You shopped and cooked for days, maybe even weeks, preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. Now that the work is done, what’s left in your fridge? Holiday meals often leave us with leftovers and extra ingredients that we don’t usually purchase or use.
Avoiding waste is always top of mind but, when food costs more, it feels even more, well, wasteful. That said, by Friday evening you may be looking for something other than more stuffing, potatoes, and turkey. With these recipes and imaginative ideas, you can create leftover lunches with a whole new flavor profile.
I love the classic, simple sandwich of turkey and cranberry mayo (cranberry sauce combined with a bit of mayo). But a day or two after the holiday you’ll probably crave something different. Instead, turn to sandwiches that transform leftovers from your holiday table into something you don’t even recognize. You won’t regret trying a Curried Turkey-Avocado Sandwich or a Spicy Sweet Potato Sandwich.
A typical Thanksgiving table lacks bright salads, so why not use your leftovers to create a fresh new dish. Cran-Broccoli Slaw and Cranberry Pear Salad both make use of extra cranberries. And Walnut Turkey & Rice Salad gives leftover turkey a delicious new role.
Turning Thanksgiving leftovers into a savory soup is great for post-holiday lunches. If you make enough and freeze the rest, you can enjoy it again on a cold winter day. This Bean & Macaroni Soup uses the extra fresh herbs and produce that you have on hand after the holiday. Turkey Sweet Potato Soup uses leftover turkey and potatoes. For a complete meal, add savory Pumpkin Sage Muffins, full of herbs and spare pumpkin puree.
If you bought more sweet potatoes than you need, store the rest unwashed in a cool, dark, dry place. Then, you can easily bake and enjoy “as is.” Or you can cut them into delicious fries or wedges (that pair perfectly with an apple cider reduction). I recommend turning them into something unexpected — try spiralized Sweet Potato Waffles or mash them into Veggie Patties. Why not add something new to your weekly menu? These tasty Sweet Potato Pesto Burritos can be frozen and reheated for a convenient and satisfying lunch.
Keep it safe
Whether you decide to reinvent Thanksgiving leftovers or simply store them, keeping them safe is a top priority. Consider these three factors as you decide what can be saved and what should be discarded:
- How you prepared your recipes (were fresh ingredients handled properly before cooking?)
- Whether or not you already reheated dishes to serve them
- How long dishes are left at room temperature throughout the day (did they exceed the “2 hour” rule)