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How to Use up Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

Updated on November 21, 2014
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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

What is Your Favorite Thanksgiving Leftover?

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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.

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.


Oh turkey, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:



Turkey Tetrazzini


  • 1 package (7 ounces) spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cubed cooked turkey
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 jar (2 ounces) chopped pimientos, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Additional shredded cheddar cheese, optional


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Transfer to a
  2. large bowl; add the next 10 ingredients.
  3. Spoon into a greased 2-1/2-qt. casserole; sprinkle with cheese if
  4. desired. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until
  5. heated through. Yield: 6-8 servings.

(Source - Taste of Home 2014)


Turkey Stroganoff


  • 1/2 pound button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 lb leftover cooked turkey meat, dark or light meat, roughly chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup leftover turkey gravy (or chicken or turkey stock)
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp of chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dry thyme (important, do not omit)
  • 1 cup of sour cream at room temperature (can substitute plain, full-fat yogurt)
  • Salt to taste (you will need more salt than you expect)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb egg noodles, cooked


  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook without oil for 3 to 5 minutes. (Believe it or not, mushrooms are more than 80 percent water). Cooking them in this manner will coax them to release their juices and begin to brown.
  2. Next add the butter and onion. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chopped turkey and the gravy and stir to combine. Cook for one or two minutes, then add the herbs.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in the sour cream. If the sauce seems too thick add a bit of water. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
  5. Serve immediately over egg noodles.


Turkey Tarragon Waldorf Salad


  • 3 cups cooked turkey breast, diced
  • 1 cup celery heart (the tender inner portion), diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 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, 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.

© 2014 Linda Lum


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    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 years ago from India

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

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 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 2 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.

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