Food and Drink

Experiment with new ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers and let your taste buds take over

Some find holiday leftovers uninspiring, but the remains of the day can be an invitation to break rules in the kitchen and sometimes even come up with a “new” favorite dish. Foods that might seem mismatched get a turn to shine with new and unexpected partners.

Have a waffle maker? Why not press some leftover mac and cheese or stuffing and crisp up a savory waffle to top with eggs or syrup? Or make mashed potato turkey patties by combining two large eggs with two cups of leftover mashed potato, two cups leftover shredded turkey, two cups leftover stuffing, chopped fresh herbs or green onion. Heat some butter and oil in a skillet. Cook patties in batches, about two minutes per side until golden and crisp; top with your choice of gravy, fried eggs, cranberry sauce, sour cream or salmon roe. Or toss some shredded turkey with herbs and leftover stuffing and roll the mixture in wonton wrappers or lumpia wrappers for Thanksgiving egg rolls.

Leftover pumpkin purée or apples from pie making create a flavor-packed healthful smoothie: Blend together pumpkin purée or apples, ice, uncooked oats, ground cinnamon and a milk of your choice or yogurt.

After the requisite turkey sandwich and stock making, I personally like fresh, clean flavors. Think citrus and raw vegetables with hits of heat like harissa, fresh chiles and lots of herbs. Warm up some leftover gravy or pan juices with big handfuls of greens, such as spinach or escarole, just until wilted and served atop crusty bread.

Too many cranberries? Make a refreshing salsa by coarsely chopping and tossing them with chopped cherry tomato and onion, fresh cilantro, salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon sugar and fresh lime juice. Let the flavors sit for 10 minutes before serving with nachos or chilaquiles. For the nachos, heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread a layer of tortilla chips in an ovenproof skillet or a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Top with everything from leftover turkey to stuffing, vegetables and cheese, and bake until golden and bubbling on top and serve with the cranberry salsa.

However you decide to make the most of what’s left of the feast, let your creativity and taste buds run wild. You might just come up with your new favorite signature dish.

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Related recipes for using Thanksgiving leftovers:

Turkey soup

Leftover Thanksgiving lasagna

Holiday hash

Pumpkin sour cream pancakes

Orange French toast stuffed with cranberry cream cheese

Different uses for cranberry sauce: Smoothies, grilled cheese sandwiches and more

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