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How to Use up Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

Updated on October 6, 2017

The turkey was moist and succulent under a crisp golden skin. Russet potatoes were whipped to an ethereal buttery silkiness. The gravy was rich and savory with flavors of onion, sage, and fresh mushrooms. Glistening red cranberry relish was flecked with tangy slivers of orange peel. Smooth pudding-like sweet potatoes beckoned to us from under a crunchy streusel topping to "have just one more spoonful."

It Was a Good Thanksgiving

turkey coma
turkey coma | Source

But, then comes Friday

On Black Friday the retailers and merchants hope that the frenzy of Christmas shopping will help them turn a profit for the year. We're not shoppers--in fact, the closest I'll get to a store on Friday is dropping off my older daughter at her job at Wal-Mart in the mid-afternoon. (I'm hoping by then the hysteria will be long past and she won't be mobbed).

It's also a day when we begin to ask ourselves "what in the world am I going to do with all of those leftovers"?

Here are a few suggestions.

5 stars from 1 rating of How to Use Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

Cranberry Sauce

Brie and Cranberry in Puff Pastry

  • One 8-oz round of brie
  • 1 cup cranberry-orange relish or homemade cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 pkg. (one sheet) Pepperidge Farm puff pastry
  • 1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice the round of brie in half horizontally. Mix together the cranberry relish and nuts and spoon over the bottom half of the brie. Place the top portion of the brie on top of the fruit/nuts mixture.

Center the filled round of brie in the center of the pastry. Bring the sides of the pastry up to cover the top and sides of the cheese, trimming as needed.

Brush the beaten egg over the pastry to seal the seams. Place seam-side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. If you wish you may decorate the brie with pastry trimmings, using the egg wash as an adhesive.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.


Mashed Potatoes


Turkey Tetrazzini


Holly's turkey tetrazzini is made rich and creamy with (her secret ingredient) garlic cream cheese.

Turkey Stroganoff


Barry's recipe for turkey stroganoff is a double-header in using up Thanksgiving leftovers. Diced turkey and turkey gravy are mixed with mushrooms and sour cream to make this comforting dish.

Turkey Tarragon Waldorf Salad


  • 3 cups cooked turkey breast, diced
  • 1 cup celery heart (the tender inner portion), diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or seedless grapes
  • 4 tsp. fresh tarragon, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup homemade lemon mayonnaise, (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Chinese cabbage or romaine lettuce, finely chopped


Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Serve on chilled plates.

Homemade Lemon Mayonnaise

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
  1. Place the egg yolks, salt, and lemon juice in the bowl of a blender.
  2. Process until the egg yolk and juice are well-combined and the yolks begin to turn to a lighter shade of yellow.
  3. Remove the fill cap (central portion of the lid).
  4. Place the olive oil in a glass measuring cup with a lip suitable for pouring.
  5. With the blender running, begin adding the oil to the yolk/lemon juice mixture. Start with just one drop at a time and increase to a steady but very slow stream as the oil is absorbed.
  6. Stir in lemon zest

Turkey Enchiladas


  • 3 cups diced (or shredded) cooked turkey
  • 2 jars (16-oz each) mild green salsa
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix together salsa, half-and-half or cream, cumin, and garlic powder to make a sauce. Pour about 3/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan (enough to coat bottom of pan).
  3. Place 4 corn tortillas on top.
  4. Next cover with 1 cup of the turkey. Spoon on some of the sour cream, the sauce and a handful of cheese.
  5. Repeat twice more with another layer of corn tortillas, turkey, sour cream, sauce and cheese.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  7. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.

What is Your Favorite Thanksgiving Leftover?

See results

© 2014 Linda Lum


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    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi RoadMonkey - I have even more ideas for using leftover turkey. Perhaps I'll prepare another hub. Thanks and I hope your husband likes these new recipes.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      I love turkey and leftovers. We have been doing the same things for 40 years or so and my husband is a bit fed up of the same old, same old, so now I have some new recipes to try!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Susan Recipes - I'm glad you found my hub and hope you will try some of these dishes.

    • Susan Recipes profile image

      Susan 3 years ago from India

      Ah these leftovers recipes made my mouth water. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Thanks Bill. I know I can always depend on you to stop by for a visit. I too love the leftovers--give me a pile of mashed potatoes and some stuffing and a bit (no, a LOT of gravy) and I'm a happy CarbDiva (I don't even need the turkey). I wish you and Bev a Happy Thanksgiving as well. We have much for which to give thanks, don't we?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm drooling, which I assume was the reason for this article. :) I seriously love leftovers during the holiday, so thanks for the recipes and the enjoyable read. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.