8 Great Ways to Use Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving is officially over, but chance are your fridge is still full of remnants from yesterday’s meal.

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I’m not a fan of eating the same meal over and over, so I always re-purpose my leftovers into new creations. Here are eight of my favorite ways to re-imagine Thanksgiving leftovers!

CranberryBBQPizza

Leftover Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Pizza

TurkeyBanhMi

Turkey Banh Mi

TurkeyChorizoHash

Turkey Chorizo Hash

TurkeyPanini

Chipotle Ranch Turkey Paninis

TurkeyEnchiladas

Turkey Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Chipotle Sauce

TurkeyCranchiladas

Turkey Cranchiladas

Southwest Turkey Sandwiches

Southwest Turkey Sandwiches

MashedPotatoWaffles

Mashed Potato Waffles

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20 Recipes Perfect for Thanksgiving

Haven’t finalized your Thanksgiving menu yet? Need to add another side dish? I’m sharing a roundup of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes to help you get your menu set!

20 RecipesPerfect ForThanksgiving

Appetizers

Appetizers set the vibe of your meal – and keep your hungry guests out of the kitchen while you finish prepping the main meal! I always like to have a mix of old favorites and new-to-me plates!

CranberrySalsa

Cranberry Salsa

CranberryPumpkinSpread

Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Spread

Baked Spinach Dip

Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Spicy Pretzels

Spicy Pretzels

Sides

While the turkey is the center of the meal, we all know the main stars are the side dishes! Great versions of the classics are my favorite.

Brown Sugar Butternut Squash 1

Brown Sugar Butternut Squash

GreenBeanswithBacon

Green Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar

IPMashedPotatoes

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

PomegranateAvocadoSalad

Pomegranate and Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette 

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Autumn Salad

Autumn Salad with Homemade Dressing

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Bacon Parmesan Green Beans

Bacon Parmesan Green Beans

CranberrySauce

Cranberry Sauce

Desserts

Dessert is undeniably my favorite part of the meal. I’m not a pumpkin fan, so apples and cranberries are my go-tos for Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Ice Cream 4

Cranberry Ice Cream

AppleRoses

Baked Apple Roses

CaramelAppleCheesecakePie

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

ButtermilkCustardApplePie

Buttermilk Custard Apple Pie

Apple Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

Apple Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

CranberryAppleCrisp

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Brown Sugar Butternut Squash

Side dishes are on my list of “things I regularly forget about”. I’m not the only one that can plan main dishes for every night and conveniently forget that I should serve something along with it, right?

Brown Sugar Butternut Squash 1

Except Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is all about the sides for me. And this would be a great one.

Simple ingredients and quick prep make this a winner any night, but it’d be especially great for your holiday table, given how great butternut squash are this time of year.

Brown Sugar Butternut Squash 2

Brown Sugar Butternut Squash
(from Chew Out Loud
Serves 6

1 large butternut squash, peeled/seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

In a bowl, toss the squash with the oil until evenly coated. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Spread out on the baking sheet evenly.

Roast for 40 minutes until the squash is fork-tender and the edges are browned.

Fresh Corn Salsa (10)

Cranberry Pecan Doughnuts #CranberryWeek

Looking for the perfect treat for breakfast on Thanksgiving or Christmas? Look no further than these Cranberry Pecan Doughnuts!

Cranberry Pecan Doughnuts 1

You know what I love more than holiday dinners? Holiday breakfasts. Dinners always seem to demand a certain amount of structure and tradition – but anything goes for breakfast.

These Cranberry Pecan Doughnuts are on point with the seasonal flavors, but they’re not fussy and can be made the day before, so they’re perfect for a holiday.

Cranberry Pecan Doughnuts 3

The pecans and cranberries are chopped pretty small using the food processor, which makes an even flavor and texture throughout the doughnuts. There’s also orange juice and zest in these. The orange flavor doesn’t come through strong, but it does add a nice balance!

Cranberry Pecan Doughnuts 2

I’m excited to be sharing this recipe as part of Cranberry Week – now in it’s third year! See all the tasty cranberry recipes being shared today below and follow #cranberryweek on social media for more ideas all week long.

Cranberry Pecan Doughnuts 4

Cranberry Pecan Doughnuts
(from Inspiring Pretty)
Makes 1 dozen

For the doughnuts:

3/4 cup cranberries
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. orange zest
2 1/4  cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cups milk

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. orange zest
3 Tbsp. heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and spray your doughnut pans with non-stick spray.

Add the cranberries, pecans, and brown sugar to a food processor. Process until chopped into small, even pieces.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and sugar until creamed. Stir in the vanilla, eggs, and orange zest.  Stir in some of the flour mixture, then some of the milk – alternating until all combined, ending with milk. Stir in the cranberry mixture.

Spoon the batter evenly into the doughnut pans, filling halfway. Bake for 10-14 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool completely.

When the doughnuts are cool, add all of the glaze ingredients to a small bowl and stir until well combined. Drizzle or pipe over the doughnuts.

Fresh Corn Salsa (9)

Cranberry Ice Cream #CranberryWeek

What is the typical Thanksgiving weather where you are?

Cranberry Ice Cream 3

I was recently chatting about Thanksgiving plans with a far-flung friend and she mentioned wearing shorts on Thanksgiving. It struck me as funny, because it is so not what I think of as Thanksgiving weather. We’re lucky if it’s warm enough to go for a walk after dinner without getting totally bundled up!

It also got me thinking about how much different my Thanksgiving dinner would be if it was warm outside. Is it weird to have cranberry apple crisp when it’s 90 degrees out?

Cranberry Ice Cream 2

Ice cream seems way more appealing – and this would be perfect on a Thanksgiving table. It’s a perfect balance of sweet and tart and I just love the color. It’s also a great option for Thanksgiving because you make it ahead – giving you more free time to focus on the rest of the meal!

I’m excited to be sharing this recipe as part of Cranberry Week – now in it’s third year! See all the tasty cranberry recipes being shared today below and follow #cranberryweek on social media for more ideas all week long.

Cranberry Ice Cream 4

Cranberry Ice Cream
(from Wonky Wonderful)
Makes 1/2 gallon

Cranberry Puree:
1/4
 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
12 oz. fresh cranberries cleaned & sorted
2 Tbsp. orange juice

Ice Cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups cranberry puree

Combine the water, salt, and cranberries in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Transfer the cranberry mixture to a blender or food processor and add orange juice. Puree.

Refrigerate for several hours.

To make the ice cream, mix together the cream, milk, sugar and cranberry puree. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Transfer the ice cream to a chilled container and freeze for at least 4-6 hours. Thaw for 5 minutes before serving.

Fresh Corn Salsa (7)

(Leftover) Turkey and Cranberry BBQ Sauce Pizza #ThanksgivingLeftovers

Leftover turkey + leftover cranberry sauce = pizza night, of course.

I’ve always preferred to reimagine my turkey leftovers into non-Thanksgiving fare – like Turkey Cranchiladas or Turkey and Chorizo Hash – and this pizza fits right in. The cranberry sauce gives you a slightly sweet, slightly tart edge to your barbecue sauce – and it pairs awesome with the turkey and cheese.

This is a great dish to make at the end of the weekend when your turkey and stuffing sandwiches are getting tired!

CranberryBBQPizza

(Leftover) Turkey and Cranberry BBQ Sauce Pizza
(slightly adapted from Recipe Runner)
Makes 1 12″ Pizza

1/2 lb. pizza dough
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
3 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
1 cup turkey, shredded
1 1/2 cups mozzarella
2 Tbsp. red onion, thinly sliced
Chopped cilantro, to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Roll out the pizza dough and place on the prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, stir together the cranberry sauce and barbecue sauce and spread over the crust. Top with turkey, cheese, and red onion.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden.

Top with cilantro and serve.

Looking for more leftover ideas? I’ve teamed up with a bunch of great bloggers today to share lots of great ways to use up your leftovers:

Cranberry-Orange Brie Bites by Books n’ Cooks

Cranberry-Topped Baked Brie by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

(Leftover) Turkey and Cranberry BBQ Sauce Pizza by Kate’s Recipe Box

Prosciutto & Asiago Stuffed Mushrooms by Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Spicy Turkey Quesadillas by Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Thanksgiving Leftover Empanadas by The Redhead Baker

Turkey Croquettes by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Turkey Gumbo by Palatable Pastime

Turkey Pot Pie by Making Miracles

(Leftover) Turkey Banh Mi

Are you up to your ears in Thanksgiving recipes and planning? For the first time in a long time, I’m not. We’re having a scaled-back Thanksgiving this year because we have a busy week – and we’ve ordered the food. Yup. I’m a food blogger who will be doing no cooking on Thanksgiving.

I was super conflicted about it at first. I love the whole event of planning and cooking a big meal. But, we were a smaller crowd this year and I couldn’t figure out when to fit in the cooking with all the other stuff we have going on – so outsourcing the food prep was the obvious choice.

What sealed the deal, though, was hosting a little Friendsgiving a few weeks ago. I got the chance to cook all of my favorites without the time crunch – and I got plenty of leftovers to rework.

This sandwich is a super quick an easy to make your leftover turkey not feel like just another turkey sandwich. Big, bold flavors take center stage and the result is delicious!

TurkeyBanhMi

(Leftover) Turkey Banh Mi
(adapted slightly from Oprah)
Serves 4

1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. Chinese 5-spice powder
1 pound cooked turkey pieces
4 club rolls
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. sriracha sauce
Cilantro, optional, to taste

Whisk together the sugar, salt, and vinegar in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

Combine the carrots and cucumber in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot vinegar over. Let sit for at least an hour.

In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 5-spice powder. Add in turkey and toss to coat.

In a third bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and sriracha. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to cook, heat a grill pan over medium heat and place turkey pieces on the grill until warm and just starting to caramelize.

Split the rolls and toast them under the broiler until warmed and slightly brown. Spread one side of the roll with sriracha mayonnaise, top with turkey and then the cucumber mixture. Add cilantro, to taste, if desired.

 

Cranberry Sauce

I hosted Thanksgiving for years before I tried making my own cranberry sauce. I always assumed it would be difficult and not worth it.  It’s not – and it is.

This only takes about fifteen minutes to make and tastes so, so much better than the canned version. It’s also make-ahead friendly and is the perfect dish to bring with you if you’re travelling because it can be served warm, cold, or at room temp.

CranberrySauce

Cranberry Sauce
(from Savory Sweet Life)
Makes about 2 cups

1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly evaporated.

You’ll hear the cranberries popping as this cooks – that’s okay! You want them to open up!

This can be served warm, chilled, or at room temperature.

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

It’s officially November which means my Facebook feed is all “hey! let’s do Christmas!” Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and I totally have Christmas prep going here (like, the fill-it-yourself advent calendar I bought about a month ago and have been obsessing over what to put in it), but I also don’t want to brush other holidays under the rug. We did Halloween big (as it should be!) and now I’m thinking about Thanksgiving.

One of the hardest things about coordinating a Thanksgiving dinner is getting everything on the table at the same time. Either space in the oven/on the stove top is at a premium or there are just too many balls in the air to keep track of it all. Using other kitchen appliances other than the stove can help things go more smoothly. I’ve always been a big fan of the slow cooker, but this year I’m excited to throw the instant pot in the mix.

These mashed potatoes are basic, but they’re hands-off and perfect for your Thanksgiving meal. I used my stand mixer to make things go super fast but if you don’t have one (or it’s tied up with other Thanksgiving prep!) a hand mixer would work just fine too.

IPMashedPotatoes

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
(adapted from The Baker Upstairs)
Serves 4-6

2 lbs. potatoes
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Wash the potatoes. Peel, if desired, and quarter.

Add the rack to the instant pot, then the potatoes. Pour the chicken stock over the potatoes.

Using the manual setting, set to cook for 8 minutes and then quick release the pressure.

Drain the liquid and add the hot potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add remaining ingredients and mix until you reach the desired consistency.

Fresh Corn Salsa (13)

Turkey & Chorizo Hash

My Dad would love this breakfast. Growing up, he’d make eggs every weekend and use up whatever meat and veggies were left in the fridge. This hash is essentially the Thanksgiving turkey version of that – turkey, eggs, and a few other things and you have a great clean-out-the-fridge breakfast. The recipe below reflects how I made it but you could do your own swaps based on what you have handy.

I’m pretty sure this is going to become our new post-Thanksgiving breakfast tradition. It was delicious.

TurkeyChorizoHash

Turkey & Chorizo Hash
(adapted from From Away)
Serves 3

1 Tbsp. olive oil
6 oz. fully-cooked chorizo, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 large russet potato, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups roasted turkey meat, white and dark meat, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. taco sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs
Sriracha hot sauce

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chorizo, onion, garlic, red pepper, and potato. Cook about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the sausage and potatoes are beginning to brown. Stir in the turkey, heavy cream and taco sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Using a spatula, press mixture into the pan and cook 2-3 minutes without stirring. When a crust starts to form, scrape up and repeat. Continue about 10 minutes, until there are browned bits throughout.
Make 3 wells in the hash and crack an egg into each. Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes, until eggs reach desired doneness. Drizzle on Sriracha and serve.