Recipes: Award-Winning Thanksgiving Leftovers

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If you have leftovers after Thanksgiving of any of the traditional dishes, count yourself lucky. It's a perk of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. Those who attend the meal at others' houses, however, while not having to cook perhaps, don't get to take home food that, if you think about it, symbolizes bounty. That being said, if you have a lot of leftovers, serving them up day after day in the same state you presented them on Thursday won't do either. We've shared some ideas here and here about creative things to do with the warm-ups. Here are some more:

Creative Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas


While turkey-and-cranberry sandwiches are a great idea, I go for replacing any chicken recipe with turkey, cut up in smaller pieces. provides my favorite recipe for Turkey Tortilla Soup, one that is flavorful but relatively easy. I also like making them into kabobs, specifically these Rosemary Ranch Turkey Kabobs. They're so easy and yummy, I'll brave rain and snow to cook them on the grill on our back patio!

Turkey Tortilla soup

Of course, if you feel strongly about putting your turkey into sandwiches, try this recipe for Hero Sandwiches. At our neighborhood pot-luck get-together some months ago, at which we all tasted each other's dishes and then voted for the best one, this one by my neighbor Sally Wilde was the winner. She got a gift card to a local home decor shop, and our host collected all of our recipes and put them in a cute cookbook so that we could re-create all the dishes at home at our leisure.

Hero Sandwich Recipe

Mix together:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 8 oz. can of water chestnuts, crushed or diced
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5-6 drops Tabasco sauce

Add to mixture:

  • 4-5 cups of diced, cooked turkey
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese

Cut French bread in half length-wise and spread mixture on top. Top with more Monterey Jack cheese and tomatoes and olives (optional). Bake at 375° for 10 minutes until crispy.

Cranberry Recipe

Do you ever end up with leftover cranberry sauce? Why not make a tasty appetizer recipe to enjoy the day after Thanksgiving? Here's a flavorful and easy recipe for an Arugula, Brie, and Cranberry Crostini appetizer from How To: Simplify.

Cranberry Appetizer

Sweet Potatoes

I know there are as many ways to serve sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving as there are people serving them, but if you cook them caramelized on the stove-top like I do, re-heating them on the stove-top so that their caramelized edges get a little more crispy, makes them even more delicious.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers? How do you bring life to your leftovers?

Turkey Tortilla Soup photo courtesy of Flickr.

Crostini photo courtesy of Jen Tilley Photography.

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