Thanksgiving feast can last much longer

Give holiday leftovers renewed life as soups, sandwiches as well as entrees and side dishes


Thanksgiving is a time to acknowledge our blessings, visit with family and friends and feast on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

But don’t stuff yourself too much. As delicious as the holiday meal is, the leftovers can be just as tasty.

They can also be healthy. Leftover turkey is lean protein with fewer calories and less fat and sodium per serving than beef, veal, pork or lamb.  

Turkey sandwiches are almost as much a tradition on the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday sales, but there are other ways to use the holiday entree.

Make a rich turkey stock with the carcass, adding bits of turkey and leftover vegetables to the broth to make a warm, hearty soup.

Chop the white and dark meat and add it to an omelet, quiche or salad. Combine it with cooked vegetables and a thick cream of chicken soup to make a filling for biscuits or rolls.

Create a turkey taco with leftover meat garnished with lettuce, tomato and cheese and rolled in tortillas.

Even traditional turkey sandwiches can take on new life. Instead of mayonnaise, use a little leftover cranberry sauce to ramp up the flavor. Or top the turkey with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese, then broil for an Italian flavor.

Remember not to leave the Thanksgiving turkey standing around a warm kitchen for too long after carving. Cover and refrigerate within two hours of serving.

Use the leftovers within three days, otherwise freeze the meat. It will last a month or two and can be quickly thawed for a last-minute meal in the hectic days to come.

Freeze cooked, boned turkey in portions by wrapping it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and sealing it in a freezer bag.

Following are a few ideas for leftover turkey from

Turkey Cheese Dip

2-1/2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup diced turkey
1 round loaf sourdough bread
1/2 bunch chives, diced, optional
    In a large mixing bowl, mix cheeses, onion, garlic, mayonnaise and turkey until just combined. Set aside.
    Carve the top of the sourdough bread off using a serrated knife, being careful not to cut through to the bottom of the loaf. Pull off the top piece, creating a lid, and use your hands to tear out the inside of the bread, forming a bowl.
    Pour cheese dip into the bread bowl, then top with additional Colby-Jack and a light sprinkle of chives. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, until cheese on top has melted and turned a light, golden brown.
    Chop the bread bowl lid into bite-sized bits. Serve alongside the dip.

Thanksgiving in a Blanket

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
3/4 cup shredded roasted turkey
3/4 cup prepared stuffing
3/4 cup prepared mashed potatoes
1 cup cranberry sauce
1/4 cup prepared gravy, warmed
    On a lightly floured work surface, roll out crescent rolls. Top with a spoonful each of mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing and cranberries. Roll up and transfer to a large baking sheet that’s lined with parchment paper.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Serve with gravy for dunking.


Thanksgiving Leftover Lasagna

2 tablespoons bread crumbs
3 cups prepared mashed potatoes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
1 cup chopped cooked green beans or other leftover green vegetables
1 cup leftover shredded turkey
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 cup gravy
    Mix mashed potatoes and eggs until smooth. Spread about one-third of the mixture into the bottom of a buttered eight-inch baking pan that’s been coated with breadcrumbs.
    Sprinkle with cheese, then drizzle with gravy. Top with green beans, turkey, more gravy and cranberry sauce. Spread more mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle with more cheese. Top with stuffing then drizzle with gravy.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until lasagna is warmed through.Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with more gravy, if desired.

Fried Mashed Potato Balls

3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/3 cups panko bread crumbs
    In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes with cooked bacon, cheddar, chives and garlic powder.Season with salt and pepper. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.
    Place eggs and panko in separate shallow bowls. Use a small cookie scoop to scoop one to two-inch balls of mashed potato mixture. Roll in your hands, then dredge first in egg and then in panko. Repeat until all mashed potatoes are used.
    Heat three inches of oil in a large cast iron skillet until candy thermometer reads 375 degrees. Fry potato balls in batches for two to three minutes, until golden on all sides. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and season immediately with salt.

Thanksgiving Nachos

1 bag ruffled potato chips
1 cup gouda
1 cup cooked, shredded turkey
1-1/2 cups leftover stuffing
1 can cranberry sauce
1/2 cup turkey gravy
    Spread potato chips on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top with half of the cheese, turkey and stuffing. Top with more chips and remaining cheese, turkey and stuffing.
    Bake in 375-degree oven for eight to 10 minutes, until the cheese melts.
    Top with dollops of cranberry sauce and garnish with a drizzle of turkey gravy.


Turkey and Rice Soup

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup jasmine rice
2 cups leftover shredded turkey
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
    In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon about eight minutes, until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Drain all but one tablespoon bacon fat.
    Add onion, carrots, bell pepper and garlic to pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook five to seven minutes, until soft.
    Add white wine, broth and rice and bring to a boil. Simmer about 20 minutes, until rice is tender.
    Stir in leftover turkey and parsley until warmed through. Serve immediately with crispy bacon.

Thanksgiving Ring

1 8-ounce tube crescent rolls
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup leftover stuffing
1-1/2 cups shredded leftover turkey
1 cup leftover cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
Leftover gravy, warmed, for dipping
    Unroll crescent rolls, separating each triangle. Arrange on baking sheet in a sunburst pattern with pointy ends facing outward and bases of triangles overlapping.
    Spread mashed potatoes over triangle bases, forming a ring. Top with stuffing, turkey and cranberry sauce. Fold triangle tips over filling. There will be gaps where ingredients peek out between the triangles.
    Brush crescent dough with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.
    Garnish with parsley and serve with gravy for dipping.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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