It’s satisfying to see the fridge filled with mashed potatoes, turkey, and stuffing, but also daunting in the sense of how to use it all up? No need to stress, just use your imagination and add a dash of flexibility. Here are a few ideas from the pros to take advantage of the post-holiday bounty. Just embrace it!
First, Freeze Some
Unless you’ve got an army of hungry teenagers at home, it’s not likely you’ll be able to eat all the leftovers before they spoil. So first assess how much you can realistically use, then divide, bag, and store the rest. Be sure to label it, too, or you might not have any idea later what’s in that mystery bag in the deep freeze.
Don’t get locked into using dinner leftovers for dinner a second, and third, time around. You can parlay them into any meal or snack, really. Mashed potatoes can become breakfast or brunch potato pancakes and sliced turkey makes delectable lunch mini-sandwiches on the extra feast dinner rolls piled high with stuffing, gravy and cranberry dressing.
Go Food First
Let the ingredient dictate what you make—not the other way around. So if it’s leftover roasted potatoes you’ve got, think about what dishes call for those already. For example, hash. Chop up the already cooked potatoes and add them to Hash Brown Casserole with Smoked Beef and Baked Eggs. Or, use up both the extra potatoes and turkey for Turkey Potato Hash. Roasted or steamed potatoes also make the base of a delicious potato salad, whether classic German-style or a French Nicoise, which will use up those green beans, too.
Go Colorful and Ethnic
What makes leftovers boring is the same thing over and over again. So incorporate those extras into something Mexican or Thai or Lebanese. Think: a visually appealing dish with spice, texture and zip. If you’re making hash, for instance, it can be Tex-Mex Veggie Hash with black beans, avocado and chili powder oomph. Got a surplus of yams? Transform them into a fragrant and hearty Potato, Yam and Spinach Curry.
If All Else Fails, Make Soup
Soup is always a winner and you can just toss it all into the pot. (If the recipe calls for raw poultry or veggies, just add them at the last minute since they’re already cooked. You may need to revise and/or improvise.) Try Homemade Turkey Soup with Creamer Potatoes, Creamy Turkey Chowder and Slow Cooker Turkey & Potato Soup. Enjoy it for dinner or lunch, then freeze the rest in servings of two or four for healthy to-go options during the busy work week.
Want more recipes? Check out our Top 5 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes.
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