkey drumstick is just too much to bear, but you’ve still got a refrigerator stuffed full of leftovers. How about giving some of those leftovers away? The week before Thanksgiving, call a local shelter or food back and ask about the donation policy. They’re often happy to take untouched leftovers like complete casseroles, bread and packaged goods. Have some disposable containers on hand, and make up to-go packages for your Thanksgiving dinner guests. If you live in an apartment building, put together an appetizing-looking plate of leftovers for the janitor, doorman or other management personnel. Invite a new neighbor over for Friday dinner. Make a leftover dessert platter and drop it off at a nearby hospital or senior citizen residence.