Once the Thanksgiving feast is over and done, the dishes have been cleared and washed, and the leftovers have been packed away, it’s easy to think your holiday “work” is done. But for many of us, Thanksgiving doesn’t end with the meal. Often, we still have a houseful of guests that, despite their declaration of never eating again after Thursday’s over-indulgences, still need to be fed for a few days. That’s where a little creative planning and some Thanksgiving leftovers can make all the difference.
If you have house guests for the holidays – or simply want to feed your own family with a bounty of Thanksgiving leftovers, then we’ve got you covered. We’ve taken a look at some of our favorite recipe sites and found a fantastic selection of fun, creative ways to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers. Far from your standard day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, these dishes are a great way to make the most of your holiday meal.
To make our list, the following recipes each had to offer:
- Unique flavors
- Easy preparation
- Creative uses of standard leftovers
If you follow our ever popular Best of Richmond series, then you know that we usually rank our selections from 1-5. However, for this “Best of” list, we’re going to let you be the judge. We found that each of these recipes was so good that it was hard to pick a favorite. So give them a try and let us know which of these Thanksgiving leftovers recipes your family loved the most!
In the meantime, if you know of a great recipe idea, let us know! Drop us a line anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 25-30 minutes
If your house works like mine, then you usually end up with a healthy portion of leftover sweet potatoes. I love them, but my kids…not so much. So what better way to use up those leftovers (and get your kids to eat sweet potatoes) than in delicious homemade cupcakes? This recipe, by way of Nellie’s Free Range Eggs, uses leftover sweet potato puree along with other staple ingredients that you most likely already have in your pantry. Best of all, there’s no need for frosting, because these tasty treats call for a whole heap of melted marshmallows on top. With easy prep and simple ingredients, these cupcakes will be a hit long after Thanksgiving is done.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Few things satisfy winter weather appetites better than a steaming bowl of chili. For this post-Thanksgiving version, traditional ground beef is switched out for leftover turkey and combined with pinto beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, and the perfect blend of seasonings. We especially love this recipe because it allows you to use both white and dark meat, ensuring that no turkey goes to waste, even if you have picky eaters. The chefs at Food Network, our source for this recipe, also suggest another way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. Swap out more traditional pairings for chili like rice or cornbread for leftover mashed potatoes. Before you know it, you’ll have full bellies and empty leftover containers!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
If you love the flavors of your Thanksgiving feast, but don’t necessarily want to recreate the same meal, this casserole will be your new day-after-Thanksgiving go-to. With super simple prep, it’s easy to use up all of your Thanksgiving dinner components in a way that is fresh and new, but full of your favorite flavors. This recipe, which we found thanks to Our Life Tastes Good, combines turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and cranberries, adds in a little mayo to hold it all together, and gets topped off with melted cheese to make a perfect meal for family, guests, and everyone in between. We would even suggest topping it off with some leftover gravy…why? Because everything’s better with gravy, that’s why!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
There are times you come across a recipe that calls for “seasonal” ingredients, but it’s so good, you find yourself making it all year round. This is that kind of recipe. While it uses your traditional Thanksgiving leftovers like turkey, stuffing, and gravy, the end result is a total transformation from the traditional to the unexpected. We found this recipe on AllRecipes via contributor abbeydave2003 – and boy, are we glad we did! All you have to do is grab a box of jumbo shells, add in your Thanksgiving leftovers along with some cream cheese, parmesan, mozzarella, and mayo, and you’ll have a pan of cheesy goodness that will satisfy a crowd in the days after Thanksgiving …or anytime.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Turkey Tetrazzini is like most of the dishes I have on Thanksgiving – I forget just how good it is until I actually have it again. This recipe is no exception. Along with standard pantry items that you most likely already have on hand, it uses leftover turkey paired with pasta and panko breadcrumbs to create a dish that is creamy and crunchy all at the same time. Brought to you by the popular food blog, The Wicked Noodle, this version of Turkey Tetrazzini makes it easy to feed a house full of guests or satisfy your family with a quick and easy meal that tastes like you spent a lot more time and effort than you did. In fact, we bet you’ll find yourself coming back to this dish every Thanksgiving…and more.
Want even more great ideas for your Thanksgiving leftovers? Be sure to see our 2017 edition of Best Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers here!