Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most anticipated meals of the year. People spend hours, even days, preparing a lavish meal to satisfy neighbors, friends, family members who can’t hold their liquor or tongues. Stress is high—will the bird taste good? Will everyone get along? Will Uncle “One-Armed” Willie make the kids hunt for his hook?—and then it’s done. All the guests go home (hopefully) and the host is left with a bunch of dishes and Thanksgiving leftovers to deal with. It would be a shame, not to mention against the great tradition of Thanksgiving, to let a single bite go to waste. In that spirit, we present our list of Thanksgiving leftover recipes that will clear out the cupboard while keeping holiday spirits high. Gobble, gobble.
According to the National Turkey Federation, nearly 90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Not so in Italy, where the bird is all but forgotten and also they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. But everyone loves Italian food, so make a delicious marriage of bird and bolognese with this leftover turkey recipe.
Talkin’ Turkey: Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers
Heat the oil in a heavy, large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and saute about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the turkey and saute about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, stirring often. Stir in the basil and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, with your other two hands, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water for about 8 minutes, until tender but still firm to bite. Drain and add to the sauce and toss to coat. Top with Parmesan. Serves 6.
This meal deserves to be made with the best of pastas. The Pasta Craft Crate, among the finest gifts for men who proudly embrace their love of gluten, has all the ingredients, tools and techniques needed to create a meal that will make you thankful your turkey wasn’t one that got pardoned.
For whom the turkey tolls
When one thinks of Ernest Hemingway, things like daiquiris, Pulitzer Prizes and Key West come to mind. And the Sloppy Joe. No? It may not be the first thing one thinks of when considering Papa Hemingway, but it was in his favorite bar in Havana that this sandwich reportedly originated. And it was Hemingway who encouraged it to be made in the U.S., in his favorite Key West bar. So raise a toast to Hemingway when creating this Thanksgiving recipe.
Turkey Sloppy Joes
Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onions, green pepper and garlic and cook until soft. Mix in tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, red pepper flakes and salt and cook for another minute. Stir in turkey, then stir in cheese until melted. Remove from heat. Slice buns and toast insides. Add a layer of lettuce and spoon in turkey mix. Let the sloppiness ensue. Serves 4–6.
The stuff of dreams
Arguably the champ of the Thanksgiving meal, stuffing is as delicious as it is mysterious. Is it stuffing? Is it dressing? How can it possibly taste that good? To that we say, who cares? This beloved item should not be questioned, just appreciated.
Fried Stuffing Bites
Preheat oil to 350°F. Form leftover stuffing into bite-sized cubes and set aside. Whisk eggs and milk in a small bowl. MIx bread crumbs and parmesan. Coat each stuffing bite with egg wash, then dredge in the bread crumb/parmesan mix until fully coated and set aside. Blend the cranberry sauce, pepper and pecans in a food processor. Once oil is at temperature, fry each piece of stuffing until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and serve with cranberry mixture. Serves 4–6 very lucky eaters.
Git along little turkey
Pat Garrett supposedly once said of Billy the Kid, “Anybody that eats chili can’t be all bad.” Well, he still shot the Kid, but Pat clearly knew what was up with chili. This recipe may not resurrect ghosts of the Old West, but it will surely help with Thanksgiving leftovers and result in some doggone good chili.
Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, stir occasionally and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in the jalapeno and garlic and cook until they soften, about 1 minute. Get your stirrin’ hands warmed up. Stir in the chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, oregano, ½ teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Add the turkey and stir until well coated in the spices. Pour in the tomatoes and chicken broth and scrape up any spices that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring the chili to a simmer on medium-low and cook uncovered for about 1 hour, until the liquid reduces by a few inches and the chili has thickened. Drain about ½ of the bean liquid out of the can of beans and add the beans plus the remaining bean liquid to the pot and heat about 10 minutes until the beans are warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls with sour cream, chopped scallions and cheese. Serves 8.
Nature makes everything taste better. Mostly. Those planning on taking their Thanksgiving leftovers feast outdoors will want to bring along the Dutch Oven Kit, one of the most versatile cooking gifts for men, to get ultimate outdoor flavor.
Sauced and stuffed
The origin of Eggs Benedict is somewhat shady—some say it was a hungover stockbroker, some think it was a traitor and some suggest it was a pope who created this heavenly meal. Either way, it’s a breakfast and brunch staple. This leftover recipe combines the mother of all sauces, hollandaise, with the best of Thanksgiving recipes—stuffing!
Eggs Bennie on Stuffing Cakes
To serve, place one stuffing cake on a plate, top with 2 slices of bacon, a poached egg and a generous drizzle of hollandaise sauce. Serves 6.
Hair of the turkey
As with most overindulgences, the best cure for consuming too much turkey is more turkey. Throw in some gravy and eggs, and perhaps a Bloody Mary, and this meal will eliminate any traces of turkey hangover.
Turkey Hash with Country Gravy
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble sausage into skillet and add onions and peppers and cook, stirring often, until sausage is cooked through, about 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Heat oil in a pan. Add stuffing, eggs and turkey to sausage mixture and stir to combine. Add this mixture to the heated pan and press down until the bottom of the skillet is covered with hash. Brown for 5–7 minutes untouched. Flip hash over and cook another 5–7 minutes. In the meantime, heat leftover gravy in a saucepan over medium heat. As gravy heats up, whisk in milk to thin to desired consistency. Top hash topped with a poached egg and serve with warmed turkey country gravy. Serves 6.
Potatoes + pizza = paradise
Nothing beats a warm pile of mashed potatoes, except maybe a warm pile of mashed potatoes on a pizza. This recipe will hit every starchy pleasure center in the brain. The Pizza Grilling Crate will help create the crispy crust this pie is crying out for.
Mashed Potato Pizza
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook bacon in a large deep skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain, crumble and set aside. Spread pizza dough out and spread mashed potatoes over the dough, leaving a small crust around the edge. Sprinkle the cheese, scallions and bacon evenly over the potatoes. Bake the pizza about 20 minutes until cheese is melted, bubbly and a soul-warming golden brown. Let cool for 2 minutes, then slice and serve.
In science speak, TNT, refers to Trinitrotoluene, an explosive chemical compound. In non-science speak, it may refer to a Norwegian hard rock band, an album by AC/DC, an album by Tanya Tucker (who knew she had so much in common with Angus Young?) or a delicious leftover Thanksgiving recipe combining turkey and toast.
Whisk mayonnaise, chives and salt and pepper together and spread on toasted bread. Place turkey, sliced avocado and bacon on top and drizzle with olive oil. Serves 8.
When vegetables happen
It is likely that the highest concentration of Thanksgiving leftovers will be of the vegetable variety. This is not to suggest that veggies are not good, but when going head-to-head against meat and starch, they just don’t have a leg to stand on. Give leftover Thanksgiving veggies the honorable exit they deserve with this flavorful frittata recipe.
Leftover Veggie Frittata
Beat eggs, milk, parsley and salt and pepper. Add stuffing and vegetables. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an ovenproof 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the egg mixture and cook 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, top with grated parm. Sprinkle on the paprika like you mean it and cook 10 minutes. Broil 3 minutes, then slice.
Ah, the pot pie, that old bird-filled favorite. Time has luckily improved this treat, by, among other things, eliminating the use of live birds, which would be unsettling, to say the least. This turkey pot pie recipe relies solely on already dearly departed birds and will make Thanksgiving leftovers a thing of the past, you know, like a pot pie with a live bird in it.
Turkey Pot Pie
Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in saucepan and cook onion until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and milk and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and simmer until tender. Stir in turkey, parsley and mixed veggies. Pour mixture into a casserole dish and top with pie crust and brush with egg. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden. Dig in.