25 Ways to Transform Your Holiday Leftovers
It’s the same problem every year. The holiday festivities are over and there’s still so much food left. You have two options: throw away the scraps (don’t do it!) or store your leftovers for future meals. But not everyone likes to enjoy the same dinner night after night.
Get creative in the kitchen with these leftover recipe tricks.
- Elevate your eggs. Tuck shredded turkey and/or veggies into omelets, quiches, or frittatas.
- Make a hearty hash. Add a touch of autumn to a breakfast hash with sweet potatoes, greens, and eggs.
- Rethink hash browns. Shape mashed potatoes into patties and fry in butter to make potato cakes. Top with a spoonful of gravy.
- Get on a roll. Sub turkey for sausage to prepare a lighter version of a breakfast burrito.
- Ride the gravy train. Douse biscuits with a generous serving of gravy and top with fried eggs.
Skip the line at the deli and use your leftover turkey as a lean, flavorful base for homemade sandwiches.
- Go classic. Pile turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce between country white bread.
- Borrow from your favorite bistro. Place roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, and Brie on seven-grain bread and cook in a panini press or on a griddle for an elevated grilled cheese.
- Join the club. Layer turkey, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese on Texas toast for a deluxe club sandwich.
- Think outside the bread box. Bake up a batch of biscuits and use sliced turkey to make turkey biscuit sandwiches.
Casseroles and Noodles
There’s a reason that casseroles have long reigned as the classic holiday-leftovers dish: they’re simple, hearty, and don’t create a sink full of dishes.
- Whip up some comfort food. Combine turkey, egg noodles, and leftover vegetables into creamy turkey tetrazzini, cheese noodles, or a noodle bake.
- Top dishes off. Instead of a bread crumb or cracker topping, use stuffing on a casserole for more flavor. This technique is especially tasty on baked mac and cheese.
- Ramp up risotto. Pureed or mashed root veggies, like sweet potatoes or pumpkin, shine in autumnal risotto.
- Use your noodle. Cooked butternut squash is the perfect addition to a fall dishes, like noodles with broccoli and walnuts.
- Bring in the bird. Turkey is already the star of winter soups, like turkey kale and turkey noodle and wild rice, and can easily sub for chicken in Mexican noodle soup.
- Get right In the thick of it. Stir gravy into any soup to add rich, meaty flavor and extra thickness.
- Revamp vegetarian favorites. Use up extra cauliflower in a creamy, meat-free cauliflower leek soup.
- Square up squash. Substitute any kind of squash (pumpkin, acorn, etc.) in butternut squash soup.
Turkey makes a protein-packed topping for any green salad, but why stop there? Explore your options by using leftovers to create warm grain salads, potato salads, and more.
- Start seasonal. Use the produce in season to spruce up an autumn Waldorf salad, or sub turkey for chicken in a fresh winter salad.
- Warm it up. Warm rice salad with turkey and fingerling potato salad with leftover potatoes are simple, satisfying meals.
- Compose like a chef. A chef’s slaw is a snap with turkey, ham, veggies, and cheese on top of leafy greens.
- Repurpose those potatoes. Kale and new potatoes put a seasonal spin on a picnic classic.
Snacks & Appetizers
Invite friends over for a post-holiday gathering and clean out the fridge with no-stress snacks and crowd-pleasing appetizers.
- Plan a pizza party. Transform leftovers into a seasonally-inspired pizza or flatbread to feed a crowd.
- Get toasty. Toast is a great base for leftovers. Add diced turkey or roasted vegetables to avocado toast for an on-trend snack. For a heartier starter, try turkey noodle toast.
- Load ’em up. Give mashed potatoes new life with blue cheese or ranch dressing, topped with leftovers like veggies, ham, and cheese.
- Graze on game-day. Add shredded turkey to loaded nachos or sub for chicken in these stacked quesadillas, Southwest tortilla bites, and Buffalo chicken wonton cups.