Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fun New Ways to Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

A guest post by Maire Hunter

Thanksgiving. The word itself brings so many images to mind: pilgrims, turkeys, family togetherness. But perhaps the best thing about Thanksgiving is the leftovers you get to enjoy on the day after. Leftover mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy are just as delicious on day two, and all the work is already done so you can just relax and enjoy the food.
But sometimes, instead of revisiting the same meal you had on the holiday, you might want to switch it up and give yourself a little culinary variety. Here are a few ideas on how to make the most out of your Thanksgiving leftovers and ensure every bite of the leftover bird gets devoured.

Sandwich starters

Everyone knows leftover turkey is delicious between two slices of bread, but there are even more ways to jazz up your Black Friday lunch. Use thick, hearty slices of good-quality homemade bread, and soak a slice in leftover gravy and insert it right in the middle of the stack to counteract any dryness that may have set into the meat overnight. Add in a bit of your Aunt Sylvia’s famous cranberry sauce — or the jellied version from a can works, too — and possibly even some mashed potatoes and stuffing. You could use your food processor to whip up a pesto spread to enhance the flavor profiles. Voila: the world’s most delicious leftover turkey sandwich.

Soup, not salad

One way to create a completely different meal from your leftovers is to turn some — or all — of them into a soup or stew. For those who like spice, consider a tortilla soup made with shredded turkey instead of the traditional chicken. Or combine your mashed potatoes with some stock or heavy cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat to create a filling potato soup.

Drink your leftovers

Think outside the box a bit and create a drink with your leftovers. Cranberry sauce can be used to make a number of tasty cocktails, or you could switch up the recipes and make them virgin, instead.

Kid-friendly fare

Kids love Thanksgiving leftovers, too, but they may not be on board with some of the more sophisticated recipes out there. Whether you’re feeding your own little ones on the day after Thanksgiving, or if you have a gaggle of nieces and nephews camping out at your house for the weekend after the holiday, every kid loves a variation on macaroni and cheese. A baked version using leftover turkey and Gruyere cheese is sure to please even the pickiest eaters — and maybe even the grownups, too.

Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday for many reasons, not the least of which is that you get to continue enjoying the meal even after the day comes to an end. With a little ingenuity and perhaps an extra pinch of this or a dash of that, you can make another delicious meal — or two — out of the one you already enjoyed on the big day.

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