What’s for Dinner?: Thanksgiving Leftovers

Saturday, Nov 26, 2011 12:33pm  |  COMMENTS (6)

I know, I know: you made too much and you feel bad about throwing it all out, (or at least you should in this day and age!) so now you’ve got to eat it but you’re out of ideas. Hopefully, this article will help!

Ideas for leftover turkey

Everyone has their favorite leftover turkey recipe – what is yours? Soup? Chili? Enchiladas,? Curry? Pot pies? Or the curiously named turkey divan?

A great one for the kids is turkey croquettes made with chopped turkey and mashed potato mixed with onions and egg and then fried. For something a bit different there is sopa de lime – see this article in the NY Times earlier this week.

And of course, don’t forget to make a stock with the bones. In a large stockpot, combine turkey bones, 5 quarts of water, 2 chopped onions, celery, carrot, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, skimming occasionally, about 2 hours. Strain into airtight containers; cool completely. Cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 6 months.

So that covers the turkey. How about the rest of the holiday extra you have?

Here are a few ideas some of the surplus you may have bought and how to get rid of them so you won’t be looking at them next month.

Ideas for leftover pumpkin puree

Sick of pie? Try savory pumpkin risotto recipe. This is a a great dish for grown-ups and kids alike.

Fry an onion or chopped up leeks and some garlic, when soft add small pieces of bacon, once the bacon is cooked add the arborio rice and the pumpkin puree fry for a few minutes. Then gradually add the stock (follow the directions on the packet for quantity) stirring all the time until all the stock is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper and serve with some grated Parmesan.

Ideas for leftover sweet potatoes

Sweet potato, pear and chili soup makes a satisfying soup. Fry an onion in some butter or olive oil than add chopped up sweet potatoes and pear. When soft add some stock (either chicken, turkey or vegetable.) Season with a little chili powder, salt and pepper. Add a dash of lime before serving.

Ideas for leftover cranberries

These delicious little jewels are too good to compost. Cook with apples or pears to make a crisp or crumble, or even just some fruit to have with yoghurt or granola.

If you have any left over pie dough, make cranberry tartlets by rolling out the dough so it is just bigger than the cups of a mini muffin pan, top each square with cranberry sauce and fold over the corners. Brush with a mixture of egg yolk and milk (or half and half), sprinkle with sugar then bake.

Ideas for leftover brussels sprouts

If you think brussels sprouts are boring, then you’ve been cooking them wrong. Quarter and fry in olive oil and butter over a high heat. Once they start to brown add a handful of pine nuts or pumpkin seeds. Splash on a dash of balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Place in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes to crisp.

You can make a quick supper by frying sprouts and bacon and serving with pasta and some grated Parmesan.

Ideas for leftover Brie

Forgot about that wheel of Brie in the fridge? Then use in this simple preparation of Brie Quesadillas with cranberry chutney. As Brie gets hot quickly, place a little in the center of the quesadilla so it does not ooze out when cooked. Spread a little dijon mustard on the quesadilla, turkey is optional if you have not used it all in your sandwiches. Then heat the quesadilla and serve with cranberry sauce or chutney.

A word of caution

Lastly, I don’t want to sound like a doom-monger, but leftovers should only be kept about 4 days and then tossed. There is a fine line between being frugal and living dangerously – this piece in the LA Times offers good guidelines on leftovers:

If you don’t want to read the full article, they suggest the following:

  • Make sure your fridge is cold enough – 40 degrees or below and your freezer should be zero degrees or cooler
  • Cooked poultry keeps about 3-4 days in the fridge and frozen for 4 months
  • Cooked ham keeps about 3-4 days in the fridge and one to two months in the freezer
  • When reheating meat make sure it is properly heated to kill any bacteria



  1. POSTED BY wheelie07042  |  November 27, 2011 @ 10:28 am

    What? No bubble & squeak? In a catch as catch can situation there’s no better, surely!

  2. POSTED BY walleroo  |  November 27, 2011 @ 10:49 am

    Brit alert!

  3. POSTED BY hollykorus  |  November 27, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

    Roo, I hope that same freak who took a slash in my front yard on turkey day avoided your home!

    Almost no left-overs left over. My house guests took care of those and the dessert I unloaded at Chez-Galant this a.m.. Done and done.

  4. POSTED BY lisadavies  |  November 27, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

    How could I forget bubble and squeak – that delicious mixture of everything fried up. Although I find it is only good the day after.

    I still have some mini pecan pies if anyone wants them…

  5. POSTED BY walleroo  |  November 27, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

    Took a slash? I’m not familiar with that particular British slang. But it sounds awful.

  6. POSTED BY Tudlow  |  November 27, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

    Yum, bubble and squeak sounds pretty tasty.

Featured Comment

Carbs be damned! There's no reason to buy bread anywhere else. It is a heavenly indulgence.

Tip, Follow, Friend, Subscribe