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What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?

With a refrigerator full of Thanksgiving leftovers, try these ideas to make use out of the turkey and sides.

Turkey Sandwiches

Chances are, after cooking a big Thanksgiving meal, you want to do very little cooking for a few days. Leftover turkey sandwiches are a classic for a good reason -they're delicious. Get creative and use some fancy relish or melt the cheese or add some stuffing, gravy or cranberry sauce. Or throw some bacon on there for a flavor boost.


Making a delicious soup base is easy with a leftover bird. Boil those turkey bones in a big pot with a carrot, onion and stalk of celery. Strain the bones and extra turkey stuff, and you have instant, inexpensive and tasty turkey broth. Now you've got a delicious base for soups. The broth freezes well so you can enjoy that bird year-round.

Go Green

Grab some lettuce and your favorite salad fixings. Toss on a little diced turkey and make a fabulous vinaigrette with your cranberry sauce, a little oil and vinegar. Turn stuffing into homemade croutons with a quick bake in the oven. It's a healthy, light meal and uses some of your yummy holiday leftovers.

Roll It Into A Casserole

Step one: Put your leftover turkey (or whatever protein you have), vegetables, starches, gravies, noodles, etc. in a baking dish. Step two: Bake. For a shepherd's pie twist, add leftover mashed potatoes to the top to form a crust, and voila, another new meal.

Cranberry Sauce Revisited

A little cranberry sauce goes a long way, so there's bound to be extra. But the tart treat goes well in a variety of recipes and adds a pick-me-up to the pile of starch-heavy leftovers. For a sweet-tart contrast, use your cranberry sauce in a muffin recipe or as an ice cream topping.

Feed The Birds

There are plenty of recipes for day-old rolls or bread. But here's an easy way to give away food and feel some redemption for eating a fowl on Thanksgiving. Bring the old bread to the park and feed it to some hungry birds.

Stuffing For Breakfast

A frittata is a baked or pan-fried egg and cheese dish, and it makes sense to add leftover stuffing to the mix. Warm some stuffing in a pan, add some cheese, then add some whisked eggs and milk. Cook on stovetop or broil in the oven until the egg is cooked through. This is great for anyone who likes eating breakfast at any hour of the day.

Squash Soup

Squash soup is a cousin of tomato soup. Both are nourishing, simple and complement a variety of dishes. Squash soup can be gingery, cheesy or nutty. Or just plain. Try a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt on top.


Enchiladas are delicious and taste quite a bit different than the traditional turkey dinner. They require an ensemble of ingredients but precooked turkey, pre-shredded cheese and canned ingredients including enchilada sauce, olives and maybe chiles make preparing these delights a simple process.

Crab Cakes

When we're ready for something completely different than the standard Thanksgiving fare, use your leftovers for crab cakes. The crab (or any sea being) is about a 180-degree turn from heavy turkey. And what makes the fish or crustacean form into a cake shape? Bread crumbs from your leftover rolls or stuffing, and mashed potatoes. It's a guaranteed way to reinvent some sides into a new taste sensation.

Article Topic Follows: Holidays

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