Unique Uses for Thanksgiving Dinner Leftovers

thanksleftoversCan I let you in on a little secret? Under the guise of “having enough food” for our Thanksgiving dinner, I purposely prepare more than we’ll actually eat. Why? Because I love the leftovers that the meal gives us. Now, usually we’re not big fans of leftovers. Sure, we’ll eat them rather than waste them, but I try to stick to cooking “just enough,” even erring on the side of too little. But when the winter blues set in come January, a tasty second round of Thanksgiving dinner, minus the effort, can’t be beat.

But aside from a rerun of the dinner, what else can you do with the extras? Plenty! Here are some answers to the age-old question, “What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?”

Turkey- After so many years of helping my mother cook, and now having my own family to feed, the question, is not so much “what to do with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers?” as “which recipes should I try this year?” I like to chop up some to freeze for casseroles and use some for turkey clubs and other sandwiches during following week. For more inspiration, check out the collection of yummy turkey recipes at LearnVest. 

Stuffing- You may be wondering what to do with leftover stuffing; I haven’t found a good way to give it a makeover, so we use it ‘as-is.’ I just portion it out and freeze it for later in the winter; usually for aforementioned second Thanksgiving Day dinner early in the new year.

Mashed Potatoes- These don’t freeze all that well, so I use them for hearty and savory potato pancakes on Friday or Saturday Morning. My recipe is as follows: use about two cups of potatoes, add in a well-beaten egg, some chopped onion, garlic, salt and pepper. For each pancake, place about 1/4 cop of mixture in a frying pan with olive oil. Fry until golden brown, flip and repeat on the other side.

Veggies- For simple bowls of buttered and salted veggies like corn, broccoli, peas and cauliflower, I portion them out into pint size bags (into one to two cup amounts) and place them in my “leftover container” in the freezer. Whenever I need veggies to put in a casserole or soup I just grab a few different bags.

Desserts- Pies, cakes, cookies and candy…oh, my! To avoid a sugar overdose, I freeze these in unmarked plastic containers and then we have “mystery dessert.”

Want more ideas? Check out this guide from The Simple Dollar for more great ways to make use of Thanksgiving  leftovers.

Do you dig or dislike Thanksgiving leftovers? How do you handle them?

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