So, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and now you’re stuck with a week’s worth of leftovers. What will you do with them? If you’re like me, you’ll probably become burnt out on eating the same turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce; but throwing it all away is not an option! Why not get creative and transform those leftovers into something new, delicious, and hopefully kid friendly? You’re in luck, because I’m sharing a few makeover ideas for those Thanksgiving leftovers!
First thing’s first…the turkey. This is probably the #1 food item that leaves my family with the largest amount of leftovers. We tend to have a decent amount of turkey breast leftover because my husband and I usually go for dark turkey meat on Thanksgiving day. One simple, no-cook way that we like to use the leftover turkey is to make sandwiches with it! Traditionally, we eat an early Thanksgiving dinner (before the football game), so in the evening, we will all go into the kitchen and make a little sandwich buffet. Here’s a list of fixings we like to use, but of course you can use whatever you’d like!
- Rolls or croissants from the bakery section of the grocery store
- Variety pack of sliced cheese (so everyone can have their favorite kind)
- Iceberg lettuce
- Sliced pickles
- Turkey, of course
Okay, so I stumbled upon this idea and had to share. If you want to get a bit more fancy and you’re someone who is adventurous enough to pile all of your leftovers onto one sandwich, check out this recipe from delish.com! I seriously may consider trying it this year!
Leftover Cranberry Sauce
Next up…the cranberry sauce. It’s on our table every year at Thanksgiving. Some people love it, some people take a “no thank you” bite and move on to the next item on their plate. Either way, this is one dish we always have left over.
This year, why not use it to make cranberry meatballs? Make them for just you and the family or bring as an appetizer to the “friendsgiving” you’ll be attending the next day!
**Note: This recipe from delish.com calls for homemade meatballs, but I don’t see why you couldn’t make it easier on yourself and use frozen meatballs. (That’s what I would do…Costco meatballs for the win!)
Stuffing…This might be my favorite Thanksgiving dish and I’ll admit, I don’t have a problem stuffing my face with leftover stuffing! However, a few years ago, my husband and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house and we had WAY too much stuffing leftover. Sadly, we ended up having to throw some of it out. I wish I had seen a recipe like these Stuffin’ Muffins from budgetbytes.com because they are customizable and easy to freeze!
I couldn’t pick just one, so I’m going to lightly touch on three green vegetables that are traditionally served at Thanksgiving dinner: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and green beans.
- Brussel Sprouts: We all know that brussel sprouts do NOT reheat well in the microwave. They become mushy and the flavor just isn’t the same as when they were first prepared. Well, have no fear because I have found a leftover brussel sprout hash from delish.com that looks fantastic! This would be a yummy brunch dish for the day after Thanksgiving!
- Broccoli: This is a Thanksgiving side I grew up with as a kid…steamed broccoli with a little bit of butter. Not a popular food item at the kids table, but it was the one that mom and dad said we “must eat, or no pie”.
So what if you have leftover broccoli and the kids just aren’t into it? Here is a super simple recipe for cheesy chicken broccoli rice casserole from jocooks.com that my family loves! **Tip: Use your leftover turkey instead of chicken.
- Green Beans: This is a no brainer people…if you have leftover fresh green beans from Thanksgiving, use them to make green bean casserole! Here is the recipe on the back of the French’s Onion’s package
If you made green bean casserole for Thanksgiving (as many families do) and happen to have leftovers, reheat and enjoy…I don’t think green bean casserole is ever in need of a makeover. In fact, our family usually argues about who gets to polish off the last few bites!
Last but not least…PIE! Do you have enough leftover pie to eat for days? Lucky you! This Apple Pie Milkshake recipe from delish.com looks absolutely amazing. I bet pumpkin pie would also taste heavenly. Maybe add some cinnamon on top? YUM!
Do you need some additional inspiration, or do you just want to keep browsing ideas?
Check out 60 Best Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes That You’ll Want To Make Year Round . They have everything from soups, sandwiches, and casseroles to waffles, pies and cakes!
Also, 25 Genius Ways To Use Up All Your Thanksgiving Leftovers. There are several appetizing recipes on here that will help use up that leftover turkey.
Do you have a Thanksgiving leftover transformation recipe that you and your family enjoy? Please share it with us on our Facebook page!
About the Author
Jen was born and raised in Carrollton, TX. As a former 2nd grade teacher, she is now a stay-at-home mom raising her two beautiful daughters, Madeline and Charlotte. She joined the CECPTA in February 2019 and is part of the purple and green playgroups. She enjoys date nights with her husband of 8 years, playing outside with her kids, exercising, a good cup of coffee, and traveling.