Whenever he ends a toast, my dad says “to good health, good friends, fellowship, and the privilege to serve”. There is much to be grateful for. Whether your family and friends are near or far, Thanksgiving is one of the best days on the calendar. The simple pleasure of sitting around a table creates treasured memories. But unless you have the human equivalent of garbage disposal coming over who could eat until their stomach just can’t physically stretch any further, you’re going to have leftovers. So, we scoured the web to round up the best recipes for your Thanksgiving leftovers.
- How to store leftovers
- What to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers
- Ways to use leftover turkey
- What to do with all the pumpkin pie filling and crust
- Ideas for using up mashed potatoes and gravy
- Recipes for stuffing and cranberry sauce
- Save more on Thanksgiving Dinner
1. How to store leftovers
Keeping your leftovers helps to reduce food waste. Did you know that 63% of the food that gets thrown away could’ve been eaten? In fact, according to the National Zero Waste Council’s research on household food waste in Canada, almost 2.2 million tonnes of edible food is wasted each year which costs Canadians in excess of $17 billion. That’s crazy! When you average that out to individual Canadian households, that’s 140 kilograms of wasted food per year. Did you realize you’re throwing more than $1,100 per year into the trash?!
That said, preparing and storing leftovers requires some consideration. Here are some basic food safety tips to help keep leftovers safe from harmful bacteria.
- Always use a clean container to hold the leftovers, or wrap the leftovers in leak-proof plastic bags to prevent cross-contamination. Keep different types of leftovers separate.
- Eat refrigerated leftovers within 2 to 3 days, or freeze them for later use.
- Date leftovers to help identify the contents and to ensure they are not stored too long
What to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers
Leftovers are a great way to save money and use up food that would otherwise go wasted. With so many possibilities, you can create some incredible dishes with leftovers from any time! Imagine the flavors of your favorite Thanksgiving dish or another meal-with an extra layer added in because it’s leftovers instead.
The possibilities are truly limitless when using these tips on how to make delicious meals out of nothing but what we already have around – after all everyone likes them as much they say they do. We’ve broken down the Thanksgiving dinner and rounded up some recipes that might help get the inspiration going.
Recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers: Turkey
There are many ways you can use leftover turkey. As a rule of thumb, it keeps for 2-3 days safely in your fridge. So, easy ideas are of course in sandwiches, bagels, and wraps. But, we pulled together a round-up of recipes you can use to level up your leftover game.
Some fantastic recipes for leftover turkey from Thanksgiving include:
- Make a Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich: Next-day turkey sandwiches made on slightly toasted and buttered bread with a little bit of brie cheese, arugula, a bit of stuffing, and cranberry sauce is what mother nature intended.
- Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini: This is a quick and easy way to use up your leftover turkey. It will also become a family favorite to boot.
- Turkey Casserole: This fall favorite is sure to warm your heart and your belly.
- Leftover Turkey Soup: Is there anything better than a yummy soup in the day or two after Thanksgiving? This recipe is highly rated and looks amazing!
Recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers: what do to with leftover pie crust dough?
Here’s the good news – you’ve just spent all this time cooking and leftover pie crust lasts for a while depending on how you store it:
- Storing leftover pie crust in your refrigerator: Squash all your scraps together. Place them in a zip-top bag or a sealable, reusable container and store in your refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
- Storing in the freezer: Squish scraps together and put them into a freezer-safe bag or container. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 12 hours before using. It’s pretty simple!
Here are some recipe ideas for reusing your extra pie crust dough:
- Cinnamon Sugar Pie Dough Cookies: Melt some butter and brush across one side of the pie crust. Dust with cinnamon sugar and bake until golden brown. So much yes…!
- DIY Pop-Tarts: Roll out the pie dough into a sheet and cut it into squares (or into other shapes using a pastry cutter). Put your favorite jam or another filling on one side. Score around the edges and place another piece over the top. Squeeze edges together and fold inwards if you feel you might need to. Cook in your oven at 375 degrees F/180 degrees C until golden brown.
- PB+J Roll-Ups: Roll out the pie dough into a sheet. Generously spread some peanut butter and jam starting from the left-hand side and halfway across the sheet. Roll up the sheet starting from the left-hand side. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown.
- Pie Crust Cookies: As described. Very delicious.
Ideas for using up Thanksgiving leftover mashed potatoes and gravy
We all know that mashed potatoes are a must at Thanksgiving dinner, but did you also make more than necessary? We’re guessing the answer is yes. And if it’s anything like us then there will definitely be leftovers! Fried onions. Mashed sweetcorn with butter mixed in… sides don’t get much better than mashed potato during Turkey Day festivities! So what do you need to do?
Storing leftover mashed potatoes
Leftover mashed potato stores well in your refrigerator for a few days. If you need to store it for longer, it’s best to freeze it. Keep in mind, how well it defrosts depends on a few factors such as whether you added any extra ingredients, did you use milk or cream, and so on. However, here’s a great resource on how to freeze leftover mashed potato.
Here are some recipe ideas for leftover mashed potato and gravy:
- Add to your turkey sandwich to make a culinary lovechild of your Thanksgiving dinner. You can even add the gravy…. trust me.
- Fried Mash Potato Balls: This recipe from Delish is easy enough to make it’s probably dangerous! You can use your gravy as a dipping sauce.
- Gnocci: Here’s another recipe, but because you’ve already got mashed potato, you can skip straight to step 3
- Fluffy Potato Rolls: I haven’t made these myself, but I’d love to hear what you think!
Recipes for leftover stuffing and cranberry sauce
Thanksgiving dinner is Thanksgiving dinner because of the sides. They always carry the day. But, what to do with them when the day is done?
Some recipes for reusing leftover stuffing:
- Leftover Stuffing Hash: possibly the perfect post-Thanksgiving breakfast. In fact, you can use much of your Thanksgiving leftovers in a morning-after hash. Simply crack an egg on top.
- Stuffing Meatballs: This is a really light and nutritious lunch or dinner recipe. In fact, pour
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