Recipes for Holiday Leftovers

Whether you made a double batch of mashed potatoes thinking they’d get eaten, bought too many dinner rolls again, or have almost an entire baking dish of stuffing no one touched, one question remains – what are you going to do with all those leftovers? You don’t want to waste food, but you’re unsure if even your hungry kids can help you eat all this food before it goes bad. And of course they can. Kids love eating! Here’s how to turn all those holiday leftovers into meals for days.

Recipes for Leftover Mashed Potatoes

The creamy consistency of mashed potatoes makes them the perfect ingredient for so many meals. Layer leftover mashed potatoes with Canadian bacon or shredded turkey, gravy, and leftover vegetables to make skillet shepherd’s pie, or combine them with chopped up ham for an easy mashed potato soup. I also like to make mashed potato bowls, like you would make a quinoa or rice bowl. Reheat the mashed potatoes and top ‘em off with leftover turkey, roasted veggies and a drizzle of gravy for an easy, hearty meal. Or for a quick side, make mashed potato pancakes! And if you have extra potatoes that haven’t been mashed, try baking or pan frying them into patties. Top them with cheese or use that extra cranberry sauce you have lying around as a condiment.

Recipes for Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Why do we only get to eat cranberry sauce once a year? It’s tart and a touch sweet, making it the perfect condiment for so many dishes. Use it as a spread on turkey sandwiches, put it on your toast like jelly, or try a peanut butter and cranberry sauce sandwich. Cranberry sauce is a great way to flavor plain yogurt too. You can also repurpose the sauce as a glaze for pork chops or chicken breast, or spoon it over sweet potatoes and sprinkle on some pecans.

Recipes for Leftover Rolls

Roll call! With a table full of sides, turkey and ham, it’s no wonder the rolls barely get touched. But they’re part of the tradition and after the big day, leftover bread can be just the ingredient you need to bulk up your weekly meal plan. Place extra rolls (even if they’re stale!) in the food processor to make breadcrumbs you can use as a coating for fish or chicken, or in meatballs. These homemade breadcrumbs also make a great topping for baked pasta dishes or veggies. Another option is freezing the rolls while they’re fresh and using them as burger buns later – just stick them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until they’re defrosted. You can also cut leftover rolls into cubes and make a French toast bake for breakfast or bread pudding for dessert.

Recipes for Leftover Pie

One slice is hard enough to eat after stuffing yourself with all that other delicious food, and there’s no way you have room for seconds! So leftover pie is pretty much a given. Chopped-up pumpkin or apple pie is a great topping for hot oatmeal, or try adding the pieces to Greek yogurt and top everything off with fresh fruit. Crumble up apple or pecan pie as a streusel-like topping for baked fruit dishes. And for an extra creamy treat, blend a frozen banana with Greek yogurt and pie pieces for an extra thick “milkshake.”

Recipes for Leftover Turkey

In my quest to make sure no one goes hungry on Thanksgiving, I always tend to buy too big of a bird. There are ALWAYS leftovers, which is never a problem because there are so many ways to use up leftover turkey! A leftover turkey sandwich is never a bad idea, or you can top a strawberry kale salad with turkey. For breakfast, whip up a turkey frittata or turkey hash. As for dinner, you can use shredded leftover turkey in just about any recipe that calls for shredded rotisserie chicken.

Recipes for Leftover Gravy

Not even the gravy goes to waste in our house. I like to add a bit of gravy to soup to give it extra thickness and a deeper flavor. Or try lightly pouring gravy over egg noodles, and add some cream and bits of leftover turkey for a super easy stroganoff. What’s more decadent for breakfast than biscuits and gravy? Lighten it up by using half a biscuit per person and pairing it with scrambled eggs (heavy on the egg whites) and fresh fruit. Go ahead, hop on the gravy train! Think twice before tossing those leftovers this year. They aren’t waste … they’re breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of the week!


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