Thanksgiving Extras: 5 Ways to Play with Leftovers

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I rolled home from our over-the-top Thanksgiving feast with friends last night bearing a hefty supply of planned-for leftovers. Now, we’d never diss a next-day classic like a turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches with reheated sides, especially if you make that sandwich with hearty artisan bread, arugula and a sprinkling of blue cheese. But there are other things you can do with all that culinary loot. Here are 5 ideas:

thanksgiving leftovers

  • Make stock. Save that turkey carcass, which you can use in place of chicken to make our Most Versatile Chicken Stock. OK, so technically it then becomes Most Versatile Turkey Stock…
  • Go Mexican. The components of Thanksgiving leftovers play beautifully with Latin fare. In the Southwest, where I live, our version of the turkey sandwich is turkey and cranberry quesadillas. Stir a little chipotle or ancho chile powder into cranberry sauce to transform it into a spicy salsa that you can dollop over turkey tacos–or serve with our Turkey Enchilada Verde Casserole.
  • Make soup or salad. Add shredded turkey to our Simple Udon Soup. Or make it the centerpiece of our Asian Turkey Salad. Roast turkey would also be delicious in place of duck in our Frisee Salad with Lentils.
  • Top a pizza. Pick up some whole wheat pizza dough or even a prebaked whole wheat pizza crust, then use your imagination. Spread a thin base layer of mashed potatoes (or even sweet potatoes, if you didn’t go the candied route), then top it with diced turkey and chopped up leftover veggies (shredded roasted Brussels sprouts would be terrific on this). Finish with a sprinkling of fontina cheese for a pizza that’s redolent with hearty fall flavor.
  • Reinterpret. The components of Thanksgiving leftovers invite you to play with your food. My cache included about a cup and a half of the decadent marshmallow-topped bourbon sweet potatoes our friends made for our feast. I used this treasure to feed a craving for sweet potato pie by simply pureeing the mixture (sweet potatoes, marshmallows and all) with an egg and 2 tablespoons flour. I divided this mixture between two 4-ounce ramekins, topped it with a little streusel (1 teaspoon each of flour, brown sugar, butter and minced pecans) and baked it at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes to make a cute dessert for two tonight.

Except I’ve already gobbled one of them.

What are your tasty ways with Thanksgiving leftovers? Share ‘em here!

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Turkey Enchilada Verde Casserole

I made a batch of Lia’s Roasted Tomatillo and Chile Sauce to use in this enchilada casserole (OK, a Mexican lasagna, really), though you could substitute your favorite jarred salsa verde. We call for cooked, shredded or diced turkey as a way to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers, but this would also work wonderfully with chicken, shredded pork or even diced firm tofu. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro.

turkey enchilada verde casserole1 recipe Roasted Tomatillo and Chile Sauce OR 2 cups jarred salsa verde
Nonstick cooking spray
12-15 (6-inch) corn tortillas
3/4 pound finely shredded or diced cooked turkey (about 3 cups)
1 cup fresh corn (about 1 ear)
1-1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded queso panela OR Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 3-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with 4 tortillas, and trim 1 tortilla as needed to fill in any gaps. Top with 1/2 cup sauce, half the turkey, half the corn and 1/3 cup cheese. Top with 4 tortillas, and trim 1 tortilla as needed to fill in any gaps. Top with 1/2 cup sauce, remaining turkey, remaining corn and 1/3 cup cheese. Top with  4 tortillas, trimming an extra tortilla as needed to fill any gaps. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.  Cover and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until hot and tortillas are golden brown around the edges. Let stand 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6-8

  • http://nourishnetwork.com/members/erikawaz/ Erika Wasielewski

    Oh that enchilada casserole looks wonderful!

    Thanks for the leftover suggestions, I seem to have lost my desire to work with the leftover turkey, and having these suggestions right there makes the whole idea much more do-able.

  • http://nourishnetwork.com/members/alisoneats/ Alison Ashton

    Glad we could help. Enjoy, Erika!