My favorite part of Thanksgiving is easily the next few days. Suddenly the refrigerator is full (if I’m lucky, this fullness includes a few slices of apple pie), and rather than cook full meal’s from scratch, I get to improvise with dinner leftovers in the refrigerator.
Something about dinner leftovers makes me feel challenged, though. I am only ever happy eating them as a turkey dinner once before they must become my favorite turkey sandwich, a bowl of soup, a curried bowl of goodness. It’s like someone has given me a new set of paints and challenged me to eat them.
I’m not the only one who gets inspired by their leftovers, though, so here are a few of my favorite creative ways to eat your turkey dinner again and again and again without ever really eating the same thing twice.
A wrap is an obvious choice for leftover turkey, but this is not just any wrap. First, it utilizes the likely cranberry sauce you’re hoarding in your refrigerator, and second, it is full of rosemary and hummus. It’s the combination of those two things that really did me in and made this a winner for me.
Source: Rosemary Hummus Turkey Wraps | She Wears Many Hats
If I had to pick just one soup to eat for the rest of my life, this would be it. It’s hearty and filling, and it feels like a meal. There’s something about it that has the ability to be instantly comforting with the nuttiness from the wild rice and the creaminess of the broth.
Source: Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup | Food for My Family
The simplicity and the complexity of this dish hit me at once. Strudel is something that feels like it took a long time to do, but with puff pastry and all your leftovers ready and waiting, this dish is smashingly simple. Plus, who doesn’t want a golden, flaky pastry waiting on their dinner plate?
Source: Turkey Cranberry Strudel | Recipe Girl
What could possibly be better than taking your leftover turkey and mashed potatoes, rolling them into balls, coating them, and frying them? There are very few things that don’t improve significantly with a little dip into the fryer.
Source: Turkey Croquettes | Martha Stewart
I’m all for turning those loads of turkey into days’ worth of sandwiches. Still, I like to switch it up. This turkey take on a Reuben with turkey in place of the corned beef is a classic diner menu item that can travel from Thanksgiving dinner to being slung over the kitchen counter.
Source: Turkey Reuben: The Rachel | Panini Kathy
Turkey, mashed potatoes, you can even mix in leftover green bean casserole if you like, this shepherd’s pie utilizes a whole fridge full of leftovers to make a one-dish dinner everyone can agree on.
Source: Turkey Shepherd’s Pie | Simple Bites
If you’re a breakfast person, this creative spin on eggs benedict will appeal to you. Pair your gravy and turkey with an English muffin and a poached egg for a morning leftover delight.
Source: Thanksgiving Eggs Benedict | Closet Cooking
This vegetable curry is great for using up some of your turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving to satisfy after cold, long days of shopping. Spicy and warm, serve it over a bed of rice and take your turkey on a journey around the world.
Source: Turkey Vegetable Curry | Food for My Family
Take your turkey south of the border with these sweet and spicy enchiladas.
Source: Turkey Enchiladas | Real Mom Kitchen
|Shaina Olmanson is the home cook and photographer behind Food for My Family and the author of Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine. She is a contributor to Babble.com’s Family Kitchen Blog and the food channel on Lifetime Moms. Shaina can usually be found cooking, at the computer or behind the camera.