USA: Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

I was especially grateful to spend Thanksgiving at home this past week as I was living in Sydney, Australia the year prior. Though I loved being able to go to the beach during late-November evenings, the holiday just did not feel the same without my family by my side. Many of my Australian colleagues and friends did not understand the concept of Thanksgiving, and with the 16 hour time change, I felt even more detached from one of my favorite holidays. This Thanksgiving, I made sure to embrace the chilly fall weather, watch hours of football, share memories with my family, and feast on endless mounds of food.  

Round 1

Round 1

In my opinion, one of the most anticipated outcomes of Thanksgiving is the mass amount of leftovers. My mom purposely makes 15 pounds of her famous mashed potatoes, which my brother claims ‘taste like cookies’, and almost 40 pounds of turkey to allow us to gorge on several extra helpings over the weekend. 

There are many ways to be creative in the kitchen with your Thanksgiving leftovers. Here are a few simple recipes that utilize your plethora of meats, carbs, starches, and vegetables:

#1 Roasted Vegetable Omelette

Friday morning, post-Thanksgiving binge, sauté some of your extra roasted veggies in a pan with olive oil, add two whisked eggs, crumbles of goat cheese, a pinch of salt, pepper, and chives, and voilà! You have a healthy brekkie to fuel you for your day of shopping. 

#2 Waldorf Turkey Salad

Toss up a combo of shredded turkey breast, celery nibs, apple chunks, halved red seedless grapes, candied pecans, and baby spinach with a poppy seed vinaigrette. It’s a lighter spin on a traditionally heavier, mayo-based, chicken waldorf salad.

#3 Homemade Gobbler

Wawa’s hot turkey gobbler is a quintessential fall indulgence on the East Coast. With your leftovers, it’s easy to replicate it in the comfort of your home. Layer turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and brie cheese in between a ciabatta roll or grainy bread and toast in the oven. It’s thanksgiving #2 in your mouth. 

#4 Turkey Tortilla Soup

Soup is one of my favorite (and easiest) meals to whip up during the cooler months. The basis of any yummy soup is a quality homemade broth with spices and vegetables. Add some grains and meat, if you prefer. I tend to throw in a random combo of ingredients from my kitchen cabinet and it always comes together deliciously.

When I think of the Thanksgiving meal, spicy foods do not come to mind. I like how this turkey tortilla soup recipe still uses the turkey from Thanksgiving, but gives it some Mexican flair. The creamy avocado and refreshing cilantro mellow out the kick from the chili powder.

What are some other good recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers?