Obviously, after Thanksgiving, you could just heat up your leftovers and have a dinner part 2, but I personally eat so much on Thanksgiving that I couldn’t possibly do it again over the next few days. To throw in some variety to the leftovers, these are my 5 favorite things to make.
1. Turkey Chili
My grandma always sends me home with so many containers of turkey chili, and I EAT IT UP. Chili is such a great way to use up all the turkey you have left.
- In a big ‘ol pot, cook up a diced onion, a can of corn, and as much garlic as you want in some oil on medium heat.
- After all that softens up, sprinkle in a little flour to help thicken up the chili with a bunch of spices and herbs. My favorite spices to use are chili powder, cumin, rosemary, coriander, salt, pepper, and literally anything else that you like just spice it up. You can also add in some jalapenos at this step if you want a little more spice.
- Next, throw in some chicken broth (I don’t really measure this, but maybe about 2-3 cups? Just do what feels right for the amount of chili you’re making. (You can always add more as you go if you need to, so don’t overshoot on this)
- Shred up your leftover turkey and drop that in the pot.
- Add in a can of crushed tomatoes and a bit of tomato paste (again, measure with your heart. If you like your chili on the redder side, use more tomato, if you want it a little less red, use less tomato.)
- Add 3 cans or more of beans. Literally, any type of bean will work but try to have 3 different kinds. I do Kidney, Black, and Pinto beans.
- Put in a sprinkle of brown sugar (maybe a spoonful or two) to help balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and such
I would recommend letting this simmer for a good while to let all the flavors cook together and let it thicken up, but if you’re really impatient just make sure everything gets nice and hot and you’re good to dig in.
Top it with stuffing or cornbread and a whole bunch of cheese. It tastes absolutely insane.
This one you can take some liberty with, you basically just throw whatever leftovers you have on a sandwich, but the way I set up my sandwich I think is perfect:
- Butter or Mayo on one side of each piece of bread.
- Spread gravy on the other sides of the bread.
- Put your stuffing on top of the gravy, so it sticks well to the bread
- Put mashed potatoes on top of the stuffing (it locks in the stuffing and also makes a good sticky layer for everything else you put on the sandwich so things don’t fall off as easily)
- Then just throw whatever leftovers you have on there!
- If you’re okay with your sandwich being super gigantic, put an extra piece of bread that you soak in gravy in the middle of the sandwich. The leftover sandwich never misses, that’s why it’s the most classic use for leftovers ever.
3. Stuffing Meatballs
Meatballs and gravy are so yummy, and if you have a lot of stuffing and gravy leftover this is a really good way to use it up.
- Grab some ground beef (or if you want it to be a fully Thanksgiving meatball, get ground turkey, but it doesn’t matter at all)
- For each pound of ground meat, add 1 egg, and 2 cups of leftover stuffing.
- Get your hands nice and goopy and mix all of that together. If it seems a little too wet, you can add some panko breadcrumbs.
- Once it’s all combined, roll it up into small meatballs (you could hypothetically make big meatballs, but it cooks faster if it’s smaller in size)
- First, heat oil in a skillet and throw all your meatballs in there to brown up. Rotate the meatballs with some tongs, and get all of the sides browned.
- Then, transfer the meatballs to a pan, and throw it in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 or so minutes (if you have a thermometer, do it until they are at about 150-155 degrees on the inside)
- Heat up some gravy in the same skillet you used to brown the meatballs.
- After your meatballs come out of the oven, place them back in the skillet of gravy, put a lid on it, and let them finish cookin' up in the gravy for about 5 or so minutes.
- Throw the meatballs on top of a giant pile of mashed potatoes, and pour the gravy on top.
- Boom thanksgiving meatballs have been cooked.
4. Turkey Pot Pie
I love me some pot pie, and this is a pretty easy one to make
- You first need a pan. You can use whatever you want, but the ideal choice is a cast iron pan. You can cook up the filling in the pan, throw the crust on top, and put it straight in the oven. If you don’t have one though, use whatever pie pan you can find or would like to use, make the filling in a separate pan, and pour it into your chosen pie pan.
- To make the filling, start with sauteing onions, carrots, and celery (this is called mirepoix but that name is a little too fancy not gonna lie)
- Throw in some thyme as well (I’m a rosemary lover so I put that in too but you don’t need to)
- Pour in your leftover gravy. If you don’t have any gravy leftover (or you don’t have enough left for a whole pot pie) make your own! It’s really easy - just butter, flour, and chicken broth all thickened up.
- I like peas in my pot pie, so I put in a handful of frozen peas and mix them in.
- I also cut up leftover green beans into little pieces and throw those in there.
- Shred up your leftover turkey and mix that in with everything.
- Pour your filling into the pan of your choice, unless you’re using cast iron and putting it straight in the oven, then you’re good!
- Sprinkle stuffing on the top of the filling.
- Put your pie crust on the top of the pie, and cut slits in the top (kinda in a cross shape).
- Put the pot pie in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. The filling is already cooked, so you really just need to keep it in until the crust is nice and cooked up.
Ezzzzzz pot pie enjoy
5. Leftover Taco
This is a new one to me, I just saw this idea and it’s honestly super genius so I thought I’d share. Similar to the sandwich, there’s not really a specific taco filling, just use what you have/want from your leftovers. The main thing is the preparation of the taco shell. This is how to do it:
- Take some gravy and pour a bit onto a plate
- Do the same with stuffing on another plate
- Grab a flour tortilla and drop it onto the plate of gravy. There just needs to be a thin layer of gravy on the entire surface of the tortilla
-Transfer the tortilla to the plate of stuffing, and get a nice layer of stuffing stuck to the gravy
-Now that you have this nice little stuffing-coated tortilla, you gotta stick it in the oven to harden
- A good way to form the shells is to hang them on the oven rack: Take the top rack out of your oven and prop the ends up on something kinda tall. Hang the tortilla, stuffing side facing up over the rack so it forms an upside-down taco shell shape. Put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 3-5 minutes. Pull it out and fill er up with whatever leftovers you have
Viola, go ahead and munch on that and tell me it isn’t the best taco you’ve ever had
Hope you all enjoy my top 5 leftover foods every single one of these are so yummy I guarantee.
-DJ Mad Aux