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10 Chefs' Thanksgiving Day Leftovers

10 Chefs' Thanksgiving Day Leftovers

Continue to cook like a pro even after Thanksgiving

Let the feast continue with these delicious leftover ideas

It happens every single year without fail: The Thanksgiving Day feast is over, you’ve fed your loved ones, and somehow you've still got enough food left over to feed the population of Andorra.

The one good thing about over-buying for the holiday is that you will have plenty of food to use up over the next few days. Yet, the last thing anyone wants is to end up eating dozens of stale turkey sandwiches for days on end. However, inventing novel ways to jazz up Thanksgiving scraps isn't an easy job.

Fortunately, The Daily Meal is providing you with a plethora of recipes from chefs around the country to help you enjoy the delights of the day before. This year, rather than reheating remains from yesterday's dinner, we’ve asked some of the nation’s top cooks to do the thinking for us.

Check out the recipes below for unique approaches on how to whip up anything from a Japanese-style "mashed potato" soup and pumpkin-sage cheese grits through to Thanksgiving pizza and turkey à la king, plus a pie milkshake and butternut spice cupcakes thrown in for good measure. Thanksgiving dinner might be the high point of your holiday weekend, but with these tips and recipes, you’ll never have been so thankful you have so many leftovers!

Whoops. You cooked too much for your small Thanksgiving. What to do with the leftovers


Kirby talks Thanksgiving food and shopping on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday with Courier Journal reporters and 5-0-Lou's Terri Ross. Louisville Courier Journal

Well, here we are at the oddest Thanksgiving Day in any of our memories. What are you doing? Hopefully, you're sticking with Gov. Andy Beshear's guidelines and having no more than eight people from two households together for the holiday.

Cooking up vats of holiday fare, from mashed potatoes to gravy, sweet potatoes and, of course, a huge turkey, is a muscle memory that we can’t just switch off. You may have even had a bunch of your groceries before the latest COVID-19 measures came down. So what do you do with all that extra food you’re still cooking?

Thanksgiving leftovers are always a game of how many ways can I do days-old turkey, but this year we may have more platters and Tupperwares than ever overflowing the fridge.

To offer some inspiration for something other than turkey salad and stuffing waffles (although obviously, you should do both of those), we offer up some favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipes from local foodies, including a stir fry that will make you want to spend another day in the kitchen, a vegan take on a classic Taco Bell dish and a Thanksgiving sandwich so dreamy you'll want two.

So don't fret about the accidental overabundance at the holiday table this year. Here's how to make the most of your Thanksgiving feast leftovers:

Hosting Thanksgiving for your immediate household? Try these tips to have fun and be safe

Where you see Thanksgiving leftovers, Milwaukee chefs see the makings of an awesome sandwich

Cranberry aoili, arugula, root veggie mash, turkey in gravy, cheddar cheese and two fried eggs make for a hefty post-Thanksgiving sandwich, created by Shully's Catering. (Photo: Shully's Catering)

So the big meal is history. You’ve done it all – brined, roasted, basted. You’ve peeled, you’ve mashed. Maybe you’ve even braised. Perhaps you have a burn or two. A scraped knuckle. Things happen.

When the steam clears and the last dish is stashed, you’ll have a fridge full of leftovers and the perennial post-feast question: What’s for dinner?

You could pop a plate of it all in the microwave. You could concoct a casserole, but after all that cooking, assembling a meal seems like a swell idea. And so the Thanksgiving sandwich — towering, layered, grilled — has lots of appeal.

But what can you do beyond sliced turkey on sliced bread?

Five Milwaukee chefs rose to the task. They got out the mayo and bread board and they got to work. Most quantities in their recipes are approximate – use as much turkey or cheese as you like. These are, after all, sandwiches, not soufflés.


As the chef at Buckley’s, 801 N. Cass St., Thi Cao often comes up with dishes that reflect his Vietnamese heritage: Banh Mi (Vietnamese style shaved barbecue pork with pickled carrots) a Vietnamese crepe with chicken, shrimp, turmeric, bean sprouts and hoisin sauce.

But for a sandwich featuring leftovers from the all-American holiday, he reached back to his American childhood for inspiration.

Thi Cao of Buckley's created a sandwich Garfield would love. (Photo: Michael Sears, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

He explained that, at least in his house, a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich would consist of bits of turkey rather than slices.
“Usually, the breasts and leg meats are devoured in the first hour of Thanksgiving or ‘Friendsgiving,’ in my experience,” he said. He recalls picking through the ribs, wings and backbone after the meal, in search of “tender morsels.”

Generally, this search yielded quite a bit of meat.

On to the bread: “My family loves raisin bread, and we would usually have a loaf around the holidays,” he says. So that’s his choice.

“Also, there was a ‘Garfield’ Thanksgiving show that I would watch when I was a kid, and in the show they would make this yam dish — candy yams. It’s basically baked yams with tons of butter, brown sugar and marshmallow. I make that dish every year.”

So he came up with a sandwich incorporating these elements and a few others from the holiday table. He calls it “Garfield’s Cinnamon Raisin Dream.”

Cinnamon raisin bread and candied yams lend sweetness to this turkey leftovers sandwich, created by Thi Cao at Buckley's. (Photo: Jan Uebelherr)

Garfield’s Cinnamon Raisin Dream

  • 2 slices cinnamon raisin bread
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons candied yams
  • 1 slice turkey or equivalent amount of “tender morsels”
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce (Cao prefers the canned variety)
  • ¼ cup or more leftover turkey gravy, warmed

On each slice of bread, smear a layer of the yams. Add the turkey, and top with a dollop of the cranberry sauce. Close the sandwich and serve with warm gravy for dipping.


For more than 30 years, Shully’s Cuisine & Events in Thiensville has catered events from charity balls to cozy home parties. Co-founder Scott Shully worked at some of Milwaukee’s finest restaurants — the Pfister English Room, Grenadier’s — and worked for two years in Switzerland at several hotels.

Siblings Hadley and Jacob Shully of Shully's Catering and Events pulled out all the stops for their sandwich creation. (Photo: Submitted photo)

He and wife, Beth, have kept things in the family, with their kids taking on roles in the family business. Siblings Jacob Shully, the general manager, and Hadley Shully, sous chef, came up with a sandwich piled high with Thanksgiving leftovers, and like one other chef, they opted to toss fried eggs into their creation.

In a reference to the kind of clothing one wears after the big feast, they call their piece of culinary art The Sweatpants Club Sandi, which is “best eaten around the kitchen table or island, with a beer (if of age), with your favorite cousins and far past your bedtime and caloric quota for the day,” they said. “And of course, in your most comfortable sweatpants.”

This leftovers sandwich, created by Hadley and Jacob Shully, could easily serve two. (Photo: Shully's Catering)

The Sweatpants Club Sandi

Horseradish cranberry aioli:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup drained prepared horseradish
  • ½ cup cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup of root vegetable mash (see below)
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 thick slice turkey breast meat
  • ¼ cup leftover gravy
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish cranberry aioli (from above)
  • A handful of arugula
  • 1 slice aged cheddar

Make aioli: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. (Makes about 2 cups. Store in fridge 2 to 3 weeks.)

For sandwich, make the root veggie mash, simply combining whatever leftovers you may have — carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and parsnips — into mashed potato-like consistency.

Toast the bread. Meanwhile, fry the eggs in butter and warm the turkey in the gravy.
Spread one side of each slice of toasted bread with aioli. On one slice add layers of the root veggie mash, arugula, turkey with gravy, the cheese and the fried eggs. Top with other slice of toast, slice the sandwich and serve.

Jim Cook created a turkey panini on marble rye. (Photo: Submitted photo)


On the deli menu at Larry’s Market in Brown Deer, there are not one, not two, but three signature sandwiches. The cooking team at the market, known for its hot deli, artisanal cheese case, soups and yes, sandwich offerings, was happy to come up with a Turkey Day leftovers sandwich.

New chef Jim Cook, who spent 6 ½ years as catering kitchen chef at the Milwaukee Art Museum, calls his creation The Pioneer Pilgrim Panini. A tasty hot creation on marble rye, it blends white and dark meat with stuffing and more. As a variation, add some cheese — white cheddar or Gouda — from a cheese platter you may have served as an appetizer.

The Pioneer Pilgrim Panini

Marble rye is the base for this hot turkey sandwich created by Larry's Market chef Jim Cook. (Photo: Larry's Market)

  • 2 slices marble rye
  • 4 ounces carved turkey (white and dark meat)
  • 2 ounces stuffing (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry and stoneground mustard aioli (see below)
  • 1 slice white cheddar or Gouda cheese (optional)

Assemble sandwich ingredients on one slice of bread. Top with remaining slice of bread and toast in a panini maker.

To make cranberry and stoneground mustard aioli: Combine ½ cup cranberry sauce (whole-berry or jellied), ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon coarse or stoneground mustard and 1 minced garlic clove in a medium bowl. Mix well.


Karen Bell has lived and worked in Paris, Madrid, San Francisco, Chicago. A Milwaukee native, she ran a restaurant in Madrid before coming back to Milwaukee.

In 2013, she opened Bavette La Boucherie, 330 E. Menomonee St. in the Third Ward, a classic, neighborhood butcher shop that also offers charcuterie, pâtes, cheeses, small plates and sandwiches. She was a semifinalist for the James Beard Best Chef-Midwest region in 2017 and was a finalist in 2018.

Karen Bell is chef/owner of Bavette La Boucherie restaurant. (Photo: RIck Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

At Bavette, her lunch menu features adventuresome sandwiches — chicken curry with tzatziki, feta, garbanzos, broccoli, pickled apricot, olive and almond a Cuban pressed ham with pickles, picked jalapeño and mustard, and a seared steak sandwich with truffled mushroom duxelle, kale, roasted grapes and onions.

So yeah, she was up to devising a post-Thanksgiving sandwich. Her creation, the Turkey Croque Madam, is a riff on the classic French Croque Madame — which is essentially a grilled ham and cheese topped with lush bechamel sauce and a fried egg.

Bell’s concoction calls for a little cooking, but it’s worth the effort. Leftover stuffing gets transformed into patties that are layered with “cranberry mostarda” (cranberry sauce spiked with Dijon mustard), sliced turkey, gravy transformed into a bechamel with the addition of cheese, topped with more cheese and then broiled. That gets topped with a fried egg and chives.
“I knew I wanted to use the stuffing somehow instead of actual sliced bread, so if that was the case, it would have to be an open face or at least a knife-and-fork sandwich, which is when I thought of a croque madam,” she explained. “Then it made sense because I could reincorporate a lot of leftovers by swapping the ham for turkey and could transform the gravy as well.”

This open-face croque madam from Bavette La Boucherie replaces bread with a fried stuffing patty. (Photo: Jan Uebelherr)

Turkey Croque Madams

  • 4 tablespoons cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups leftover stuffing
  • 6 eggs (divided)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 2 cups leftover gravy
  • 12 ounces grated Comte or Gruyere cheese (divided)
  • 1 pound sliced roast turkey breast
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped chives (optional)

In a small bowl, mix cranberry sauce and mustard to make cranberry mostarda.

In a large bowl, mix the stuffing with two of the eggs until well combined. Heat about half the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Shape 1 cup of the stuffing mixture into a ball and flatten into a 5-inch patty. Repeat with remaining stuffing mixture.

Place patties in skillet and cook about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and heated through. Place on a cookie sheet and set aside.

Heat gravy in medium pot over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in 8 ounces of the cheese. Continue whisking until smooth.

To assemble sandwiches, spread cranberry mostarda on top of each stuffing patty, then top with turkey. Ladle the sauce over the turkey and top each with some of the remaining cheese.

Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 4 eggs and cook until whites are cooked through but yolks remain runny, about 2 minutes.

Top each of the broiled turkey croques with a fried egg, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle on chives, if desired.


Executive Chef Angela Rondinelli oversees the Downtown Kitchen, a Bartolotta restaurant in the U.S. Bank building that serves up hearty sandwiches and other lunch fare to downtowners. She’s worked at Merrill Hills Country Club and the American Club in Kohler, starting out as a line cook in its Wisconsin Room, then moved on to the club’s Immigrant Restaurant and Winery. She’s worked at Chicago’s Café Ba Ba Reeba and Milwaukee’s Mason Street Grill as chef de cuisine and later executive chef.

Angela Rondinelli is the chef at Bartolotta's Downtown Kitchen. (Photo: Submitted photo)

She joined Bartolotta’s in 2016 as executive chef of the Downtown Kitchen, where she’s come up with an ever-changing assortment of artisanal sandwiches, subs, seasonal soups, grilled burgers and more.

It didn’t take her long to come up with a leftovers creation. It comes together quickly and it’s a big hit at the Downtown Kitchen, she says.

“When we feature this sandwich,” she says, “it’s guaranteed to sell out and is requested when we don’t have it available.”

A pretzel bun encloses a turkey salad with dried cranberries and sage in this sandwich from Downtown Kitchen. (Photo: Bartolotta's)

Tasty Turkey Cranberry

  • 4 cups leftover turkey (diced small)
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup toasted pecans (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh or dried sage
  • 4 pretzel buns
  • 8 small or 4 large leaves Bibb or romaine lettuce

In a small bowl, combined diced turkey, mayonnaise, mustard, cranberries, pecans if using, and sage. Blend well. Slice pretzel rolls and divide turkey mixture among them. Add lettuce leaves, slice and serve.

RECIPES: Leftovers make the days after Thanksgiving just as sumptuous as the Turkey Day

Turkey Salad With Fried Shallots and Herbs Photo by Andrew Scrivani (The New York Times)

In that pause before pie, when the bulk of the Thanksgiving meal is over and it's time to stack gravy-smeared plates and carry them to the sink, every cook is happy.

It's not only that the labor of cooking for a crowd is over and that everyone is well-fed. It's the endless possibilities of that turkey carcass on the counter. A cook looks at a wrecked bird and sees salads and soups, tacos and dumplings, sandwiches and noodle dishes, already halfway there.

After a Thanksgiving meal, everything you need for a good meal is at your fingertips. At my apartment, that means Parker House rolls, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and a stuffing made with onions and sweet Italian sausage.

I don't have much counter space or the luxury of a second refrigerator, which means there's no putting this off: I start breaking down the turkey right away before Thanksgiving dinner is even over. It is, just like roasting and carving the bird, a part of the ritual.

While the water is boiling for coffee, I cut the remaining meat and pack it up, wrapping some for guests who'd like to take it home. Then I put the carcass in a stockpot and cover it with water, tossing in a halved onion, a carrot and any herb stems saved from the day's prep.

Through dessert, and the post-dessert drawing and painting sessions with my nieces and nephews that follow at the coffee table, the stock simmers along quietly and unattended. After a couple of hours, I'll strain the liquid and set the hot carcass aside. When it's cool enough to touch, sometime before I go to bed, I'll pull any meat that remains and get it into the fridge, along with the stock. By then, the carcass has nothing left to give, and I can get rid of it.

This strategy of breaking down the turkey means you're more likely to use all of its parts and makes the refrigerator appear like the organized walk-in of a tiny, turkey-loving restaurant. The rest of the year, it's all raw vegetables in various states of freshness and jarred condiments, but peer in the morning after Thanksgiving, and you'll see labeled containers of homemade, gelatin-rich turkey stock and slices of cooked dark and white meat, all ready to be turned into the special of the day.

These are building blocks, the setup for at least three excellent meals that go well beyond warming up a plate of leftovers in the microwave (its own, distinct pleasure, to be sure).

On the first day, when the meat can still be enjoyed as is, it's easy to pull the roasted pieces into thick shreds and put together a turkey salad.

The turkey stock, strained and kept in the fridge, is good for any kind of soup on the second day of leftovers. I take inspiration from my friend Whitney Reynolds, who comes from Tennessee. Her family makes turkey and noodles on Thanksgiving Day, serving it alongside the roasted meat and vegetable dishes.

At my table, this would be considered radical, but after Thanksgiving, there are no rules.

The noodle dough -- the recipe comes from Reynolds' father, Jeff Reynolds -- can be put together quickly, by hand. Rolled out to about the size of a piece of pie dough and cut into tiny batons, as long and thick as french fries, it's left out for hours to firm up and dry out, to get ready for a long simmer.

The noodles rehydrate in boiling turkey stock, bubbling away for about a half-hour, until they are tender and sticky-edged, infused all the way through with the flavor of roasted turkey. The stock itself reduces in that time and thickens, landing somewhere on the texture dial between soup and gravy.

Reynolds, a noodle purist, insists on serving the dish simply, without meat or herbs or any such adulteration in the sauce, just some generous grinds of black pepper. It is deeply comforting this way, an ode to roasted turkey with no roasted turkey in sight. But if you've got excess meat in the fridge, you might see this as another opportunity to serve it, shredded and simmered with the noodles.

This brings us to Day 3 of leftovers, and to the least celebrated part of the turkey: the scraps of meat pulled after making stock, which are far less substantial than the roasted meat.

Crisp them patiently in a cast-iron pan, and they could top rice or tortillas with a squirt of hot sauce. But I had pav bhaji on my mind because I always have pav bhaji on my mind. The Indian dish is usually made from a spicy mash of vegetables, served with buttered, toasted buns.

Ginger, garlic and green chile zap the turkey with warmth and flavor, as do crushed tomatoes and garam masala. To serve it, I press buttered potato rolls into a hot pan, until they are crisp and brown. When it's time to eat, everyone makes sloppy, delicious tartines, piling the bread with a spoonful of turkey, a little chopped onion and cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

It's a dish I would never have found my way to, except in the aftermath of Thanksgiving, with a fridge full of semi-organized leftovers and an impulse to not waste any of them. Now, it's a tradition.

Turkey Salad With Fried Shallots and Herbs

1 cup thinly sliced shallots, divided use

2 cups leftover cooked turkey meat, pulled into bite-size pieces

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

Handful of coriander and mint leaves, torn

Divide the sliced shallots: Soak one-third of the shallots in cold water for about 10 minutes drain through a mesh sieve and set aside.

Heat the peanut oil and fry the remaining shallots, mixing occasionally, until golden brown. Drain through the sieve, reserving shallots and oil. (Do not press on the shallots as they drain. They will clump together.)

In a mixing bowl, toss together soaked raw shallots and turkey meat. Add lime juice, salt, jalapeno and 2 teaspoons reserved oil from frying shallots, and mix well. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of fried shallots, along with the herbs, and mix well. Taste and adjust with salt and lime juice as needed. Serve with any remaining shallots and shallot oil on the side.

Roast Turkey Pav

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided use

½ pound roast turkey meat, chopped finely, or pulled from carcass after making stock

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 ½-inch piece ginger, finely chopped

1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped

1 beefsteak tomato, chopped

1 ½ teaspoons garam masala

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

Handful of cilantro, chopped

¼ red onion, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, then add pulled turkey and let cook until it becomes light brown and crisp in places, stirring occasionally. Season lightly with salt, then scrape meat, and as much of the browned pieces at the bottom of the pan as you can, into a small bowl.

In the same pan, without washing it, add the chopped onion and 1 tablespoon oil, and turn the heat down to medium, scraping up any remaining turkey meat and mixing it into the onions. Saute until the onion is very soft and translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, serrano chile and turmeric and saute for another 2 minutes. Add turkey, tomatoes, peas and ⅓ cup water, and stir well. When almost all of the liquid has evaporated, and the peas, if using, are tender (about 8 minutes), add garam masala and a generous squeeze of lime juice. Mix well and loosen with a splash of water if the pan is starting to get dry. Simmer for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust with salt and more lime, if needed, then turn off the heat.

Open the rolls and lightly butter them.

In a separate pan, over medium heat, place the rolls cut-side down and let them sit untouched until they're evenly golden brown flip to lightly brown the other side. Transfer rolls to a plate. Garnish the turkey mixture with chopped cilantro and onion, and serve warm with toasted rolls and remaining lime on the side. (Alternately, transfer the turkey into a serving bowl and serve with onion, cilantro and lime in separate bowls on the side.)

Turkey and Noodles

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted but cool

1 cup roasted, shredded turkey meat (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together yolks, butter and cream, then slowly add to the dry ingredients, beating together with a fork. When the dough gets too stiff for the fork, use your hands to mix and knead in the bowl until dough is yellow and smooth. Wrap well with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Flour a work surface, and roll out dough until it's about ¼ of an inch thick, dusting with more flour as needed. Use a pizza wheel or long knife to cut the dough into thick noodle shapes measuring just under 2 inches by ½ inch. Spread cut noodles out on lightly floured parchment paper, cover with a clean dishcloth and let sit out at room temperature for about 6 hours, or overnight.

In a large pot, bring turkey stock to a hard boil, then add the noodles, stirring gently. Boil until noodles are moist and tender all the way through and the broth has reduced and thickened like a gravy, about 30 to 40 minutes. If adding turkey meat, stir into the pot in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper and serve in shallow bowls.

Print Headline: RECIPES: Leftovers make the days after Thanksgiving just as sumptuous as the Turkey Day

Don't Just Reheat & Repeat

After much time spent planning & cooking, the day has past, and everyone enjoyed the meal & the company. There is one question that always remains: what to do with all the leftover food, besides just reheating & repeating the meal.

If you have mashed sweet potatoes, or any kind of mashed potato for that matter, these make a wonderful base for an egg dish. Place the mashed potatoes in a buttered or oiled baking dish, add leftover veggies like spinach, green beans, brussel sprouts on top. If no vegetables were left, then cook some fresh, and add to the baking dish. Next add any type of cheese, shredded or sliced. Place the dish in the 350 preheated oven and bake until heated through & cheese melted if your baking dish is deep, then cover with foil to prevent the cheese from burning, remove foil once heated through to let cheese brown slightly. While the potato-veggie-cheese is baking, cook eggs in whatever style you prefer – I am always good with sunny side up. Place eggs on top & enjoy. This same thing can be done with leftover stuffing as well.

Another option for leftover potatoes & vegetables is to combine both for a potato pancake. Place all in a food processor & blend together add several eggs, some flour & baking powder to use as a binder & keep the pancake together. Place in a skillet with oil at a high heat, & cook on each side until crispy brown. These make an excellent side dish or can be served with an egg on top to com[plete the meal.

Similarly, if rice is leftover, add the veggies & some cheese, bake & top with an egg.

Get creative with what is leftover from Thanksgiving, thinking about layers & tastes, what can be added to complete the meal. This is the best way to have fun in the kitchen & reduce food waste.

Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Kabocha Squash


  • 4 small kabocha squash
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa (I like the red/white/black blends)
  • 4 cups cooked, shredded turkey
  • 2 medium yellow onions, julienned
  • 1 T. chopped garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 T. olive oil (or turkey /chicken fat from your bird!)
  • ½ cup roasted, seeded and skinned green chiles (I like Hatch Green Chiles)
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup toasted squash seeds
  • 1 cup Queso Panella , cubed. (Jack or even fresh goat cheese would also work)
  • 1 cup turkey broth
  • ½ cup fresh sage and parsley, chopped

For the squash:
- Cut the tops off the squash and dig out the seeds with a spoon. Rinse seeds, and roast them at 350˚ for 20 minutes, or until crunchy
- Season the inside of the squash with olive oil and salt and lemon
- Place the &ldquoLid&rdquo or squash top back on, and roast squash whole at 450˚ for around 30 minutes. Check periodically until the flesh of the squash is soft.
- Remove from oven and let rest.

For the Stuffing:

- In a large skillet, heat oil on high heat, then add onions to caramelize.
- When they are translucent and brown, add garlic, chiles , broth and turkey meat, reduce heat to medium.
- Season mixture with salt, pepper to taste.
- Stir in the quinoa, cherries and toasted seeds. Taste it again! Season it again!
- Add the fresh herbs, and cheese. Fill the squash with the stuffing and bake at 400˚ for 15 more minutes, or until hot inside. Serve.

Atlanta chefs share recipes for using Thanksgiving leftovers

On this day, we come together for the cozy fall holiday, sharing thankful thoughts around the table. We set the table with dishes, piled high with traditional family recipes. Whatever your custom, it’s a day made for the cushy comforts of home.

When the feast is over and the china has been put away, the refrigerator might still be packed. Keep the feast going forward by mixing up a special dish — or two or three or four — featuring those leftovers. We enlisted Atlanta chefs to help fashion leftovers into dishes you will look forward to as much as the originals.

Sweet Potato Waffle with Cranberry Sorghum Syrup

“Our Thanksgiving meal has been pretty much the same my whole life,” said Hudson Rouse, chef-owner of Avondale Estates Southern comfort restaurant Rising Son. To shake up the feast routine, he likes to cook a mashup meal late night on Thanksgiving or the next morning for breakfast. “I’m usually thinking what I’m going to make next with everything during the Thanksgiving meal,” he said. Turning a savory sweet potato side dish into a sweet and savory breakfast dish has become part of the tradition. Instead of serving waffles with maple syrup, he prepares cranberry sorghum syrup using leftover cranberry sauce.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for frying
  • 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons sorghum syrup (substitute with 1 tablespoon of molasses plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for frying
  • Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve warm over waffles or pancakes. Makes 1 cup.

Per serving: Per tablespoon: 52 calories (percent of calories from fat, 48), trace protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 3 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 8 milligrams cholesterol, 32 milligrams sodium.

—Courtesy of Rising Son chef-owner Hudson Rouse

Leftover Turkey Rillettes

“Most people prefer the turkey breast on Thanksgiving and the dark meat is overlooked,” said butcher Rusty Bowers of Pine Street Market in Avondale Estates and Chop Shop in Edgewood. His solution for using the rich, flavorful dark meat is to turn it into rillettes, a meat preparation similar to pâté. “This is something we make after every Thanksgiving,” Bowers said, calling it an excellent dish to serve at holiday parties or to offer as a hostess gift.

  • 2 pounds cooked dark meat turkey
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons rendered turkey fat or butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 sprig thyme, minced
  • 1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crackers or toasted bread for serving
  • Place the turkey meat and broth in a small pot over medium heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Strain the turkey meat, reserving the broth.
  • Transfer the turkey to a bowl and shred with a fork. Once shredded, transfer the turkey to a cutting board and mince with a knife. Add the meat back to the bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of the rendered turkey fat, 1 tablespoon of the reserved broth, and the vinegar, thyme, parsley, orange zest, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning. The mixture should be the consistency of a “soft blob,” like a wet but cohesive dough. If the mixture is too dry, add more broth, 1 teaspoon at a time. If too wet, mince more leftover turkey and add the meat to the mixture.
  • Pack 5 (8-ounce) Mason jars with 1 cup each of the turkey mixture. There should be 1/2-inch headspace. Fill the headspace of each jar with the remaining turkey fat. Screw the lids on tightly and chill in the refrigerator 3 hours up to overnight, until the fat congeals and forms a seal. When ready to serve, scoop out and discard the top layer of fat. Serve chilled or at room temperature with toasted bread or crackers. Turkey rillettes will keep up to 12 months, refrigerated, as long as the fat seal has not been broken. Once the fat seal is broken, consume within 7 days. Each jar serves 4-6. Recipe makes 20 total servings.

Per serving: Per serving: 154 calories (percent of calories from fat, 65), 13 grams protein, trace carbohydrates, trace fiber, 11 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 45 milligrams cholesterol, 163 milligrams sodium.

Courtesy of Rusty Bowers of Pine Street Market and Chop Shop

Turkey Croquetas

The Iberian Pig executive chef John Castellucci loves to use leftover turkey meat to make croquetas the next day. “You can use both the breast and thigh. It extends the shelf life on them 3-4 days and you don’t have to worry about the breast drying out,” he said.

  • 1 1/2 pounds (6 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 5 sheets silver-strength leaf gelatin
  • 8 cups whole milk, divided
  • 3 bay leaves (in sachet)
  • 3 1/2 pounds cooked turkey, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups canola oil for frying
  • Melt butter over low heat in a Dutch oven or rondeau pot. Cook onions and garlic until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in 6 cups flour, stirring to work out any pockets of flour from the roux. Once the roux turns blond in color, cook an additional 5-7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, “bloom” the gelatin by adding the gelatin sheets to a small bowl of ice water. Let sit 3-5 minutes, until softened. In a saucepan, whisk 2 cups of milk over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Drain ice water from bowl and add gelatin to the milk. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 6 cups milk to the roux in the Dutch oven. Add bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, keeping a close eye on the pan and stirring every 1-3 minutes to avoid scorching and to cook out the flour. (A rubber spatula works best for this part of the process.) Stir in the milk-gelatin mixture. Fold in the turkey and mix until combined. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool in refrigerator until fully set (6-8 hours).
  • When ready to shape and fry the croquetas: Set up a breading station with 3 separate bowls: 1 with the 2 remaining cups flour, 1 with the beaten eggs for an egg wash, 1 with the panko breadcrumbs.
  • Remove bay leaves from the turkey mixture. To form the croquetas, scoop 4 tablespoons of the turkey mixture and shape into a round ball with your hands until nice and smooth. Roll in flour until fully coated. Dust off and transfer to the egg wash. Roll the croqueta in egg wash until no pockets of flour are visible. Carefully transfer to the bowl of breadcrumbs so as not to drip extra egg wash into the breadcrumb bowl. Cover with the breadcrumbs and transfer to a sheet pan.
  • Add the oil to a large pot. When the oil reaches 350 degrees, fry croquetas in batches, cooking until the outside is golden brown and the center is heated through, 2-3 minutes. Makes 20-30 croquetas.

Per serving: Per croqueta, based on 20: 769 calories (percent of calories from fat, 56), 34 grams protein, 50 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 47 grams fat (22 grams saturated), 191 milligrams cholesterol, 422 milligrams sodium.

Courtesy of the Iberian Pig executive chef John Castellucci

Green Bean Casserole Farrotto

New Realm Brewing executive chef Megan Brent puts a clever spin on traditional Italian risotto by using farro instead of rice and adding leftover green bean casserole for the base flavor. The dish is an ode to her brother because green bean casserole is his favorite Thanksgiving dish. “My mom makes it every year, the old-school way with mushroom soup and those French’s crispy onions,” Brent said. “She makes so much of it that we always have so much left over. Reheating it doesn’t look pretty, so I came up with this recipe. It’s one of my favorites.”

If your family doesn’t include green bean casserole on the menu, other leftover Thanksgiving vegetables can be used instead. Substitute 1 1/2 cups roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted carrots, or squash for the green beans.

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shallots, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 cups farro
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 sprigs thyme, minced
  • 1 spring rosemary, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared green bean casserole, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)
  • Canned French fried onions, such as French’s (optional)
  • In a medium pan or saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until melted. Add the sliced onions, a handful at a time, stirring and letting them cook slightly before adding the next handful. When all the slices have been added, cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown. Set aside.
  • Heat a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallots and garlic. Cook until translucent. Add the farro, stirring to coat the grains in the butter, and lightly toast the farro. Add the wine, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Reduce heat to low. As the grains begin to absorb the liquid, ladle in the chicken or turkey stock in small amounts, until the grains are barely covered with liquid. Stir occasionally. Add more stock each time the previous addition has been absorbed. This will take around 30 minutes.
  • Add the chopped green bean casserole, caramelized onions, mascarpone and Parmesan cheeses and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the farro. Continue to stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish with chives and fried onions, if desired. Serves 4-6.

Per serving: Per serving, based on 4: 772 calories (percent of calories from fat, 36), 36 grams protein, 90 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams fiber, 31 grams fat (16 grams saturated), 74 milligrams cholesterol, 1,363 milligrams sodium.

Thanksgiving leftovers: Remains of the day

For some, Thanksgiving leftovers are a treasured tradition. For others, leftovers are the dietary equivalent of the movie “Groundhog Day.” Still others relish repurposing the feast as a way to flex their creativity and exercise economy.

“Working as close to zero waste as possible is absolutely essential,” says Allie Lyttle, executive chef at Lala’s in Ann Arbor. “It’s what's best for the environment and what’s best for your wallet.”

Previous generations practiced this. And, in these changeable and uncertain times, it’s absolutely vital. Start by taking stock of what’s leftover and how to get the maximum use out of it.

This Leftover Turkey Bolognese highlights flavors that aren't generally associated with leftover turkey. It doesn't feel like you're dressing up something that has been ‘left over,’ but, rather, that you’re creating something entirely of its own making. (Photo: Jeremiah Kouhia)

“Always be mindful of how to cross-utilize things from what you've already made,” Lyttle says. “It’s empowering to look at a recipe and think, ‘Do I have something I could swap out and it'll still be delicious?’”

Your efforts will be rewarded.

“By slow-cooking the turkey carcass, the meat plucked from it, the leftover vegetables and their trimmings, you gradually develop deep, rich flavor,” says Ann Arbor-based Jeremiah Kouhia, baker and owner of The Mother Loaf Breads. “Spending three to four hours making a nice sauce on the stovetop can be a way to decompress, to re-center yourself. Take your time and use your senses.”

Deep dishing about leftovers

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that there are no second acts in American lives. But for leftovers, there are plenty of encores.

So many ways to fill your piehole. Step up the savory side of the pie plate.

“My absolute favorite way to use leftovers is to make Thanksgiving pie,” Lyttle says. “It’s super simple, but so dang good. Take a store-bought pie crust and layer in turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, then dot gravy over the top. Bake at 350 degrees until golden-brown for an entirely different Thanksgiving meal than you had the day before.”

· Turkey pie with a leftover-stuffing crust

· Turkey pot pie with a puff-pastry top crust

· Turkey shepherd’s pie with leftover mashed-potato topping

Beyond pies, try these ideas.

Savory pancakes. “Make pancakes out of your mashed potatoes,” Lyttle advises. “Once they're cold and firm, they're super-easy to patty and pan-fry.” Add herbs and cheese. Top with eggs and/or leftover gravy.

Composed salads. Toss bite-sized chunks of roasted root vegetables with a citrussy vinaigrette or your favorite salad dressing and serve warm or cold.

Soup. Use the carcass and meaty parts, vegetables and their trimmings to make stock for immediate use or to freeze. “Turkey stock is the building block of good cuisine and can be used in many ways,” Kouhia says.

Sandwiches. Hand-shred leftover cooked turkey and toss with your favorite barbecue sauce for pulled-turkey sandwiches served atop crispy waffles made from leftover stuffing or use those waffles instead of bread for hot or cold turkey sandwiches.

Stir-frys. “Turkey fried rice is awesome — a little rice, a little sesame oil and some eggs for a stellar leftover meal,” Lyttle says.

Snacky things. Fashion leftover stuffing into breaded, battered and deep-fried croquettes. Grind up and blend leftover roasted Brussels sprouts into dips and spreads.

Desserts. Use up a mix of leftover cubed breads (white, wheat, caraway-rye), parkerhouse or pretzel rolls, pretzels, biscuits, scones, etc., for bread pudding rich in flavor and texture.

Smoothies. Blend leftover cranberries and/or cranberry sauce into your smoothies.

Seasonal breakfast strata. Layer leftovers with savory custard and soak overnight. Add in roasted butternut squash, toasted pumpkin seeds, sauteed kale and intense blue cheese, Kouhia suggests, as powerful flavor boosters.

“This year will be strange for everyone,” Kouhia says. “So you may as well try something new.”

This Leftover Turkey Bolognese highlights flavors that aren't generally associated with leftover turkey. It doesn't feel like you're dressing up something that has been ‘left over,’ but, rather, that you’re creating something entirely of its own making. (Photo: Jeremiah Kouhia)

Leftover Turkey Ragu Bolognese

2 cups onion, finely diced (reserve peel/trim)

1 cup carrots, finely diced (reserve peel/trim)

1 cup celery, finely diced (reserve peel/trim)

¾ teaspoon+more, to taste salt, divided

3 garlic cloves, minced (reserve peel/trim)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

½ pound leftover cooked turkey*, finely ground

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

2 28-ounce cans whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

4 cups turkey stock, divided (see recipe)

1 small piece parmesan-cheese rind

1 tablespoon+more, to taste fresh parsley, minced (reserve stems/trim)

1 teaspoon+more, to taste fresh oregano, minced (reserve stems/trim)

¼ teaspoon+more, to taste fresh rosemary, minced (reserve stems/trim)

Sourdough Breadcrumbs (see recipe)

To taste, parmesan cheese, grated

*Picked from bones after carving. A 50-50 ratio between light and dark meat is best, but whatever is leftover will work. Pass the turkey through a grinder with a fine die plate, or finely mince it by hand on a cutting board.

Place the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until nicely golden — about 1 hour.

Add the garlic to the saucepot. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until it’s incorporated and begins to soften. Add the pancetta and render it (cooking it down so the fat melts away into the mixture), about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the herbs and the turkey meat. Stir to incorporate.

Push everything to the outer edges of the saucepot, creating a hole in the center of the ingredients. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and heat, without stirring, until it melts. Then, maintaining the hole in the middle of the saucepot, add the tomato paste and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Once the tomato paste is cooked, stir all of the vegetables together until incorporated.

Add the canned tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes.

Add 3 cups of turkey stock and stir to incorporate. Add the parmesan rind and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Simmer over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

After simmering, the sauce should be a dark-red color, some fat may have separated on the top, and the sauce will have developed a nice richness. Add the remaining 1 cup of turkey stock, turn the heat up to medium, and reduce the sauce to the desired consistency (a thick, tomato gravy is ideal).

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and the herbs of your choice. Right before serving, swirl 2 tablespoons of butter into the sauce. Toss with the pasta of your choice. Top with sourdough-breadcrumbs and grated, fresh parmesan.

4-inch section of cooked turkey back

Reserved vegetable and herb trimmings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roast the turkey pieces and bones on a sheet pan for 30 to 45 minutes, until golden-brown. This step is crucial to developing strong, rich flavor.

Put the turkey and reserved vegetable/herb trimmings in a large stockpot. Add the cold water. Bring up to a slow simmer, then increase heat to medium. Reduce stock slightly, about 1 hour, though more time will enhance the flavor.

After reducing, you will have around 5 cups of stock. Set aside 4 cups for the Bolognese. Refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use.

For the Sourdough-Breadcrumb Mixture

The texture and zip of flavor are well worth the effort for this step.

3 large slices sourdough bread, torn into pieces

1 tablespoon parsley, or herbs of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the bread pieces on a sheet pan and bake until crispy and toasted, about 30 minutes. Let the bread cool. Once cooled, crush with a rolling pin and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add the garlic and herbs and saute until golden-brown. Add salt. Let the mixture cool a few minutes, then add it to the breadcrumbs, along with the lemon zest. Toss until well-mixed.

Recipe courtesy of Jeremiah Kouhia, baker and owner of The Mother Loaf Breads.

Creamy and comforting, this recipe comes together easily, no blender required. (Photo: Robin Watson)

Cream of Leftover Mashed-Potato Soup

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped

To taste ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a small saucepot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Stir in the dried garlic, poultry seasoning and smoked paprika. Mix in the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is lightly browned. Add the wine and stir until fully incorporated. Stir in the stock. Add the mashed potatoes and stir until fully incorporated. Add the milk and stir to blend. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture just to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chives, salt and pepper and serve.

Thanksgiving foods and flavors come together in a pie built on stuffing instead of a traditional crust. (Photo: Robin Watson)

Leftover-Stuffing Pie

½ cup leftover cranberry sauce

4 tablespoons leftover turkey gravy

2 ½ cups leftover stuffing

5 tablespoons turkey stock

½ cup grated cheddar cheese, divided

½ cup leftover cooked Brussels sprouts, sliced thin

½ cup leftover roasted carrots, diced

1 cup leftover roast turkey, diced

1 cup leftover mashed potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spritz a 9-inch pie plate with pan spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the cranberry sauce and gravy. Set aside.

If the stuffing is cold, microwave it in a bowl until it’s just warm and slightly softened. Mash the stuffing and stock together until thoroughly mixed. Using your hands, press the stuffing into the pie plate, pushing it up the sides a bit. Use the back of a spoon to press down and even it out as much as possible. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with half the grated cheese. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes and remove from the oven. Spread a couple of spoonfuls of the cranberry sauce/gravy mixture over the melted cheese. Top with half the sliced Brussels sprouts and diced carrots. Place the chopped turkey on the vegetables.

Drizzle with half the remaining cranberry sauce/gravy mixture, then top with the remaining Brussels sprouts and carrots. Using your hands or the back of a spoon, press down lightly on the filling to compress it. Drizzle with the remaining cranberry sauce/gravy mixture. If the mashed potatoes are cold, microwave them in a small bowl until just reheated and soft, then stir in the milk. Drop spoonfuls of the potatoes over the top of the pie. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the potatoes until the whole surface of the pie is covered. Top with the remaining grated cheese. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the pie is heated through.

Leftover Turkey Curry

1 ½ tablespoons hot curry powder

1 cup turkey stock or water

10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped

2 cups leftover roast turkey, chopped

1 cup leftover turkey gravy

Rice or noodles for serving

Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a medium-size skillet. Add the onion and saute until softened and lightly browned. Add the curry powder, vinegar, and water or stock. Stir vigorously for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until it’s wilted. Add the tomato sauce and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the turkey, gravy and frozen peas. Stir to blend everything together and cook until the mixture is heated through. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

"An impressive use of leftovers &mdash and it's quick! This recipe is healthier than typical hot browns we did not miss the butter in the cheese sauce. And don't skimp on the hot sauce!"

© 2021 Discovery or its subsidiaries and affiliates.

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13 (Easy!) Ways To Rework Thanksgiving Leftovers

Did someone say Thanksgiving leftover recipes?! Now that your traditional Thanksgiving feast is over, it’s time to figure out what exactly to do with all those leftovers sitting ominously in the fridge. Don’t worry you’re not doomed to eat endless iterations of turkey and gravy sandwiches and cold cranberry sauce (unless, of course, that’s your jam, in which case, bon appetit!). Your leftover turkey and sides are only as limited as your imagination, and we’ve rounded up some creative recipes you won’t be able to resist.

It’s time to level up your leftovers. Who knew sweet potatoes could be perfect for pancakes, hash and vegan wraps? Why not use that cranberry sauce for muffins, jam bars, and some tasty appetizers? Don’t think your turkey needs to go to waste, either—enjoy some pho, Mexican breakfast pizza or turkey pot pie soup. Don’t mind if I do!

The key to really nailing your leftover recipes is making sure they taste different than your actual Thanksgiving spread. Nobody wants to eat the same thing night after night! And, let’s be honest, after slaving over those sides in the kitchen, you probably don’t even want to look at them. This year, transform them into something new, and don’t be surprised if by this time next year, you’re ready to skip the whole holiday and go straight to leftovers szn.

Below, 13 mouth-watering Thanksgiving leftover recipes to make the final days of November the tastiest of the year. Enjoy!

Courtesy of Sugar and Charm.

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