Thanksgiving Turkey: Recipes for Today and Tomorrow

How to Transform Leftovers Into Practical and Delicious Meals


Food Network

There are lots of innovative takes on Thanksgiving leftovers.

It’s Nov. 29—the day after Thanksgiving—and the fridge is stocked full of Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. Donating them to houseguests did not make a sufficient dent in the abundance of food. How on earth will all the food be eaten before it goes bad? The answer: make even more meals from all the leftovers. The Rebellion selected their top five picks of recipes from Food Network’s Best Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes and gave suggestions for the best meals in terms of tastiness, practicality and creativity.

The number five spot goes to the Leftover Stuffing Waffles. They serve as an innovative breakfast food for fueling a busy day of Black Friday shopping. The recipe is quite simple and easy to follow, as eggs are the only required additional ingredient. Begin by greasing the waffle griddle, and scoop the egg and stuffing mixture onto it. After cooking, the waffles can be topped with reheated mashed potatoes and gravy; maple syrup can be swapped for cranberry sauce for a savory take on a sweet breakfast classic.

The number four spot is reserved for a savory turkey and vegetable soup recipe, called Bird to the Last Drop. Pair this with a crusty Tuscan dipping bread for lunch or dinner, or use up those leftover rolls! Take the unused turkey and simmer with vegetable stock for about an hour. Then, add leftover steamed vegetables, rice, turkey pieces, old bay seasoning and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. After 20 more minutes of simmering, this deliciously healthy and satisfying meal can last the next couple of days.

The third favorite recipe is very easy to stick in a lunch box and reheat for a snack. Vegetable Samosas are little hot pockets of puff pastry filled with potatoes and vegetables bursting with an abundance of flavor that will keep the stomach full and the mouth happy. For this recipe, combine leftover mashed potatoes, any leftover vegetables, curry powder, chopped cilantro, mint and ginger; season with salt and cayenne pepper. Then, cut out squares of puff pastry, fill them with a small amount of the mixture, seal the pockets with the other layer of pastry and brush the top with a beaten egg. Finally, bake them for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

The second place dish is a Thanksgiving take on a classic family dinner for any weeknight pleasure: Turkey Pot Pie. Again, this is a time-efficient recipe and a quick dinner for the picky eaters. First, take the leftover fresh vegetables from the dipping platter, and sauté chopped onion, celery and carrots until it cooks down softly. Then add flour to thicken the mix, and gradually pour in chicken or homemade turkey stock and simmer. After simmering, add in potatoes, along with shredded turkey, parsley and peas. Finally, pour the mixture into a casserole dish, top with pie crust and brush the crust with a beaten egg. Cook for 30 minutes and this meal is ready for dinner!

The first pick goes to Turkey and Stuffing Reuben Sandwiches—a unique twist on a deli classic with a mouthwatering taste and multi-layered bite that any sandwich fanatic craves. To make a successful Reu- ben, make sure to use rye bread. First, spread butter on the outsides for a crispy texture. Next, spread Russian dressing on the insides of the bread and place it on a baking sheet to broil. The Turkey and Stuffing Reuben Sandwich is an innovative take on leftovers. 

In this fancy take, however, swap the corned beef for sliced turkey. Then, layer the sandwich with a slice of swiss cheese, sauerkraut and turkey, put the other buttered slice of bread on top and bake under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling and the bread is crispy and golden brown. These sandwiches are bound to be a hit with all the aspects of Thursday’s dinner and the flavor of a classic Reuben. Do not stress about the excess of day-old food in the refrigerator. With a small number of extra ingredients, minimal effort and a little bit of creativity, the Thanksgiving leftovers could instantly become the new favorite recipes for the family.