Thanksgiving, the Sequel: Making the Most of Leftovers

The date: Friday after Thanksgiving

The time: 7:00 a.m.

The scene: You awaken from a long night of coma-like, turkey-induced sleep. Your heart is still warm from yesterday's idyllic family feast around the Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings. And you breathe a sigh of relief that all the hard work—planning, shopping, peeling, chopping, stuffing, stirring, baking, basting, serving, cleaning—is done.

The problem: You hear noise from downstairs. A toilet flushes, the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator are opened and closed, your grandson is pounding on his drum... they are still here!? And they're still hungry! Ugh. You pull the covers over your head.

The solution: Liven up your leftovers. Here is how:

Leftovers Get a Makeover

Anyone can make a turkey sandwich (not that there is anything wrong with turkey sandwiches), but with a little creativity and minimal labor, you can easily prepare "the day after" meals to rival those you served on turkey day.




  • 6 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon margarine or butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped cooked vegetables (could be broccoli, green beans, corn, peas, sweet potato, turnip, squash, or whatever is leftover) and/or turkey
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese


  • In a bowl, beat eggs and pepper; set aside. In a 10-inch broiler-proof or regular skillet, sauté onion in margarine until tender. Stir in chopped vegetables and/or turkey.
  • Pour egg mixture into skillet over vegetables and/or meat.
  • Cook over medium heat.
  • As mixture sets, run a spatula around the edge of the skillet, lifting egg mixture to allow uncooked portions to flow underneath.
  • Continue cooking and lifting edges until egg mixture is almost set (surface will be moist).
  • Place broiler-proof skillet under the broiler 4-5 inches from the heating element.
  • Broil for 1-2 minutes or until the top is just set.
  • OR: if using a regular skillet, remove skillet from heat, cover, and let stand 3-4 minutes or until top is set.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and cut into wedges.
  • Serve with a slice of zucchini or pumpkin bread.

Serves 3.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Squash Pancakes

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked, mashed squash or sweet potatoes
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg


  • Combine dry ingredients in one bowl.
  • Combine wet ingredients in another bowl.
  • Add wet to dry and stir just until blended.
  • Prepare griddle or skillet by lightly greasing with butter or margarine, or spraying with cooking spray. Heat the pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once pan is hot, spoon ¼ cup batter onto griddle for each pancake.
  • When pancakes have bubbly surfaces and slightly dry edges, flip them over.
  • Continue to cook until pancakes are slightly golden brown.
  • Remove from griddle and serve with syrup.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook


Apricot-nut Turkey-salad Sandwich


  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped unsalted cashews
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 leaf lettuce leaves
  • 8 slices pumpernickel bread


  • Combine first 10 ingredients in a bowl.
  • Place a lettuce leaf on each of 4 bread slices.
  • Spread 1/2 cup turkey salad over lettuce.
  • Top with remaining bread slices.

Makes 4 sandwiches.


The Spruced-up Turkey Sandwich

Pull the Tupperware out of the fridge and set up the leftovers buffet-style, along with pita bread and tortillas. Have each person stuff their own pita or roll their own tortilla with any combination of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, leftover vegetables, and whatever else strikes their fancy. Stick the sandwiches in the oven for a few moments to warm them before serving.

The Anything-goes Entrée Salad

Start with a big bowl half-full of lettuce. Add any of the following, toss with your favorite light dressing, and enjoy with bread or rolls leftover from dinner.

  • Cooked, chopped turkey with chunks of apple, dried cranberries, and walnuts
  • Chilled roasted vegetables and grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cooked, chopped turkey, green peas, and corn
  • Chilled roasted potatoes, green peas, and chunks of cheese
  • Marinated carrots, green beans, corn, and fresh dill


Smashed Potato and Broccoli Casserole


  • Mashed potatoes; the amount from 2 pounds of potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) container fat-free sour cream
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Combine mashed potatoes, chopped broccoli, and next 6 ingredients (broccoli through sour cream) to pan, and stir well.
  • Spoon potato mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; bake at 375º for 35 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with cheddar cheese; bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Turkey Chili


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped turkey
  • 1 15-oz can red kidney beans, with juice
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-oz can Mexican-style tomatoes, chopped, with juice
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven and sauté onions, peppers, and garlic over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  • Add remaining ingredients; reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with dinner rolls or crusty bread.

Serves 6.

Source: The Eating Well Cookbook


Chocolate Potato Cake


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold, plain, mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting cake


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Lightly oil a 9-inch round cake pan and line the base with wax or parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, and eggs.
  • Whisk in potatoes.
  • In another bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Using a spoon or rubber spatula, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  • Spoon the batter into the cake pan.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched lightly.
  • Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
  • Invert the cake onto a rack and let cool thoroughly.
  • Transfer to a plate and sift confectioners' sugar over the top.
  • Makes one 9-inch cake; serves 12.

Source: The Eating Well Cookbook

Sweet Potato Pudding


  • 1/4 cup dry nonfat milk powder
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla frozen yogurt


  • Preheat the oven to 370 degrees F.
  • Lightly grease or coat with nonstick cooking spray a 3 to 4- cup baking dish.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the nonfat milk powder and skim milk.
  • In a bowl, lightly beat together the egg and egg white and add them to the milk.
  • Beat in the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, molasses, ginger, and cinnamon, until smooth.
  • Pour into the baking dish.
  • Bake about an hour, or until firm and springy when you press it with your finger.
  • Serve hot, cold, or room temperature topped with vanilla frozen yogurt.

Serves 4.

Source: Almost Vegetarian

The date: Sunday after Thanksgiving

The time: 3:00 p.m.

The scene: The kids and grandkids are all packed in their cars and on their way home. As you prepare to settle into the couch to relax, you notice a few hunger pangs, so you head into the kitchen.

The problem: There are no more leftovers!