The week after Thanksgiving is traditionally spent making use of leftovers – although there’s nothing wrong with a repeat meal, at some point you want to transform those bits of turkey, potatoes, gravy, cranberries and veg into something that doesn’t resemble your original dinner. Fortunately roast turkey freezes well (as does that stock you certainly made out of the carcass, right?) but if you want to plow through leftovers right away, I pulled together a week’s worth of recipes that will encourage you to reuse and recycle – in the kitchen.
A shepherd’s pie – traditionally made of lamb and topped with mashed potatoes – makes great use of almost all the leftovers from the Big Feast in one dish – turkey and veggies are moistened with gravy, topped with mashed potatoes and baked to make turkey dinner a meal-in-one. (If you like, stash one away in the freezer to pull out on a busy night long past Thanksgiving.)
Leftover Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Photo credit: Shaina Olmanson
This meal-in-a-bowl soup makes delicious use of leftover baked potatoes – Brooke says to peel ’em, but I like leaving the skins on – not only does it streamline dinnertime, potatoes with their skins deliver more fibre and nutrients. And if you cooked a ham instead of a turkey, you’ll make use of those leftovers too!
Loaded Ham Baked Potato Soup
Photo credit: Cheeky Kitchen
This one-dish stew is loaded with nutrient-rich legumes and small pasta shapes – anything you have in the pantry will do. The original calls for cubed raw chicken, but since you stir it in toward the end anyway, leftover chopped turkey works just as well. Serve warm, topped with grated Parmesan cheese with a chunk of crusty bread and a green salad.
Chicken or Turkey & Chickpea Stew
Photo credit: Saskatchewan Pulse Growers
My sister makes meatballs out of ground turkey and stuffing year-round, and serves them with cranberry sauce for dipping. It’s her kids’ favourite – reminiscent of the meatballs with lingonberry sauce you get at IKEA. These babies caught my eye not only because they feature the same flavours, but because kids love anything stuffed with something else. And especially meatballs. These will let you use up the last of those Thanksgiving ingredients still lingering in your fridge.
Cranberry-stuffed Turkey Meatballs
Photo credit: Family Feedbag
If you have any cranberry sauce left, this makes good use of it – and you won’t recognize it as cranberry sauce but a sweet, tangy sauce for pulled pork. Toss it in in the morning before work, and at the end of the day dinner will be done, with enough to feed a crowd – friends over to watch the game, or a bunch of kids over for a sleepover.