The Ultimate Leftovers Cheatsheet

Today finds most of us preparing for tomorrow’s feast, but we all know that one of the most fun parts of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Reheating a plate of turkey and stuffing is a joy reserved for post-holiday relaxing, but there are many more creative ways to repurpose your holiday fare. Also, if you have family in town and the leftovers are starting to dwindle, you may be looking for ways to extend the food supply with little effort. And don’t forget quick meals are essential if Black Friday shopping is on your to-do list! This is why I’ve compiled some ideas and links for easy, budget-friendly, and yummy uses for your Thanksgiving leftovers. Enjoy!


This Italian omelette is perfect year round for refrigerator-dump style breakfasts. You can make a Thanksgiving version for a late breakfast or brunch. One of my favorites is seasoned green beans and sweet potatoes with a little roasted red pepper and feta, but almost any combination works well. Just dice leftovers and add in whatever you have in your pantry or fridge that will amp up the flavor. Try tossing in some turkey with a swirl of pesto, a few potatoes, and some leftover parmesan from your cheese platter. If you don’t have a favorite frittata recipe on hand, try a play on Alton Brown’s here or Martha Stewart’s here.

Overnight Breakfast Strata

If you have unused rolls or croissants from your bread basket, this dish is sure to be a hit. Just assemble it as you put away your Thanksgiving leftovers and leave it to set overnight in the fridge. Simply bake in the oven for a pre-shopping breakfast that will feed a crowd. Or serve it with a spinach salad for an effortless breakfast-for-dinner meal. As the recipe says, any combination will work. Ham, asparagus, and swiss sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Read the recipe from blogger Ezra Poundcake here.

Gourmet Sandwiches

Turkey, cranberry sauce, whole grain mustard, with cheese and greens is always a delicious combination, but there is no need to stop there. Spread cranberry sauce on a simple grilled cheese to dip in hot soup or layer leftover veggies with some roasted peppers in a panini. One of my favorites is this grilled ham and Gruyère sandwich with pears. And again, if you have leftover dinner rolls, you can easily update the recipe by baking mini sandwiches in a warm oven.


So, you have some green beans, some mashed sweet potatoes, and some turkey, but not enough to make a whole meal for the family. Simply reheat them together with some chicken stock, add in some celery and cannellini beans, and you are on your way to a delicious dinner. Broil some parmesan or Gruyère on top to add even more flavor. You can always dice leftover breads for croutons as well. If you are looking for a way to transform mashed potatoes into soup, start with this recipe from Rachael Ray and then add other leftovers in any combination you like.

Hopefully, these ideas helped spark your creativity to get imaginative with those leftovers! Really, there is no limit to what you can do. Pasta bakes, pizzas, and inventive stir fries may be in your future. How do you use your Thanksgiving leftovers?

Post a comment